Tag Archives: Theater
A total of 18 students from Linfield’s Theater Art program traveled to Idaho last week for the annual Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival (KCACTF).
Students passionate about theater arts from universities all over the Northwest gathered for an intensive week full of workshops, auditions, performances and interviews.
This was senior, Jenny Layton’s, fourth year attending KCACTF.
Layton has had the opportunity to participate in both the acting and the technical sides involved in theater at this conference.
Seeing the crossover between the two, Layton said that one thing never changes, the energy.
“It is an awesome opportunity to collaborate with people who share the same passion for theater. There is a great level of supportive energy and an awesome atmosphere back stage,” Layton said.
Layton took home an award for dramaturgical research this year.
After turning in a notebook chalk-full of research completed on a particular script, a professional dramaturge reads through them, giving feedback to all the applicants and chose Layton as runner-up.
Freshman Madilyn Betchel had the opportunity to visit workshops on both acting and tech.
“It was really exciting to hear the people giving the workshops talk about how they got into the field,” Betchel said.
Betchel will be attending the SCI Las Vegas Summer Institute after receiving a Meritorious Achievement Award in stage management.
Betchel said she will be involved in more intensive stage managing workshops, informational sessions and backstage tours during this program.
Eve Brindis / Staff reporter
Eve Brindis can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Helen Lee / Photo Editor
The spotlight may shine on actors, but Linfield’s theater program has numerous offstage opportunities that are equally important.
Associate Professor of Theatre Arts and Resident Director Janet Gupton welcomes anyone who is interested in theater, and encourages students to get involved.
“We are a friendly approachable bunch that loves to spread our love of theatre to others,” Gupton said.
Students are not required to be a theater major or minor to participate in the plays, which makes getting involved in the program easy.
“Auditions for parts are open to the campus. If you want to work backstage, we look for a responsible and conscientious attitude because we are a highly collaborative art form,” Gupton said.
Positions span a wide variety of skill sets and interests.
Students can work in the shops on sets or costumes, stage-manage productions, or even volunteer as an usher.
Volunteer ushers get to see the show that night for free.
Other behind-the-scenes are necessary to theater productions, and “[Theater] also need[s] stage managers, assistant stage managers, properties running crews, costume and make-up running crews who help out during the actual run of a production,” Gupton said.
These jobs within the department provide a way for students to participate in theater without acting onstage.
Gupton is enthusiastic about the chance for shy students to join the program, and said, “I have seen plenty of introverts join on the production team and become part of our family.”
Students who want to engage in the department can contact Gupton or Rob Vaughn, sound expert and technical director.
Additionally, students can talk to set and lighting designer, Ty Marshall.
Layton has worked in the costume shop, been the student production coordinator, and worked with the publicity team.
Our majors and minors are required to do a little but of everything in productions and that’s one of the reasons I’ve been able to do so many different things.
“We’ve definitely had a lot of non-theater major students who’ve done really well with lighting design and other jobs,” Layton said.
Layton commented on the ability of students to get involved with theater in a non-major capacity, stating that some students use theater as an artistic outlet.
“I think our faculty is awesome about helping students identify their interest, and helping them do that,” Layton said.
Overall, the theater department is full of openings for students to partake in productions and offers an opportune way for students to step out of their comfort zones.
“It is a college experience that you are not likely to forget,” Gupton said.
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After approximately six weeks of preparation, Marshall Theatre put on “Ajax in Iraq,” written by Ellen McLaughlin and directed by Janet Gupton.
The play is centered on the tragedies of war, telling the story of Ajax, the infamous Greek soldier who lost his mind and a paralleling story about a group of soldiers in modern day Iraq.
“One of the reasons we selected the play was that we were looking for a play that would fit with the PLACE theme, ‘Legacies of War,’” said Brenda DeVore Marshall. Marshall is the department chair and professor of theatre and communication arts.
“The other reason was that this is a year we normally do a classical Greek or Shakespeare, and as we were looking at the way the other things, this season we’re unfolding this show.
