Department News 02-16-16

The students and faculty that went to Hawaii for KCACTF this weekend have returned – and with good news! Casey Kopp is the regional winter for Dramaturgy and will find out after the final regional festival if he will be one of the four students to travel to DC in April.  Johnny Wilson won the Irene Ryan Acting Scholarships and the classical acting award.  His partner, Morgan Gunter, won the Best Partner Award. Mackenzie Larsen and her partner Alana Jeffrey were in the Irene Ryan Finals as well, and Braquel Eggington was a 10-minute play regional finalist. This is the 3rd year in a row we have won the regional Irene Ryan’s. We also had 5 students chosen to participate in the Musical Theatre Initiative and cabaret performance. George Nelson directed a play that went well, and The Beauty and the Beast invited scenes were well receivedSpecial thanks to Stephanie Brienholt, who coordinated the Irene Ryan Acting Scholarships. She said, “I couldn’t have done what I had to do without Jennifer Reed and Janine Sobeck. They were invaluable as it was my hardest year so far for running the Irene Ryans. BYU really serves the region beyond expectation.  I’m proud of our department and my colleagues.”


Last Thursday, the media arts program held a forum about the BYU Los Angeles Connection Group. Pete Walton leads the BYU chapter of the group and Jordan Petersen and Gary Groth lead the L.A. chapter. During the forum, we discussed how the connection group focuses on preparing media arts students to enter the film industry as well as networking with alumni who are currently working in the movie business. FollowingPete’s overview of the group, we spoke via Skype with Jordan Petersen, a BYU alumni, who is now working in Los Angeles. Jordan talked about his experiences so far in L.A. and ways in which we can best prepare ourselves once we decide to make it over there. He was very helpful and informative. After the forum, we had numerous students express interest in joining the group. We look forward to the future of L.A. Connection and hope it continues to grow on a regular basis.


Kelly Loosli went to the Portuguese island of Madeira as part of an effort to make an experimental film about the island. Kelly served part of his mission on the island for 8 months from 1990-91, and ever since has had what the Portuguese call “uma saudade”. Saudade is a Portuguese word that we don’t have a good translation for but basically means a longing for something from the past.  The film will be a mixture of images, video, and animated effects that will attempt to reflect the sincere feelings Kelly has for the island, the people and their culture.  Madeira is Portuguese island off the coast of Morocco. It is a tropical island famous for it’s rich history with the royalty and famous of Europe, the sugar trade, Christopher Columbus and for its wine. Kelly explains that, “The images I am attaching here are from what is now a run down house. I lived here as a missionary- back then it was almost livable. I was too tall to be able to stand up straight inside the house. It kept me humble.”  Kelly felt his trip to the island was quite successful. He was able to travel all over the island filming and ran into some people at church that he had know from his mission 20 plus years ago.

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Mr. Dungbeetle, written and directed by Thomas Russell and produced Jeff Parkin, is now released for streaming or download at



Divine Comedy performed their first show of the semester this past weekend, “Inside Kylo Ren,” a mash-up of  Star Wars and Inside Out.  Performances were in the Varsity Theatre, and all shows were completely sold out by Wednesday last week.   With fans in the stand-by lines, every seat was taken in all four shows.  Kudos to the cast that wrote, directed and performed all sketches in the show,  and kudos to the crew who helped realize some innovative media that enhanced the comedy.  For instance, our videographer,Tom, set up a live “kiss cam” for one of the sketches, DC put together some bad lip syncs to several clips of the latest Star Wars episode, and now you’ll see everyone jammin’ to the latest polka (Not!).  Join us for the group’s next batch of hilarity the weekend of March 18 & 19 in 151 TNRB, and the “Best Of” Show, which includes all the best sketches from the February and March shows, in the JSB Auditorium, April  8 & 9.  Also, this Saturday, Feb. 20 is the deadline to submit scripts for their annual sketch writing competition.  More information can be found here:

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