From the director of VENDETTA CHROME

post by Kristen van Ginhoven

How lucky am I? I am one of three students currently directing a one act play by a woman playwright as part of Emerson College’s Main Stage upcoming show ‘Coming of Age’, happening Feb. 25-28 in the Semel Theatre. WOW! Huge thanks go to Maureen Shea, initiator of the entire event, as without her, this incredible learning curve I am currently on would not be happening. She has long been an advocate of creating opportunities to hear the voice of women playwrights onstage and she is also the one who thought it would be a valuable experience for students to be involved as directors. I feel incredibly grateful to be one of the three chosen.

Since being chosen last spring, it has been a whirlwind. Maureen read tons of plays and when she read ‘Vendetta Chrome’ by Sally Oswald, she thought it would be a good fit for me. She was right. I completely fell in love with the play and am having an incredible time working with the design team, the actors, the stage management team, the musical director and composer, and everyone else who is part of telling the story of Vendetta Chrome. From a press release about the play: ‘It’s the ’90s. The 1890s. And poor Vendetta has always been a bit behind the rest of the girls in her elocution class. But now it’s up to her to save her school, her family, and herself–and it’s all in the dance moves.’ Yes, Maureen definitely found a play that appeals to my aesthetic: ensemble based, farce, full of movement and music, complete with mysterious twists to the story.

I have been lucky enough to communicate with the playwright, Sally Oswald, who will be coming to campus to partake in forums and see the show during its run Feb. 25-28, 2010. She has been a wonderful support and it will be very exciting to meet her. Maureen continues to guide me with a clear hand and has such a deep knowledge of directing and of telling stories that I am able to completely trust this journey we are on. How many people can direct for the first time on a thrust stage (The Semel Theatre in the Tufte Building) and have someone come in and guide them in how to most effectively use the groundplan? I cannot tell you how valuable this experience is for me, a mid career professional actor and educator who is currently an emerging director. I am learning an incredible amount about the professional process of directing a play and the twists and turns that are part of the director’s process. I hope all the various students involved in the different areas feel the same way as we all work together to tell this story in the most dynamic, theatrical way possible.

It feels like I have been granted a self imposed MFA in Directing opportunity and for that, I am extremely grateful to Maureen, Emerson Stage and all who made this opportunity possible.

The Adventures of Frederick and Jalaina…. and so we begin!

Greetings from the 6th Floor Production Office! This is Frederick and my first blog post, and we are very excited to keep you up-to-date on the ins and outs of Emerson Stage. Classes have begun and we are officially finishing up the third week! Auditions ran smoothly and the cast lists have been posted. Rachel even let Frederick post the Into the Woods cast list. Paint began rehearsals this week, which are going very well. There will be six actors working on Dan DeNicola’s Newfest win, and then an additional group of actors that will be working on the Newfest Readings. More details to follow as we get closer.

Other than that, next door, in the Greene Theater, the marley dance floor is down, and X Dance 2010 goes into tech this weekend. There are 25 dancers who have been working since November to bring the work of five student choreographers to life. It is a show you won’t want to miss, but make sure you get your tickets quickly, as it will sell out!

Well, that’s all for now! More from Frederick and me soon!



And the winners are…a report back from KCACTF

From Rafael Jaen:

Emerson students received various awards last week at the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival (KCACTF) Region 1 held at the University of New Hampshire, in Durham. The Region 1 includes colleges from Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Northeast New York, Rhode Island, and Vermont. The students who received awards are:
National LMDA/KCACTF Award for Dramaturgy Initiative, First Place
Jessica Baxter – Show: Incorruptible -Emerson College
(This student has been awarded a scholarship to participate at the National Festival, April 12 – 17, 2010)
National Barbizon Award for Excellence in Costume Design, First Place
Sydney Robinson – Show: Six Characters’ in Search of an Author – Emerson College
(This student has been awarded a scholarship to participate at the National Festival, April 12 – 17, 2010)
National Barbizon Award For Excellence in Lighting Design, First Place
Tracy Wertheimer – Show: Esperanza Rising – Emerson College
(This student has been awarded a scholarship to participate at the National Festival, April 12 – 17, 2010)
National KCACTF Award For Excellence in Sound Design, Second Place
Brendan Doyle – Show: Esperanza Rising – Emerson College
Regional Merit Certificate for Scenic Design
Megan Kinneen – Show: Illyria – Emerson College
Regional Merit Certificate for Props Design
Joanna Stenning -Show: Incorruptible -Emerson College
In addition two Emerson faculty members participated; Rafael Jaen served as Co-Chair for the Design, Technology and Management area and Debra Acquavella participated as workshop leader and Stage Management interview coordinator.