“It sort of worked because it has characteristics of, and borrows from, Greek theatre, including the character Ajax. It has some of the format of the Greek theatre, along with contemporary, very contemporary theatre.”
A significant theme in the production is how gender affects the soldiers’ experiences in the military.
Everyone in the production gave breathtaking performances, but no one more than Allison Halley, who portrays A.J., a female soldier.
From the moment that Halley stepped onto the stage, she immediately stole the scene through subtle, and extremely believable, emotion. Halley’s character is very complex and could only have been played by a powerful actress.
I would like to say that this was Halley’s performance of a lifetime, but I shall refrain for that statement until she, inevitably, wins an Academy Award.
“Everyone has had to work really hard on this show because it is so meaningful. The themes discussed in ‘Ajax in Iraq’ speak to experiences of both active military and veterans.
“As a PLACE event, it really discusses what war means and examines it from different perspectives.
“I hope that people will come away with some type of personal understanding or new ideas,” said junior Sammi Palmer, who portrays the role of Gertrude Bell/Judy.
When watching the play, it is hard to believe that the show was only cast in the end of September.
Rehearsals began in October, where the actors and production team worked tirelessly to put on a spectacular program.
“I thought that the show for an actor is very hard and it would be very hard for them to portray these characters and they completely sell it a thousand percent, and it’s very believable and that’s what makes it so powerful,” freshman Conner Wells said.
“Ajax in Iraq” contains strong language and disturbing situations, so it may not be appropriate for children or the faint of heart.
Paige Jurgensen / Columnist
Paige Jurgensen can be reached at email@example.com
The production “Legacies of War Ontsage in Three Acts” was held Sept. 20-21 at the Marshall Theatre in Ford Hall. The three act play consisted of two acts with a discussion of the production at the end.
Claire Lebowitz, an actor, director and play writer from New York City, and Jerry Goralnick, from The Living Theatre in New York, collaborated to write the three act production.
Gorlalink wrote Act I: called “NO SIR”. This act examines military recruitment, specifically for the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.
The act is also performed in front of a military requirement commercial. Jackson Miller, professor of communication arts and director of forensics, said that this act was originally performed in on the giant screen in Times Square to protest war.
Act II, called “Bradass87” was produced by Lebowitz for the Whitsleblowers Theatre. This play investigates the actions of WikiLeaks whitslebower, Bradley Manning, private first class, who exposed private information to the U.S. public. He was put into solitary confinement at Quantico Marine Corp Brig in Quantico, Va. This act was composed from chat logs, trial transcripts and interviews from Manning’s case.
Act III consisted of a dialogue or discussion with Lebowitz and Goralink. The panel also featured Ronnie Lacroute, Linfield College trustee and arts benefactor, and Erick Shuck, professor of economics, who is also a third generation naval officer.
The discussion was also open to the audience and actors from the play to share their opinions and ask questions.
In the dialogue Shuck portrayed the complications of war from a soldier’s standpoint. “The moment you begin killing people outside of arms reach, things become much more complicated,” Shuck said.
Senior Angie Aguilar, who starred in the ensemble, “Stop the War,” to the tune of the “Star Spangled Banner” in Act I was emotionally intense. “What would people do if they actually listened [to the song]?“ Aguilar said.
“I felt mixed emotions [about the production] because my dad is from the navy,” senior Samantha Javier said, whose father has encouraged her to join the U.S. armed forces before. “But how do I enter this job, but the people of the country don’t like what you’re doing?”
“Legacies of War in Three Acts” affected the audience members and those who participated in the production in various ways.
However, Lacroute was there to remind the audience during the dialogue that it is the use of the arts, whether it is in a play or in music, it brought controversial issues to light.
Mariah Gonzales / Culture editor
Mariah Gonzales can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
A former Linfield theater major returned to the spotlight, accompanied by a new cast and crew, during Miracle Theatre’s production of “Frida, un retablo” on April 5 in the Marshall Theatre.
The Portland-based Miracle Theatre brought the play, which was a part of the Lacroute Arts Series.
The Miracle Theatre was founded in 1985 by Dañel Malán and her husband Eduardo Gonzalez. In 1989, the two created Teatro Milagro, a bilingual touring program.
