Cinema Devina from “Soul Food Movies”

Ron Reed, a long time friend and artistic director of the wonderful Pacific Theatre in Vancouver, has a blog called Soul Food Movies (which I highly recommend).

This post I thought particularly poignant – on the concept of cinema devina – encountering the sacred within the movie watching experience.

Erin Brownfield – guest artist and almunus

Guest Artist and Alumnus, Erin Brownfield, speaking in Departmental Meeting on October 22, 2010

Guest Artist and Alumnus, Erin Brownfield, speaking in Departmental Meeting on October 22, 2010

We were pleased and blessed to have alumnus Erin Brownfield (’10) return to Belhaven to share her experiences auditioning and working for the Disney corporation as an amusement park character performer.  She had this to share here on our blog:

This past weekend I had the pleasure of visiting Belhaven after graduating from there this past May. What brought me back was to catch up with people and to see the department’s production of “Juliet + Her Romeo”. The play was brilliant in all aspects and simply was amazing. Beautiful job all the way around.

Since graduating from Belhaven, I have been working for the Disney Company at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida. I am one of the Character Performers there. While pursuing this job, I was also able to use a few things I had learned from my years at Belhaven. For instance, I was able to present the company with a professional resume and headshot while some of the other people auditioning were not. I also was able to go into the audition with full confidence and focus. In other words, Belhaven helped give me a firm theatre foundation which I could stand upon.

Anyway, I hope the year continues to go well for all of you. Break a leg in all your future endeavors!

Erin Brownfield

Guest Designer — Kate Pierson

We were honoured the last 3 weeks to have Kate Pierson in residence as our Guest Costume Designer.  Kate is a gifted Costumer Designer from the Northwest US and was willing to make the trip to Belhaven in the Deep south and collaborate with us on our current production of Juliet and her Romeo.

I wanted to share her design notes with you and a pictorial form of the costume plot for the show because I think it demonstrates what a challenge this show was to design and chart especially from a costuming standpoint and how a story and concept can be told and supported by the design elements of a production.  Enjoy.

Juliet & her Romeo — Designer Notes

How to dress 8 actors playing 25 roles that are changing in every scene?

Juliet & her Romeo has been one of the most challenging designs I have ever done due to the sheer complexity of the logistics of fitting many different sized bodies into one costume and still retain the believability of character and fluidity of movement for the play.

The first directives that were given to me consisted of ideas of exploration, movement and flight; I wasn’t bound by a time or place, or by a color palette that depicted familial ties (which is often used in costumes for Romeo & Juliet).  Combined with the complexity of the actor/scene/character changes I knew I had to find a style that would support the nature of the play as well as offer some flexibility of style…Steampunk occurred to me fairly early on.

I believed the romantic yet edgy nature of the steampunk style, which melds together the future with the past worked well with the multifaceted direction of the director’s vision.  Because any particular costume piece needed to be worn by several actors as well as be easily donned and doffed I gave them an industrial and romantic functionality to the costumes; using basic black dancewear as the background canvas, adaptable pieces such as coats and vests fronts and a wide range of accessories and costume props with lots of embellishment the costumes became useful tools to help identify the characters.


is a sub-genre of science fictionalternate history, and speculative fiction that came into prominence during the 1980s and early 1990s.[1] Specifically, steampunk involves an era or world where steam power is still widely used—usually the 19th century and often Victorian era Britain—that incorporates prominent elements of either science fiction or fantasy. Works of steampunk often feature anachronistictechnology or futuristic innovations as Victorians may have envisioned them; in other words, based on a Victorian perspective on fashionculturearchitectural styleart, etc. This technology may include such fictional machines as those found in the works of H. G. Wells and Jules Verne or real technologies like the computer but developed earlier in an alternate history.

Other examples of steampunk contain alternate history-style presentations of “the path not taken” for such technology as dirigiblesanalog computers, or such digital mechanical computers as Charles Babbage‘sAnalytical engine.

Steampunk is often associated with cyberpunk. They have considerable influence on each other and share a similar fan base, but steampunk developed as a separate movement. Apart from time period and level of technology, the main difference is that steampunk settings tend to be less dystopian.

Various modern utilitarian objects have been modded by individual artisans into a pseudo-Victorian mechanical “steampunk” style, and a number of visual and musical artists have been described as steampunk.


