Students revive drowned club

Owen Hansen, president of the Ink Blots Art club. Photo courtesy of Owen Hansen.

About a week before his first year at Chico State, Owen Hansen decided to explore campus. He entered the Performing Arts Center with curiosity. Among bustling students and unlocked doors, Hansen made his way through the building, unknowingly heading toward the scene shop.

Hansen did not realize that just a few years later, he would be a theater major reviving the theater-driven club, Ink Blot Arts.

Ink Blot Arts is designed to help all students explore art through theater. This includes prospective actors, playwrights or students looking to develop technical lighting or sound skills.

The goal of Ink Blot Arts is to compliment the theater program and facilitate academics. In the past, Ink Blot has organized different workshops to help teach students new skills such as playwriting, character exploration and even public speaking through open-mic nights.

The club has been working on re-writing its constitution to move away from being a mock theater organization and become a production house instead in which students can learn to create their own work as an asset for themselves.

Ink Blot Arts is planning its next workshop for students to learn and practice long-form improvisation. During the third weekend in October, this workshop will be taught by an alum of the program. The club is open to ideas as to what workshops the club will offer so long as the goal to enhance student theater skills while exploring new talents remains, Hansen said.

Though his life is centered around theater now, Hansen wasn’t always interested. It was by chance that a senior student told him about auditions for the production of “Arabian Nights.”

Hansen’s first experience with college theater wasn’t perfect. He didn’t understand the entire audition process.

“I dressed up in costume, played a part that was ten times older than me and did an accompanying song that was from the same show,” Hansen said.

Hansen left the audition in tears with no intention of coming back. He was taken by surprise when he got a callback from the director of “Arabian Nights.”

Auditions are one of the most stressful parts of being an actor, he said.

“You have a set time in have which you have to impress a panel of people,” he said.

Hansen has no regret, though. He enjoys the excitement of acting, in which people are pushed beyond their comfort zones to find out what they are capable of.

This is why Hansen and other students decided Ink Blot Arts needed a resurrection. Ink Blot Arts officially became a club in 2001, but it slipped off the grid. Ink Blot regained its club status in 2014, a year after Hansen became the club’s treasurer. Hansen is now the current president for the club, and he has high expectations.

“We look to add to a student’s curriculum what is not necessarily offered currently at the university— To help expand interest and find people’s niches in what they hope to do beyond the undergraduate program,” Hansen said. “We really try to encourage people to take an opportunity to do something more than academics and work and sleep by adding more to what makes Chico State, Chico State.”

Samantha O’Reilly can be reached at [email protected] or @theorion_news on Twitter.