“Frida, un retablo” starred Malán, Daniel Moreno, Ajai Terrazas and Linfield alumna Tricia Castñeda-Gonzáles Lee.
Castñeda-Gonzáles Lee graduated from Linfield in 2009 with a degree in theater arts. She has worked with Miracle Theatre for two years and appeared in several productions.
She has also performed with theaters in Portland, such as Defunct Theatre, Willamette Shakespeare, Portland Playhouse and CoHo Productions. She is also a pre-school teacher.
The cast of “Frida, un retablo” was versatile, as only four actors performed the roles of numerous characters. Terrazas, for example, would switch from playing a straight-laced art vendor with a heavy New York accent to an elderly version of Frida within minutes.
Frida Kahlo was born in Mexico City in 1907. She is well known for her self-portraits and notorious eyebrows “taking flight like the wings of a raven,” said Moreno in the opening minutes of the play.
She is one of Mexico’s acclaimed visual artists. She possessed extreme pride for her Mexican heritage and is still commonly referred to as Mexico’s daughter.
However, some may not know the whole story of Frida and the pain and suffering that plagued her every day.
She contracted polio when she was seven. When she was 18 she suffered a tragic accident when a trolley car struck the bus she was riding in. A metal rod struck her abdomen, damaging her spinal column, pelvis, collarbone, right leg and foot, left shoulder and two ribs. Her injuries pained her every day and led to a morphine addiction that endured until her final days.
“I’ll be happy to be alive if I can paint,” said Castñeda-Gonzáles Lee, quoting one of Frida’s famous lines.
Frida also experienced hardship in her social life. Her husband Diego Rivera, played by Moreno, was also a famous artist. She coped with being in his shadow.
Rivera also had a terrible habit of cheating on Frida, most infamously with her sister.
It eventually led to the end of their marriage in 1940, although he remarried less than two months later. Because of the muddled relationship with her husband, Frida was known to have a sting of affairs in her history with both men and women.
The Miracle Theatre shed light on the important, but perhaps unfamiliar, story of Frida’s strife.
The actors from “Frida, un retablo” recounted Frida’s entire interesting, exciting and sad life in a unique way.
Castñeda-Gonzáles Lee played a young Frida in the prime of her career and thrilling life. Terrazas played the role of Frida as an elderly lady. And Malán acted as Frida’s spirit. The three different versions of Frida were frequently on stage at once.
The three characters would speak to each other almost as if they were
voices inside of each others’ heads. It allowed audiences to understand Frida’s complex, conflicting and troubled spirit.
A student from the audience enjoyed learning about how Frida’s struggles influenced her art.
“I definitely think that with everything, your hardships make you who you are, and it really molds you into the person that you become, senior Krystal Galarca said.
“And so she is a living testament of that; you can take a tragedy and make it something wonderful that can really be an inspiration to others.”
The performance was brightened with moments of humor.
At one point, Moreno marched up to a student in the first row, grabbed her hand and partnered her for an impromptu dance number.
The arguing between a young Frida and Rivera conjured laughter, especially with the mention of one of Frida’s famous sayings: “I suffered two grave accidents in my life. One in which a streetcar knocked me down… the other accident is Diego.”
The production was a short and sweet 50 minutes and allowed for no moments of dullness.
The actors interlaced Spanish and English, which is customary for Miracle Theatre, to create an authentic representation of Frida’s life.
The backdrop was beautifully painted with bright colored flowers, skeletons, and of course, self-portraits of Frida.
The Miracle Theatre integrates pressing world issues into its performances. It combines Spanish language and music and features the Latino culture to demonstrate its diversity.
Miracle Theater added to Linfield’s continued efforts to increase diversity and exposure to the fine arts. In doing so, it also handed Linfield an opportunity to learn about the amazing life of Frida and to understand the Latino culture.
“I really enjoyed it. I always enjoy seeing outside artists come in, Galarca said.
“And I really enjoyed the mix of culture that was blended into the work.”
Carrie Skuzeski/Culture editor
Carrie Skuzeski can be reached at email@example.com.