Hinman Production Company is one of Binghamton University’s most popular and prolific on-campus drama clubs, and certainly the most historic. HPC was originally founded in 1979 as “Hinman Little Theatre.” One of the founding members is the notable Binghamton alumnus Paul Reiser, who went on to become an Emmy-nominated actor and comedian. So, perhaps every HPC member has a little extra star quality.
The company produces and performs a straight show and a musical every semester on campus in the Hinman Commons. HPC is entirely student-run, which means no faculty advisers or faculty directors. Students direct, act, choreograph, stage manage, provide the lighting, design sets and costumes and sometimes even write and compose the productions themselves.
Corey Eschbach, a member of HPC and a graduate student studying management, explains that the benefits of being so involved in the construction of shows extends beyond production.
“While we do have a lot of fun in this process, there is also a lot of learning going on,” Eschbach said. “We learn many techniques applicable to theater, but there is much more. We learn to work effectively and efficiently in teams.”
In spring 2012, HPC produced “The Nerd” as its straight show. And its musical, “The Secret Garden,” is currently playing at the Hinman Commons. “The Secret Garden” continues its run on April 20 and 21.
“It is a musical that is full of beautiful songs and tells a great story,” said Abbie Weinberg, HPC’s vice president-elect and a junior majoring in biology. “The directing team, actors, musicians and crew have put so much time and effort into this show and it’s definitely going to be a great one.”
More than trying their hand at production or acting and singing on stage, there is one rewarding aspect of the HPC that every single member seems to echo: the notion of family.
“I’ve been involved since my second semester freshman year and my only regret is that I didn’t get involved sooner,” Weinberg said. “When you do theater, you form a family, and we definitely have a great family within HPC.“
Ruben Martinez, HPC’s current treasurer and president-elect, wholeheartedly agrees.
“We always fondly refer to ourselves as ‘The HPC Family,’ and that notion really resonates with me,” said Martinez, a junior double-majoring in economics and philosophy, politics and law. “We don’t have the budget or the personnel that main stage productions have, so, like any good family, we do our absolute best through good times and bad to make the best out of any production.”
While HPC is based in Hinman College, you don’t have to live in Hinman to join. The club holds general information meetings at the beginning of every semester, where they decide on that semester’s productions and accept new members.
“In some ways, people that have always wanted to do theater before but never had the chance or the guts have the perfect avenue to do so with HPC,” Martinez added. “We are always looking for new people to add to the family.“
And HPC has an open arms policy for all new members.
“We welcome anybody who is interested in being involved with any area of the theater,” said Alex Kornberg, HPC’s current president and a senior majoring in marketing.