New Hyperion Players Theater To Open Tonight With First Play
There’s a new theater in Hamilton County, and it’s called the Hyperion Players.
It’s a dream come true for Noblesville’s Ian Hauer and his childhood friend, Adam Fike, who created the theatrical group, which will have its first stage production opening tonight.
“The Glass Menagerie,” by Tennessee Williams, will be on stage for three performances, at 7 p.m. today, Friday and Saturday at The Ivy Tech Auditorium at Ivy Tech Hamilton County in Noblesville. Tickets are $10.
Hauer, who is not only the theater’s co-creator but is also directing the play, said, “Running a theater company has been a longtime dream of mine. Telling stories is in my blood. It’s something I’ve always been drawn toward.”
He said, “Our community can’t have too many artistic outlets, especially with the growth we’ve seen over the past few decades.”
How will Hyperion Players be different from other groups and what will the group offer that others don’t?
Hauer, 31, said, “In our early years, we’ll focus on dramas and comedies with small adult casts. The shows will be a blend of classic plays, newer scripts and origins by Hoosier playwrights.”
Hauer and Fike hope to recruit and develop artists who have never worked in theater before or haven’t been around the stage for a long time.
“We also want to look at using venues in creative ways, incorporating that into our storytelling. We won’t be connected to just one physical space.”
While Hyperion Players was fortunate to get the first show at The Ivy Tech Auditorium at Ivy Tech Hamilton County campus in Noblesville, the group is scouting venues for three pilot-season shows for 2022-23 and have dates for two of them. All three shows will be in place by the time Hyperion Players’ season is announced in May. As soon as those shows are set, he’ll begin securing show licenses and working on venues and directors for the following 2023-24 season.
Hauer, a new playwright, in December 2020, brought to The Ivy Tech Auditorium his original drama, “American Brutus.”
He said he would continue to write plays, which is a lengthy process, but the originals Hyperion Players will produce will be from other writers, too. In the theater group’s early stages, there won’t be any musicals because they’re too expensive to secure and expensive to produce.
“The Glass Menagerie” has been entirely funded by the cast and crew. “We agreed on that when we selected the play, and it’s been fantastic to see the level of buy-in from this team,” he said.
After this show ends and before the pilot season begins, the Hyperion Players board of directors will put together plans for the first fundraiser and will solicit sponsors. “As with any community theater, our funding will come primarily from sponsors, donors and grants,” Hauer said.
He’s spoken to fellow artists from various local theater groups. “The Hamilton County artistic community is tight-knit, and we’re often sharing props, offering rehearsal space and recommending auditions to one another,” he said. “As for what we’re asking of the community: we just want you to come and see our shows.”
Hyperion Players’ co-creators have been friends since childhood. They met in 1999 and first acted together in 2005. “We’ve been best friends for a long time,” Hauer said. “You know how some families keep track of how tall their kids are getting by marking lines on a wall? Adam has a line on my parents’ wall. (And) my photo is on his parents’ fridge. He was best man at my wedding, and I was best man at his. We started talking about this (theater) idea around 2008, then seriously sketching out what it could look like in 2016.”
Fike has a college degree in theater and has worked in the industry, “so his knowledge has been essential throughout this process,” Hauer said. He and his wife currently live in Indianapolis, but they’ve talked about moving to Fishers. “I’m trying to convince them to look a little farther north,” said Hauer, an Old Town Noblesville resident who married fellow thespian Emily Smith in October 2020.
In December 2020, Hauer and Fike decided they were ready to start moving forward with Hyperion Players, a name in Greek mythology that means the Titan of light and wisdom.
“We pulled together about a dozen artists we knew but didn’t overwhelm everyone with the vision for a new theater. Instead, since we were still operating under a pandemic, the group would meet once a month and read through a script together. After reading, we’d talk about the design and production ideas,” he said. “We’d also toss around general thoughts on theater, and I’d take careful notes.”
In August, the group selected the favorite from among the plays they’d read, and that was how “The Glass Menagerie” was chosen.
“From the beginning, we knew we wanted to put on a show in 2022, but it wasn’t always certain it was going to be under the Hyperion banner or that we’d have nonprofit status,” he said.
So auditions for the play were for the group only. “It so happened that only five of our group wanted to act, and the rest preferred to be on crew, which was just about perfect for this show,” said Hauer, who cast and blocked the show in December and rehearsals began in January, just five weeks ago, meeting three times a week. The recent snowstorm only canceled two rehearsals which were replaced with Zoom video-conferencing rehearsals.
Hyperion Players was designated as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit in 2021. “I’ve been through the nonprofit application process before, so I had some idea of what I was getting into. There are quite a few moving pieces, and you have to be sure to dot every ‘i’ and cross every ‘t.’ I must’ve re-read that application a dozen times to make sure everything was correct.” The group applied in the summer and received a letter of determination near the end of the year.
This is the 13th time in the director’s chair for Hauer. He was born in Minnesota, raised in Newburgh, Ind., and has lived around here for the past decade. He graduated from IUPUI in 2014 with a Bachelor of Arts in History and currently serves as Deputy Chief of Staff for the Indiana Treasurer of State. Besides theater and history, he enjoys writing, watching movies, genealogical research, playing chess and hiking with Emily.
Lastly, why does Hauer love live theater so much?
“There’s an electricity to live theater that can’t be captured anywhere else, and there are moments that are impossible to replicate. When you’ve poured months into a show, and it comes out right in the end, it’s immensely satisfying. When you’re directing and explaining something to an actor, and you see them grasp a concept for the first time, it’s delightful. When you’re in the (light and sound) booth and you hear the audience murmur with delight at a lighting effect you’ve chosen, you can’t help but smile,” Hauer said.
“And when you’re acting, pouring your efforts into a character and you stumble out for bows afterward, the feeling of relief and joy is magical.” -Contact Betsy Reason at [email protected]