Department News (6-5-17)

A thoroughly delightful production of Argonautika, directed by Janine Sobeck Knighton, opened this weekend in the Pardoe Theatre.  From the roll call of the Argo crew to Hera and Athena’s placement of the heroes in the night sky, the production surprises and gathers momentum throughout.  The wonderful lighting, heroic music, costumes, set, and characterizations of the actors all combine seamlessly to tell the enchanting tale of Jason and the quest for the golden fleece.  You will want to bring your children and grandchildren to this one!  All this despite a major catastrophe on opening night!  Just an hour before call time on Friday, stage manager Caitlin Black received a phone call from Ian Buckley, who plays Tiphys, Medea’s brother Apsyrtos, and serves as one of the puppeteers for the two giant puppets.  He had been riding his bike to the HFAC and was hit by a truck.  In fact, he had been run over by the truck and had tire tracks on his chest!  But miraculously, he did not have a concussion or any broken bones.  And fortunately, he will be able to perform with the ensemble this coming Thursday and for the rest of the run.  In the meantime, Janine says her terrific cast was willing to support each other and figure out how to fill in for all Ian’s parts this weekend.  This was a big challenge, but like the heroes they played, the cast and crew were able to pull off this Herculean feat beautifully.  If you go, be sure to check out the dramaturgy displays in both the north and south Pardoe lobbies.  In the north lobby, there is a display of the costume renderings of each of the characters.  In the south lobby, there is an intriguing summer reading list of Greek Mythology books that are available in the HBLL and the Provo Library (For an in depth article about the lobby displays, go to the Fourth Wall here). To read the Universe’s article about the production, click here.

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Julia Ashworth was in Cape Town, South Africa, presenting at the ITYARN (International Theatre for Young Audiences Research Network) Conference, and attending the ASSITEJ festival.  Julia’s presentation centered on the ways we engaged with a Deaf audience and partnered with the Deaf community for the TYA production of The Taste of SunriseJulia reports that she saw over a dozen plays while at the festival, and her favorite shows were all from South Africa. The two plays that stand out the most were very different from each other; one was an adaptation of Animal Farm set in the current political landscape of South Africa, and the other, Mbuzeni, was spoken entirely in Xhosa (Nelson Mandela’s native tongue) about 4 young orphan girls and the role death plays in their lives.  Julia observes that “South Africa is an extremely beautiful place. I felt privileged to be there and to learn through first-hand experience more about their past, present and future.  It was wonderful to see how theatre for young audiences in South Africa is so connected to this country’s history and its people’s lives. I feel forever changed.”

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Six Week Cinema has shot their first two commercials and is heading into production of the next short film, which will be a short doc.  This student run initiative, advised by Tom Lefler and Kyle Stapley, is designed to help younger media arts students feel more comfortable on set in preparation for capstone projects.  The projects are low stakes and emphasize collaboration.  Participating students write and shoot two commercials and four short films, each with a similar limited production schedule totaling six weeks and staggered throughout the summer:  3 weeks of pre-production, 1 week prepping and production, and 2 weeks of post-production.  At the end of the summer, the commercials and short films are shown in a festival to celebrate the students’ work.  This year, Six Week Cinema is being headed up by media arts students Celene Andersen and Hannah Harper.  To find out more about the projects, go to their Facebook page here.

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London Study Abroad Report from Katie Jarvis:  This last week was so fun!! Students got cultural experiences from many areas in Spain, France, Italy, Ireland and Scotland. Also one of the students who stayed in London went to 12 shows!! All the British airline flights were cancelled so some of our students were stranded for a bit, but everyone is now safely back in London. We all shared about our experiences abroad and are looking forward to our last few weeks in England. Tonight we are going to Twelfth Night at the Globe!

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