Abandoning typical campus bar venues, one University of Illinois fraternity decided to explore other options for exchange locations in the Champaign-Urbana community.
The brothers at Phi Gamma Delta researched possible locations for social events, ranging from the University Arboretum to the Orpheum Children’s Museum, finally settling on the Station Theatre in Urbana. The Station Theatre is located a block away from Black Dog and organizes several professional productions of plays and musicals during the year.
“I looked online for top things to do in Urbana,” said frat brother Tom Reynolds. “Some of the suggestions wouldn’t allow alcohol, like Japan House and the Spurlock Museum. Hell, the Station Theatre wasn’t even on the list.”
In fact, the Station Theatre does not appear on the list of “Attractions” but it does make top-5 of the best “Activities,” which is strange when you consider that watching a play is just about as active as watching TV.
“I guess clapping counts,” Reynolds confusingly said, looking through a brochure for a student production of a post-apocalyptic adaptation of A Streetcar Named Desire. “It took some convincing to get my brothers to agree to this place but once I said that chicks dig plays, everyone was on board.”
It’s true, chicks do dig plays. “I dig plays,” said Morgan Yellman, a Chi Omega sorority sister. “I saw Wicked once like five years ago.” According to reports, the sorority took no convincing whatsoever.
On the day of the event, the large group of pre-gamed frat brothers and sorority sisters struggled to find the Station Theatre. “I remember walking past Black Dog and thinking ‘Good thing I’m surrounded by responsible people because this place looks super sketch,’ said Yellman. “Also, I forgot my beer jacket.”
The theatre is hardly noticeable in the dark, so much so that it’s literally right next to Black Dog and no one knows about it. When the party arrived, all 50 people squeezed into the tiny lobby of the old train station. “My, uh, brother had a Thomas the Train set, I think,” muttered Reynolds. “That little toy train station was bigger than that place.”
The Station Theatre houses approximately 50 seats in the audience, just enough for the exchange party.
Martha Washington, a sweet old woman, works the front desk. “I didn’t know such a large group was coming,” she screeched. “I supposed the advertisements that we placed in the Daily Illini worked!” When the other patrons, at an average age of 70, saw the large group come in, most decided to leave.
As for the group of college students, no one knew what to expect. “The only drink available was a half-empty pot of coffee which was left on the burner way too long,” Reynolds said. “Me and the guys ran over to Schnucks across the street to get some booze.” The play itself was equally as surprising. “I tried to pull a move on my date but there were too many old people sitting in front of me,” said Reynolds. “And then there was a robotic sex scene in the play. I felt too uncomfortable with the old people being there.”
All in all, the group of students had a great time. When asked how the exchange went, the group of sorority girls collectively shrugged and said, “Yeah, we dig plays.”