Congratulations Emersonians! Jessie, Sydney and Tracy–break a leg at the Nationals!

DT KCACTF.JPGPicture by Kirk Miller. Left to right: Brendan Doyle, Megan Kinneen, Rafael Jaen, Deb Acquavella, Tracy Werthiemer, Sydney Robinson

Gearing Up for KCACTF

Emerson Students gearing up to go to the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival Region 1

Started in 1969 by Roger L. Stevens, the Kennedy Center’s founding chairman, the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival (KCACTF) is a national theater program involving 18,000 students from colleges and universities nationwide which has served as a catalyst in improving the quality of College Theater in the United States. The KCACTF has grown into a network of more than 600 academic institutions throughout the country, where theater departments and student artists showcase their work and receive outside assessment by KCACTF respondents. Region I of the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival has traditionally involved institutions from Connecticut, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, but now includes Eastern New York. The festival is an exciting time for student technicians and designers. Last year there were sessions that explored state of the art lighting of technology, career opportunities in technical theatre, the use of color, and tips for creating the ideal portfolio. Some of the many other sessions had topics such as how to get into grad school, lighting design techniques and tools, and an introduction to free software.
A major element of this annual festival is the Design & Technologies Exhibition which provides opportunities for students to share work from all areas of theater; some realized projects and some ‘paper’ projects. Design displays are presented at the festival to a panel of respondents who are professional not affiliated with the region. Design awards in Region I are given at both the national and regional levels. At the national level, one student from each design discipline is invited to bring their exhibit to the National Festival in Washington, DC in the spring.

The region’s festival this year is held at University of New Hampshire, from Tuesday 1/26 to Saturday 1/30/10. The design students participating these year include: Megan Kinneen for Set Design (Illyria), Sydney Robinson for Costumes (6 Characters), Tracy Wertheimer for Lighting (Esperanza Rising) and Brendan Doyle for Sound (Esperanza Rising). The students were recommended by the KCACTF Respondents that attended our shows and vetted by the Design-Tech Faculty. This year Design Faculty Rafael Jaen will serve as Co-Chair for Design, Technology and Management. Stage Management Faculty Debra Acquavella will serve as Stage Manager Coordinator and Workshop Leader.

Below, Tracy Wertheimer’s display boards:
Thumbnail image for Tracy Wertheimer Lighting Project.jpg

End of the Semester

Our last production meeting of the semester was this morning. A post production meeting about ILLYRIA, and a concept meeting about PAINT, this year’s NewFest winner. PAINT will be produced at the end of March, but auditions are the week we get back and designs are due a week later.

The Costume Shop hosts an annual end of the semester/holiday party. Here are a couple of photos from today’s fete, where a good time was had by all, even if the chocolate fountain broke. Note the makeup/craft project which adorns most of them.

goodmoustache1.jpgAnd here’s a photo of the wonderful shop staff:

shopstaff2.jpgTop: Rafael Jaen, Richelle Devereaux-Murray
Bottom: Jennifer Guadagno, Debra Krasa

ILLYRIA Costume Designer Courtney Irizarry

Emerson Stage benefits from the hard work of students both on and off stage. Our recent production of ILLYRIA had student set, costume and lighting designers.

Here’s a great piece on Courtney Irizarry, the Costume Designer of ILLYRIA. Interested in the process of designing costumes for a musical? Get some insight here.