For a Friday Seminar session a few weeks ago, we were treated to a stage combat workshop by MFA candidate Lauren Gunn – who previously served our department as administrative assistant a few years ago. She is working on her graduate degree in acting at the University of Southern Mississippi, and brought some of her training in unarmed stage combat back to share with our students. A lot was learned in a short time, but we are looking forward to the opportunity to have Ms. Gunn return for further instruction in the future!
Belhaven University Theatre Department will present Tennessee Williams’ timeless memory play The Glass Menagerie September 27-30 in Barber Auditorium in the Library building on Belhaven’s main campus. An extremely complex and emotional play such as this is always a challenge to present, but our brave cast and crew are tackling the play in an intense rehearsal process, where the cast was set only 4 weeks ago.
Our cast is made up of 4 BFA performers – Grace Reeves (junior, Acting) as Amanda, Noelle Balzer (sophomore, Acting) as Laura, Christopher Miller (freshman, Acting) as Tom, and Caleb Henry (sophomore, Musical Theatre) as Jim.
Barber Auditorium is a highly intimate space, which can bring out the best in performance, but presents special challenges for the design team and our director, Dr. Elissa Sartwell. We are excited about the dramatic potential of presenting a play with such personal power in a space with such immediacy.
This year, as a department, we are taking headshots so our students’ photos for our productions this season have a consistent look to them. For some of our students this is the first time doing headshots this way, so it can certainly be a learning experience.
Hopefully we can share some of the finished product with you as you see this season’s productions!
Thanks to our friend David Sprayberry for taking our photos this year!
Student-directed Look Away will kick off the spring season of shows at Belhaven. Student blogger, Eric Henderson shares his thoughts on this stirring piece of theatre being produced in our Second Stage space.
‘Everyone on the train seems to be reading my letters. I heard one man refer to me as though I were dead.’
-Mary Todd Lincoln, Look Away
It is my pleasure to announce that on Thursday February 12th, 2015 a two-act play based on Mary Todd Lincoln and her seamstress and confidant, Elizabeth Keckley will kick off our spring semester of shows. This compelling production is based upon the life and letters Mrs. Lincoln wrote to friends and family during President Lincoln’s terms, after his assassination, and during her stay in the Bellevue Hospital for the insane.
The action of the play occurs in that hospital on Mary Todd Lincoln’s last night of residence before her sanity hearing. A stirring journey toward hope and recovery through avenues of grief, the first show of our spring season is not to be missed. Look Away was first presented at the Playhouse Theatre in New York City on January 7, 1973 with Geraldine Page as Mary Todd Lincoln and Maya Angelou as Elizabeth Keckley.
Belhaven University’s Theatre department prides itself on seeing their students explore their truest potential. With that being said, senior Theatre Production major Anna Bryant directs the show with conviction, enthusiasm, and fervor. Bryant says, “Mary Lincoln and I have the bond of both being Kentucky-born. Her story pulls at the very heartstrings of life. This story has tragedy, love, and friendship intertwined together giving you the woman who stood faithfully by one of the greatest presidents of the United States of America.”
Look Away by Jerome Kilty runs Thursday, February 12th through Saturday, February 14th with performances nightly at 7:30 PM in our Second Stage space located in the Center for the Arts. Tickets are $10 for adults, $5 for students and senior citizens. Admission is free for Belhaven students, faculty, staff and their immediate families. For reservations, call 601-965-7026.
With the opening of the show this week, we wanted to share a couple of photos of the construction work in process…
And a few of the work in the costume shop…
We’ve put a lot of time and energy into the preparation of this show, and we can’t wait to share it with audiences over the next two weeks! Come out and see the show if you can!
As we are preparing for our upcoming musical “The Drunkard”, we have been making our own back drop. Some of our students have done similar work but for most of those involved it is new.
The finished size of the drop is 30 feet wide and 15 feet tall. Over the past several days we have been prepping it for painting, which should start tonight. Before it could be painted however, three pieces of 10 foot wide fabric had to be sewn together and than the entire drop needed to be starched. After the starching process we were able to hem the top, and add in our hemp for suport, as well as add in our pipe pocket at the bottom so it will hang correctly. And now for several more days of action to get the finished product that we are looking for.
We are pleased to announce that over this Christmas season, we have been overseeing the installation of a new lighting grid – a significant investment in the safety and ease of work for our lighting crews and future productions. Check out Inter-America Stage’s website and see a video on their SkyDeck system.
