Tag Archives: Theatre Department

Student directors show their talent

Advanced directing class students juniors Daphne Dossett, Chris Forrer and senior Kanon Havens each directed one hour-long play in Springfest on May 10-12 in the Marshall Theatre.

The class showcase featured three plays, “These Shining Lives” by Melanie Marnich and directed by Dossett; “Tone Clusters” by Joyce Carol Oates and directed by Forrer; and “Saturn Returns” by Noah Haidle and directed by Havens. Each night, different pairings of two of these plays were performed.

“These Shining Lives” is set in Ottawa and Chicago, Ill., from 1922 to 1938. It follows the protagonist Catherine and her friends in the course of getting infected with radium poisoning from work and suing their company for hiding the truth from its employees. According to Dossett, it “emphasizes the strength of four women as they overcome adversity and the touch of time.”

With only six actors and actresses, the play has more than 10 roles.

“Tone Clusters” is set in a television studio in 1990. It features an interview of the parents of a murder suspect, who are forced to accept the truth despite their self-deception of how the media wrongly portrayed their son.

Forrer said the beauty of the play lies in “a hard truth about the human condition and people’s inability to see what lies right in front of them when their contentment degrades into apathy.”

There was a voiceover throughout the play, which the director described as a “technical sensory overload.”

“Saturn Returns” is a story that follows a man who lost his wife and daughter at different stages of his life and how he became nostalgic and lonely afterward.

Havens said it is a simple but elegantly written “story of love and loss” and the play was delicately crafted.

In the play, there are three actors portraying the main character at ages 28, 58 and 88 as well as an actress portraying the man’s wife, daughter and nurse.

In addition to the directors, the cast and most of the crew are students who volunteered to assist with the productions.

Throughout the production, the directors had to refine their communication skills so they could be understood by the entire cast and crew.

“You learn how to get along with others in the theatre, and learn even more about yourself through collaborating,” Havens said. “Theatre is really not only about the end product. It’s also about all the realizations you make and gain as a human being through rehearsals.”

The theatre and communication arts department will have two more class showcases at 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. on May 20. They respectively feature the dialect scenes by the intermediate acting class and contemporary scenes by the beginning acting class.

Cassie Wong/
For the Review
Cassie Wong can be  reached at linfieldreviewculture@gmail.com.

Play offers witty look at Victorian British society

Junior Kanon Havens (left)  and freshman Cole Curtright perform on March 15. Megan Myer/Online editor

The world of Oscar Wilde’s short story, “Lord Arthur Savile’s Crime,” adapted by playwright Robert Urbinati, came alive under the direction of Elizabeth Rothan, class of ’85, in the premiere of “West Moon Street” on March 15.

Audiences were taken back to the Victorian era and upper-class British society where duty was a priority for gentlemen such as Lord Arthur Savile, played by freshman Cole Curtright, who has a “secret that he kept locked away in his heart.”

The performance kept audiences on their feet with a thick plot, witty lines and eloquently designed period costumes by instructional associate costume designer and shop manager Alethia Moore-del Monaco.

“West Moon Street” received positive comments from Linfield students.

“I love how visually gorgeous the costumes and sets are,” sophomore Caitlyn Olson said.

Freshman Sylvan Tovar said he thought the characters were performed well.

“I liked Lady Windermere [played by freshman Gabrielle Leif]. She was really driven and had unique interests,” he said. “My favorite part was that actors were given a voice, and it was well acted — really well done.”

Curtright said he could easily connect with the lead role of Arthur Savile.

“I think in some aspects I am like my character,” Curtright said. “I can relate to him. He likes to have fun.”

Junior Kanon Havens, who played Sybil Merton, said she felt the opposite about her role.

“I thought I was much more like her when reading the script,” Havens said. “I found out she was bubbly and energetic, but I wasn’t really connecting to the play. She’s not really like me.”

Rothan noted some challenges with the play, including developing the role of the maid, removing the piano player and changing one male role to a female role.

Senior Rachel Westrick, who played Mrs. Podges, said that although Urbinati had to rewrite the play to accommodate these changes, the physical appearances of the characters didn’t matter.

Freshman Jacob Priester, who played Charles the Butler, talked about the significance of plays in general.

