UNO student returns to the university stage one last time

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By April Wilson, Senior Staff Writer

Many performers play a part once and move on to different, more exciting parts, but sometimes there are those parts that an actor needs more than one go at. For UNO Theatre graduate student Erika DeBoer, that part is “Maggie” in Tennessee Williams’ “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.”

DeBoer initially played the part in her first performance of her undergraduate education at Chadron State College.

“Tennessee Williams has such intricate characters,” DeBoer said. “[There] is so much to work with; one shot at her was not enough.”

DeBoer is a Scottsbluff area native. She graduated from Morrill High School and went on to complete her undergraduate at Chadron State in 2009 and finished her Masters of Arts at UNO last December. But she couldn’t leave just yet.

“I had to stay around for this production,” DeBoer said.

She first began acting in her small high school.

“Morrill was so small that you had to be in [all of the activities] for anything to survive,” she said. “I thought [theatre] would be fun; then [I] was hooked.”

DeBoer came to UNO partially because Chadron does not have a Masters program in theatre and partially because of Omaha’s community theatre scene.

“Omaha has an amazing theatre scene,” she said. “If you want to be in a show, there is probably an audition coming up—or even one that day—that you can go and audition and be in. There is so much theatre for the size of it.”

Since she started acting, DeBoer has played many parts, including Raina in “Arms and the Man,” a part in “Godspell” and Viola in “Twelfth Night” during UNO’s Spring 2011 season.

“I love language plays,” said DeBoer. “Getting to play one of Shakespeare’s leading ladies was a dream come true, and it lead to an opportunity with Nebraska Shakespeare last summer where I actually got to be paid for acting, which just doesn’t happen that often in theatre.”

DeBoer played Hippolyta in “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” and a gender-changed Osric in “Hamlet” during last summer’s Nebraska Shakespeare productions.

Following the closing of “Cat,” DeBoer plans to move to Wyoming. Eventually, she hopes to pursue an MFA or PhD and teach. But for now, she says she is content to act and see where the road takes her.

“The people you meet and get to work with are amazing,” she said. “There are so many psychological things you can work with trying to create these realistic people that aren’t you. It’s fun to entertain and tell a story.”

DeBoer can be seen in her last UNO performance as Maggie in the cast of “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof”. The play runs through March 2. For tickets, visit the Theatre Box Office on the first floor of WFAB or call 402-554-PLAY.

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