Crews continue to work to complete the installation – safety kickplates and handrails, two stair units (a spiral set near the theatre entrance, and a straight set backstage near our costume shop door), a ladder by our tech booth, and plenty of final adjustments to be made before completion.
This is from an article written by casting director Amy Jo Berman:
Yes, I’m writing about why you DIDN’T get the part. Yes, even though your audition was amazing and you were totally on your game and you lit up the room with creative acting genius, you still might not get the part. I know, I know…you’re probably thinking, but Amy, you are always so positive. Why are you talking about something negative?
First, it’s not negative to understand why you didn’t get a job because it will free your mind of all that monkey-mind chatter that happens when you find out you didn’t get it. Second, and this is the important part so pay attention, it doesn’t matter. By the end of this article, I hope you understand that.
Since this is one of the most frequently asked questions I receive and the one that hangs you up the most and twists you into knots as an actor and a creative being, let’s get into it.
Based on my years and years of experience as a casting director in film and television, these are some of the reasons you didn’t get the part.
1. You’re too tall.
2. You’re too short.
3. You’re too pretty.
4. You’re not pretty enough.
5. You’re too fat.
6. You’re too thin.
7. You’re too blonde.
8. You’re not blonde enough.
9. You’re too old.
10. You’re too young.
11. You’re too serious.
12. You’re too funny.
13. You look too much like the lead.
14. You don’t look enough like the lead.
15. You’re taller than the lead.
16. You’re shorter than the lead.
17. You remind the producer of his sister, and he hates his sister.
18. You are too ethnic.
19. You are not ethnic enough.
20. You were the first one to read that day.
21. You were the last one to read that day.
22. You’re more like the best friend than the lead.
23. You’re more of a lead than the best friend.
24. You’re too character-y.
25. You’re not character-y enough.
26. You look like the director’s wife and he had a fight with his wife right before he left the house this morning.
Okay, this is a small sample of the some of the reasons you didn’t get the part. Have you heard any of these after one of your non-bookings? Can you tell what the one common thread is among this small sampling of reasons?
None of these are within your control. NONE.
Yes, of course there are many other things that are within your control and we will definitely get into those in a future article. But these are the ones that drive you crazy. Right?
What you must understand is that your only job in an audition is to do your best work. Everything else is not up to you. The role you are reading for is one piece of an entire jigsaw puzzle. It must fit with the rest of the puzzle or the puzzle won’t work. The casting director, producer, and director are fitting pieces of the puzzle together all day long. Your only job is to be the best “piece” you can be. Whether your edges fit in the slot for that piece is not up to you.
Just go to your audition. Do your best and let it go. If you’re good, they will remember you. And the next time you hear one of those things, remember these words, let a knowing smile creep over your face, and go enjoy your day!
Nest week begins the audition ofr the Spring musical,The Drunkard. W.H. Smith’s The Drunkard lurched onto the stage in 1844 and has been holding forth with beery charm ever since. With a score by Barry Manilow, audiences are wafted back to a simpler period where “God is good and right is good, but evil’s not so good, right?” Will our brave heroine, Mary, rescue her drink-besotted husband from the evils of bottled sin? (MTI)
For me, this musical presents in interesting idea about redemption and reconciliation. I beleive that theatre is meant to ask question giving you the oportunity to find these answers for yourself. I beleive it is up to us, the audience to seek and find the answers for themselves. The question this work asks is: How can I change my ways? Or how can I re-build the bridges of broken relationships that I once destroyed. Having come from a family thatwrestled with alcoholism this play espeacially speaks to me
This is our first week after the closing of HENRY V. The entire H5 team blew it out on the last day striking the set along with the rest of the Theatre Department. The cast party was a pizza break for all. I deeply appreciated this. It took the entire department working together to pull the show off, so it is fitting that the cast party involve everyone together. And it was fun. The theatre majors at Belhaven know how to work, they know that they are integral in the storytelling. What’s great about the process here is all members of the team are valued equally. You may direct your senior project, then you are hanging lights for the next show and then stage managing a one act play that another student is directing. There is no doubt that each job in the theatre demands different skills, however the work ethic must be the same and ultimately the service to the story for the sake of the audience is a group goal. Joy is the result. I’m grateful to now have space to process the rehearsals and run of HENRY V. To ponder the work that was done and next time take another step forward in actor training.