Theatre students excel at Kennedy Center festival

Huntington, Ind.-Sixteen Huntington University students attended the regional Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival (KCACTF) January 6-10 in Saginaw, Michigan. They joined hundreds of other students, faculty, and artists from a five-state area for competitions in playwriting, acting, technical design, dramaturgy, and related disciplines.

The students were accompanied by Jay Duffer, assistant professor of theatre arts and department chair; Michael Slane, assistant professor of theatre arts; and Mary Zellers, costume designer and costume shop supervisor.

"I am very proud of the excellent work that our students are exhibiting in the theatre department," Duffer said. He noted that the Huntington students distinguished themselves in competition with other students from Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin, Michigan and western Ohio.

Prior to the festival, two Huntington students received certificates of merit for outstanding quality of technical work: Ryan Arent (Junior, Theatre Tech and Design) for his lighting design of Proof and Krystle McGowen (Senior, Theatre Tech and Design) for her costume design of Proof.

Two additional students submitted their designs in the Technical and Design Expo Barbizon Awards Competition. These exhibits were by Andrew Edmonds (Senior, Theatre Tech and Design) for his set design of Proof and Nathan Capriglione (Senior, Theatre Tech and Design) for his lighting design of Scapin.

On January 9, awards were presented to students for excellence in the various competitions.

"One new category this year was the design and construction of props created by students specifically for college/university productions. The competition was entitled 'Prop-a-Palooza,'" Duffer explained. "We were thrilled that Amber Dawn Katulic (Sophomore, Theatre Tech and Design) was recognized among the many participants with an Honorable Mention for her outstanding work on props for Disney's Beauty and the Beast."

In the acting category, two Huntington students along with their scene partners made it into the semi-final rounds of the Irene Ryan Scholarship competition, and one of these was advanced to the final round.

"The Irene Ryan Scholarship competition honors those students who demonstrate high quality in their acting abilities," Duffer said. "Approximately 250 students competed this year in the preliminary round. Only 32 were chosen to move onto the semi-finals. From that 32, then 16 were chosen to compete in the final round and were judged by nationally recognized actors and directors."

Matthias Austin (Senior, Theatre Performance) and scene partner Tory Nelson (Senior, Film Studies) moved into the semi-final round. Alicia Bonham (Senior, Theatre Performance) and scene partner Kate Smith (Sophomore, Theatre Performance) also moved into the semi-final round, then advanced into the final round

"It is no easy feat to obtain a position in the coveted sixteen final spots," Duffer said.

In her final round of competition, Bonham presented scenes from Uncommon Women and Others by Wendy Wasserstein, Twelfth Night by Shakespeare and a monologue from Little Murders by Jules Feiffer.

Other Irene Ryan nominated candidates competing in this competition were Glen Pearson (Junior, Theatre Performance) and his scene partner Samantha Freeman (Junior, Theatre Performance) and Phil Black (Junior, Theatre Performance) and his scene partner Bethany Edlund (Junior, Theatre Performance).

"All of the students that attended were enriched by a week of theatre and were challenged by the work of their peers among the various activities and competitions," Duffer added. "They represented Huntington University quite well. All deserve a hearty congratulation!"