Again Thank you to Kate and all her hard work and effort in collaborating and helping us produce this production.  Please forgive me for the cell phone photos of the renderings they really are beautiful!

Shakespeare in OP

OP stands for Original Pronunciation – so Shakespeare in OP would be to speak the lines of Shakespeare’s plays in an accent that would be the same way audiences would have heard the plays in the late 1500’s.  It’s not the same as a contemporary English accent, and it certainly isn’t modern American pronunciation.

This link is to an article about a production of Midsummer Night’s Dream to be performed entirely in OP, a result of the research of linguist David Crystal and director Paul Meier, and it contains a couple of short videos which demonstrate the sound of the accent.

The Haps: Space

The Haps: Space.

This is an article posted on the site of the Theatre Communications Group about site-specific theatre, and the importance the ‘space’ has on the perception of the performance.

At Belhaven, we are proud of the flexibility of our Blackbox Theatre, the intimacy of our Theatre 151, and the other spaces on campus that we’ve been able to use for theatrical performances, from Barber Auditorium to the Concert Hall to the outdoor spaces around the fountain by Fitzhugh and Preston.  We are blessed with a variety of options to tailor the theatregoing experience for our audience to suit the performance!

Juliet and Her Romeo – Director’s Note

Marie Warner and Scott Gaines perform the final scene in Juliet and Her Romeo

Marie Warner and Scott Gaines perform the final scene in Juliet and Her Romeo

I’m not usually one who likes to write director’s notes, but given the nature of our production’s experiment, it was necessary to give the audience a bit of a glimpse into our reason’s for the style of our presentation…

Romeo and Juliet is quite simply one of the most popular plays of the English language.  It has been a crowd-pleaser since its initial presentation by the Lord Chamberlain’s Men in the late 1590s, and has been performed countless times all over the globe.  The story, drawn from elements of the Pyramus and Thisbe story in Ovid’s Metamorphosis and the feud between the Montechi and Cappaletti families mentioned in Dante’s Divine Comedy, has inspired innumerous artworks, musical pieces, ballets, operas, plays, films, anime, and even a recent version of the tale created via Twitter feed.  The tragedy of the star-crossed lovers has become so ingrained in the global culture that the image of the balcony scene and even the names of the characters are synonymous with young romantic love.

We have called our production of the play Juliet and Her Romeo for several reasons; to separate this production from a traditional staging of the play, because those are the last four words of the text, and the re-arrangement of the original title provided an opportunity to re-examine the relationship of the title characters.  It is in the spirit of this third reason that we formulated the ‘experiment’ of this production.

The experiment was to take a play as iconic as Romeo and Juliet, and discover a way to break it down into its individual parts, to allow an audience the opportunity of examining those parts (the scenes) in a unique way, by attempting to treat each scene individually.  This led to the decision to cast each of the scenes of the play individually, to have our eight actors constantly switching roles from scene to scene – someone playing Juliet may be the Nurse next, followed by Lord Capulet.  Since each scene was to be treated individually, through rehearsal, we discovered that there were some scenes where a sense of pluralism, through having multiple actors play a single part at once, provided another layer to the scene.  Creating a unique experience and view for each scene also led to our decision to alter the seating arrangement several times during the show, to physically change the point of view during the course of the performance.

This production would not be possible but through the brave and gracious efforts of the cast, crew, designers, technicians, artists and servants listed in the program.  It is our sincere hope that our hard work will be a blessing to you, and bring glory to our God.

Joseph Frost

Chair of Theatre

Director, Juliet and Her Romeo

Max McLean: “The Screwtape Letters” | Cleveland, OH | Max McLean: “The Screwtape Letters”.

This is a link to a video interview with Max McLean, producer and star of The Screwtape Letters, a play based on C.S. Lewis’ book.  Coming off of a successful Off-Broadway run in New York, McLean is now touring the play around the country.

Richard Dreyfuss and Rinde Eckert Will Test Faith and Forgiveness in Imagining Heschel –

Richard Dreyfuss and Rinde Eckert Will Test Faith and Forgiveness in Imagining Heschel –

A new play is opening at the Cherry Lane Theatre (an Off-Broadway house in New York) which tells the story of the private conversations between Cardinal Augustine Bea and Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel discussing the Vatican’s formal exoneration of the Jewish people for the death of Christ.

The play stars film star Richard Dreyfuss and Rinde Eckert – playwright and performer of the play, Horizon, and Pulitzer nominee for his play, Orpheus X.