“Plays are intimate and audiences can connect with the actors. It’s not edited, and it’s more of a natural experience live,” he said.
For Rothan, the power of plays is that they “reflect life. [They’re] pieces of themselves; [they] inform awareness — in this case, culture, and more compassion and ideas. [They]give an insight into other people’s worlds; [They] take ourselves out of time’ and we all need to laugh.”

Yoko Gardiner can be reached at linfieldreviewculture@gmail.com.

Cast members embrace challenging, comedic roles

The Linfield Department of Theatre and Communication Arts opened its first play of the season, a comedy by Ken Ludwig, titled “Lend Me A Tenor” on Nov. 4 in the Marshall Theatre in Ford Hall.
The play, set in 1934, is about a famous opera singer, Tito Morelli, Il Stupendo, who is supposed to perform at the Cleveland Grand Opera Company for one night.
Saunders, the general manager of the opera company, constantly puts down his employee, Max. When Tito arrives late and sick to the show, Max tries to win his boss’ approval by helping him out and giving him sleeping pills. However, Tito takes too large of a dose and passes out. Saunders and Max think that he overdosed and died.
To get a handle on the situation, Max pretends to be Tito, fooling everyone and filling in for him in the show. Eventually, Tito comes to and is ready to perform.
The rest of the play turns into a confusing scenario of mistaken identity between Tito and Max and the women who pine for them, cast member freshman Ellen Brahe said.
Brahe plays the lead female role, Maggie, who is Max’s girlfriend. Max asks her to marry him, and she says no because she wants to wait. She declined because she is obsessed with Tito and wants to lose her virginity to him, Brahe said.
“Maggie is a busybody; her character is everywhere,” Brahe said. “She wants to charm [Tito] and fall in love.”
This was Brahe’s first formal audition and casting at Linfield and the first time she has ever played a female role in her acting career, she said.
“Playing Maggie has gotten me to open up my femininity,” she said. “It’s been a real journey for me.”
“Lend Me A Tenor” also opened up new experiences for male lead, junior Jeremy Moll, who plays Tito.
“I had to step out of my comfort zone because my character is so energetic, and it was a challenge acting ‘dead,’” Moll said. “This was by far the most in-depth I have been in a role.”
Besides Tito’s drama onstage, there is a lot of action off stage such as, running from the police and getting sick in the bathroom, Moll said.
“It is a great script, and I really enjoyed it,” he said. “It is clever, entertaining and fits together well.”
Other students cast in the play are freshman Jenny Layton; sophomores Chris Forrer, Aaron Granum, Jenaveve Linabery and Claudia Ramirez; and senior Chris Lambert.
Approximately 39 students auditioned for a part in the play; however, there were only eight spots available, Brahe said.
Janet Gupton, associate professor of theatre arts and resident director, chose and directed the play.
“I recommend anyone to watch this play because it is a whimsical comedy,” Brahe said. “The misidentity is a big part of the comical aspect.”
Tickets can be purchased at the Marshall Theatre Box Office by phone, on the Web or in person. General admission is $9; seniors, 62 and over, and Linfield faculty and staff pay $7; and student tickets are $5. Student tickets can be purchased for $3 on Nov. 5.
“Lend Me A Tenor” will be performed Nov. 4-6 and 11-13 at 7:30 p.m. and Nov. 7 at 2 p.m. in the Marshall Theatre in Ford Hall.
For more information about purchasing tickets, visit www.linfield.edu/arts-and-culture.html.

Jessica Prokop/Culture editor
Jessica Prokop can be reached at linfieldreviewculture@gmail.com

