Department News (11-02-14)

This past weekend, the Student Theatre Association sponsored the 24-hour Theatre Project. Writers, actors and directors were lined up several weeks before the event. Actors auditioned and then writers were given the number of actors that would be in their play, including their gender, hair color, height, and a few talents they had.  Writers were given 3 specific props that they were required to use in their script. At 7 pm Friday night, the five writers were given the props and actor information, and they had 12 hours to write a 10-minute play.  Then at 7 am on Saturday morning, directors and actors went to work rehearsing and memorizing.  The five plays were then presented Saturday evening in the Varsity Theatre to an audience of about fifty people.  Special thanks to Sarah Stewart who co-ordinated the event and helped the plays run surprisingly smoothly.  She reported that the people who came enjoyed the performance very much.  Thanks as well to George Nelson and Bridget Benton who supported the event.
“Bridges” by George Nelson 
Directed by Darci Maxwell Lund
Actors: Arianna Krenk, Taycen Timothy 
“(Dis)Approval” by Kayleen Johnson
Directed by Elizabeth Elieson
Actors: Emma Truax, Steven Lau, Michaella Scholz
“It Happened One Saturday Evening” by Spencer Johnson
Directed by Clyde Northrop
Actors: Alexis Grow, Mariah Bowles, Jared Cahoon
“Ballou’s Letters” by Andrew Justvig
Directed by Michael Comp
Actors: Jacob Baird, Stacy Wilk
“Box of Stuff froma Dead Guy” by Martha Rallison
Directed by Nicole Clark
Actors: Karen Theriault, Jessica Theriault 


Three student capstones are shooting this semester.  These films are slated to be completed in Fall 2015.  Here’s the skinny:

  • Noon to Two
    Synopsis: Startup’s Candy Co. is the oldest candy company in Utah Valley, but with the surge in new tech companies on “Silicon Slopes,” Startup’s is becoming forgotten. Noon to Two will explore the dichotomy of Provo’s tradition and innovation through telling the story of Startup’s and the rise of new businesses in the area. This will be paralleled by my personal reflections on reconciling my affinity for tradition and my place in the 21st century.
    Director: Elisabeth Weagel
    Producer: Melissa Lee
  • After Life
    Synopsis: In a grim post apocalyptic future,  humanity survives underground, grasping to a loose form of government and control. Liz must find a way to keep her sickly family alive, even if it means venturing to the surface and facing the very monsters that sent them all down under the surface.
    Director: Willem Kampenhout
    Producer: Kirstin Anderson
  • Chili Fields
    Synopsis: A young rebellious teenager who is running away from her small town in New Mexico finds shelter in a Hispanic family’s home at the edge of a Chile field while she waits for her car to get fixed and is thus forced to confront the people who are trying to keep her there.
    Director: Rhonda Gray
    Producer: Andrew Walker


Mary Farahnakian participated in a Take 5 Panel last Thursday night in the Museum of Art Auditorium.  The panel was called “Costume, Character, and the Cult of Celebrity,” and discussed the current exhibit of costumes from films that is on display in the MOA.  Others on the panel included Heather Belnap Jensen from Art History, Nicholas Mason from English, and Chris Cutri from Communications.  Mary was enthusiastic about what a great learning experience the panel discussion was for her.   Each panel member looked at the exhibit from a different point of view.  Mary talked about the Zeitgeist or spirit of the time of each of the fashions.  Zeitgeist is a complex mixture of social, psycological, and aesthetic factors that influence the fashion of that time period.  Mary felt it was a great conversation between panel members and the audience.  Mary encourages everyone to attend the exhibit, even if they’ve already seen it.  She learns something new every time she goes.  Screen-Shot-2014-10-14-at-1.51.57-PM-e1413317537684


Last Thursday, theatre students, particularly those interested in lighting design, were treated to a LED light demonstration by Rob Gerlach during the forum.  Rob explained how light is created with LED, comparing it to other types of lights.  He discussed how light is perceived by the audience and how the eye sees LED light.   He had several lights on stage and demonstrated the light on a white backdrop and on patterned fabric.  LED light fixtures make white light by combining different colors.  Originally only red, green, and blue where used.  Newer LED fixtures use as many as seven different colors to create white light.  The students where amazed at how differently the fabric sample looked under what appeared to be virtually the same color of light mixed using different combinations of colored LEDs.  About thirty students and faculty attended the demonstration.  Afterwards, Rob had lunch with several TMA faculty, arts production personnel and design students.


We are both happy and sad to announce that Rene Helfert, the Theatre Assistant and Graduate Secretary, has accepted a position at the Motion Picture Studio as the administrative assistant to Scott Smiley.  Rene started her new position on Monday, Oct. 27, and has already had a chance to visit the New Testament sets in Goshen.  She realized she already knew many of the people she works with.  TMA is already missing her!  She was an efficient support to the BFA Acting program, the theatre faculty meetings, graduate students, the Fulton Endowment, student employees, and adjunct hiring, to name a few.  10154987_10152031514686918_1613184155_n


Thursday at the media arts forum, over fifty students attended a panel discussion about graduate school.  The panel included media arts faculty members Darl Larsen, Jeff Parkin, Dean Duncan, andBen Thevenin.  The faculty shared insights on graduate school admissions, as well as advise from their own graduate school experiences.  Afterwards, the faculty answered questions from students.  The panel was a good preparation for students who may not have thought much about graduate school.


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