The Student News Site of California State University, Stanislaus


The Student News Site of California State University, Stanislaus


The Student News Site of California State University, Stanislaus


Quality Pie: A Slice of Student Theatre


Promotional poster for Quality Pie. (Photo courtesy of the @stan_state_arts Instagram)

While the name Quality Pie might initially conjure images of delicious desserts, at CSU Stanislaus, it takes on an entirely different meaning. It’s not about sweet treats, but rather a slice of something a little more unique served up by the university’s theatre department.
The production of Quality Pie is a collection of seven different short plays performed consecutively in one night. Each play is freshly written, with ever-changing and entirely different set pieces, props, and actors throughout the night of performances.
The producer of the event and Assistant Professor of Theater, Nicholas Zagone, named Quality Pie after a quaint cafe in his hometown of Portland, Oregon, which many feel fits perfectly with the message of the production.
“Each play is unique and follows its own genre. You get to taste so much that is out there,” said Peyton Toste Starkweather (Junior, Theater), a writer, director, and actor in Quality Pie.

In normal plays, professors will direct, scripts will originate from approved published sources, and experienced actors take the stage. In Quality Pie that is not the case because it’s open to everyone and students take initiative. 

“I’m not running the show; it’s all students in charge. The production is entirely student-written, directed, designed, teched, and mostly student-acted,” said Zagone.

This unique opportunity is rare in college settings, with most universities typically granting less control, if any, to students in the creative process. 

“It’s a great start to become a playwright. You can graduate with a produced play, which rarely happens. You’ll have a play, but won’t have a play produced. You won’t get this at another college. It’s a great way to get your foot in the door as a writer, actor, and director,” Zagone said.

Opportunities such as Quality Pie aren’t limited to theater majors. Rubi Sarmiento (Sophomore, Child Development) discussed her experience auditioning for the show. 

“This was my first-ever audition at Stan State. This production made me feel more comfortable about putting myself out there, as they are short 10-minute plays, and I’d be working with other students,” said Sarmiento. 

The upcoming installment of Quality Pie is set to be the department’s third rendition of the event since its inception back in 2020. It has become a biennial tradition, giving students a chance to be fully in charge of the production every two years.

“In your day-to-day life, you’re going to scroll plenty on your phone and you’ll see a lot, but it won’t excite you. There is nothing more thrilling than live theater. If you haven’t been to see live theater, come along! It’s fun, it’s fresh, and it’s new,” said Zagone.

Quality Pie opened on Pi Day, 3/14, and runs its remaining shows on March 15th and 16th at 7:30 p.m., and on the 17th at 2 p.m. Tickets are sold out. 

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Quality Pie: A Slice of Student Theatre