Actors to read from student playwright’s script

Sophomore Chris Forrer is looking forward to taking the next step in creating his play, “Checkmate,” after holding a staged reading of his play Oct. 1 in the Marshall Theatre.
A staged reading involves actors reading the script on a stage.
“They step out of the box of reading from behind music stands,” Forrer said.
He will use the staged reading to develop his script and submit it to the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival Region VII, a gathering for aspiring playwrights in the Northwest.
Last year, Forrer’s 10-minute play “The Smoker” was one of six plays that received a staged reading at the festival. It also appeared in CAMAS, Linfield’s Journal of Art & Literature.
Forrer has also written several other 10-minute plays.
Forrer said the idea for “Checkmate” dates back to high school drama class. While practicing movement scenes, he said he was inspired by the concept of actors being only able to move like chess pieces.
“Checkmate” is a spoof of the noir genre that tells the story of personified board game pieces.
Detective Sam Bishop is trying to bring down the crime lord, “Queen,” with the help of his assistant Megan “Rookie” Castle and Sgt. Patrick McKnight.
Along the way, they encounter a rough gang of checkers, some illiterate Scrabble letters and other characters.
Associate Professor of Theatre Arts and resident director Janet Gupton contacted Forrer during the summer hoping to do a project this fall. Forrer sent her a draft in July but said he has been working on “Checkmate” for about a year.
“It was fun getting to work with Janet,” Forrer said.
Gupton is directing the staged reading. She cast it along with Forrer. The cast features a number of student actors.
Forrer said the casting process at this stage is all about voice.
“A staged reading is meant to feel like the play is being read for the first time, not staged or performed, he said.”
If he were to move toward performing “Checkmate” as a play, he would make sure all the characters move like their chess counterpart, and even paint the stage to look like a giant game board, he said.
Forrer is a theater and political science double major. In addition to writing plays, he said he is involved in the Double Vision Jazz Choir and the Forensics program.
The reading is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Oct. 1 in the Marshall Theatre of Ford Hall. Admission is free.

Sean Lemme/Staff reporter
Sean Lemme can be reached at linfieldreviewculture@gmail.com.

Icebreaker tries to shatter awkwardness

The Department of Theatre and Communications Arts kicked off its 2010-11 theater season with its annual Student Icebreaker,
which features two plays remounted from last spring’s Advanced Directing Scenes.
The scenes are from “The Vagina Monologues,” written by Eve Ensler, and “Dutchman,” a one-act written by LeRoi Jones.
“We thought these two pieces from the advanced directing showcase were not only representative of good student work but also
were plays that needed to be seen by more of the student population at Linfield,” Janet Gupton, associate professor of theatre arts and
resident director, said via e-mail. “Both are ground breaking pieces of theater for their time and still manage to surprise, shock and,
hopefully, educate audiences today.”
Gupton said that an additional reason for this decision was because all of the actors from the scenes would be returning in the fall,
allowing for the Icebreaker to occur earlier in the semester and show incoming students what the theater program has to offer.
The Icebreaker opens with 16 scenes from “The Vagina Monologues,” directed by senior Steven Stewart. The scenes feature senior
Bree Adams and sophomores McKenna Peterson, Laura Haspel and Ellen Hubbs.

The scenes run the gamut of the female experience, Stewart said, using the vagina as a metaphor for femininity and the female in
the modern world in scenes dealing with topics from genital mutilation to the production’s pinnacle scene about the power of birth.
Other than reworking the lights and costumes for the scenes since the spring production, the actresses have grown into their
characters as well as grown as individuals, making for deeper connections and stronger messages, Stewart said.
“I hope it gets men to understand more about the female experience and women to be more comfortable talking about these things,”
he said. “Once we get people to share they have a heightened sense of self when we get past the awkwardness society has placed on
[the subject].”
Following “The Vagina Monologues” is the one-act play “Dutchman,” directed by 2010 Linfield graduate Will DeBiccari.
“Dutchman” depicts a scene in a subway car with a white woman, played by senior Grace Beckett, and a young black man, played
by senior Tristan Patin. The woman makes vulgar advances toward the man, and when they’re unsuccessful, she resorts to insults and
humiliation. The man’s veneer of decency then shatters as the scene dissolves into racially charged anger and, ultimately, violence.
“Dutchman” and “The Vagina Monologues” are both connect with the audience and aim to expose the audience to things that people
feel uncomfortable talking about, but need to talk about, Stewart said.
The Student Icebreaker runs at 7:30 p.m. Sept. 16-18 in Marshall Theatre. Tickets are $5 and all seating is
general admission.

Gabrielle Nygaard/Staff reporter
Gabrielle Nygaard can be reached at linfieldreviewculture@gmail.com.