…a glimpse into the spotlight

Posted on October 1st, 2012 by

Poignant movements, brutally honest, creative thinking and diverse genres are a glimpse of what is coming to the Gustavus Adolphus College stage. The start of the Theatre and Dance department’s season is in full swing as plays are being cast, scenes are beginning to be read through and choreography is coming together.

Nobel Chapel Performance

Jane Chung created the piece with movements to portray different events that occur in life. Beth Schmidt

The first performance to take to the stage is doing so in a unique way. Senior Theatre Major Jane Chung will be performing a self-choreographed piece in Christ Chapel during the Nobel Conference.

Beginning with a dramatic slow roll down the stairs of the altar, it offers many interpretations of the topic of Nobel, the music and the craziness of everyday life. The concert titled, 48 Nobel Concert; “Come Colorful See”– Celebrating the spirit of color through music, image, words and movement, will incorporate different elements of art. Chung was selected by Music Professor Yumiko Oshima-Ryan to dance to a piece of music that she will be playing on the piano.

The dance piece is paired with a piano piece and they will be performed at the same time. Beth Schmidt

“I still can’t believe it. I have been rehearsing by myself for almost six months. It has been just Yumiko and me, and now it is time for the performance to come alive. When the audience gets to watch it is a magic moment, they get to share in the experiences that I put into the piece,” Chung said.

Chung was born in Hawaii and then moved to Japan for 18 years. She has been here for five years and started her dancing career as a first-year at Gustavus. As a performer Chung strives to push her body to the edge of its capabilities and to explore how her body can express different movements to the audience.

“I want the audience to experience the stillness and silence of the piece. I hope that just watching can move their heart and be part of their experience in life. Just as taking the time to eat lunch or dinner is part of life I hope that seeing the piece can be part of another kind of meal,” Chung said.

Chung will have a piece in the Theatre and Dance department’s student led Shared Space concert and is also working on her senior honors project for spring sememster, creating a physical theatre piece where she hopes to foster a place for the cast to “have time and space to explore what they can experience with their mind and body.”

Behold the Coach, in a Blazer, Uninsured (and other good intentions)

After Nobel, the Theatre and Dance department will showcase three major events. The first is a faculty show, directed by Theatre and Dance and LALACS Professor Henry MacCarthy. The play, Behold the Coach, in a Blazer, Uninsured (and other good intentions), a contemporary play by Will Eno, is a dark comedy made up of five short plays and will premiere Oct. 25 – 28, 2012 in Anderson Theatre.

“It asks the big profound questions, but not as the main theme of the playwright. It takes moments in life that we all have and magnifies them, so we can see the little parts of them that we take for granted. It also confronts the idea of how we are losing the ability to differentiate between what is real life and what is spectacle, almost as if we are living in a celebrity culture where everything is mediated,” Professor MacCarthy said.

The cast is made up of 15 students from a mix of different classes. Theater and Dance Professor Micah Maatman is in charge of the set and lighting, Instructor in Theatre and Dance Larissa McConnell is in charge of costumes and Instructor in Theatre and Dance Terena Wilkens is in charge of sound and props. After all is said and done, about fifty students will have had a part in the production as well.

After the show on Saturday, Oct. 27, 2012 Professor of Film Studies in English Sean Cobb will be leading a talk back with the audience. This discussion with a few of the members of the show and Cobb will give the audience the opportunity to ask questions about the topics that the play touches on.

“The production is one that allows the audience to relate very easily to what is happening and makes them think about a world with no qualms or censorship to what people say. The truth can make people very uncomfortable, so it is quite edgy and will leave people thinking that it is so real that it has to be fake,” Professor MacCarthy said.

Theatre Gallery

The second event, Theatre Gallery, is a student directed production that will feature different plays Nov. 16 – 18, 2012. The Edge of Our Bodies, is a one-person show performed by Senior Karla Leitzmann and directed by Theatre and Dance Professor Amy Seham.

“This play depicts a coming-of-age for character Bernadette and figuring out what the meaning of life is. It is very intense and provocative,” Seham said.

At Risk, is written by Senior English Major Julia Tindell.

“It has been exciting to see it fully produced. It asks the question of how you hold onto your view of self when everyone around you questions your normality,” Seham said.

Social Justice Soup, is made up of original monologues from students in a social justice class. Each is under an hour and is mentored by the faculty as the department works to push the ongoing idea of social justice.

“We hope to address the big questions through our bodies and creativity. What we can do to foster a healthy society and make everyone feel like they can be part of something draws on the liberal arts setting and is integral in the culture of being able to express our deepest values,” Seham said.

Shared Space

Senior Shared Space directors Hollie Edlund, Sophia Ogren-Dehn, Rachel Johnson and Katherine Arndt begin to prepare for this winter’s show. Beth Schmidt

The last event on the calendar for fall semester is the student directed dance show, Shared Space, proudly representing the 25 year anniversary of the Gustavus Dance Company, showing Dec. 6 – 8, 2012. The show is led by seniors Katherine Arndt, Hollie Edlund, Rachel Johnson and Sophia Ogren-Dehn working to acheieve a main theme of diversity. Allowing the audience to see a variety of styles of dances lets them experience the full spectrum of what each person brings to the show.

“I find that dancing in someone’s piece allows me to find new things that I can do and different ways to do something that I didn’t think of before. I like to see what depth I can experience with my body and how I can show the audience that I am truly living on the stage,” Senior Dance and Psychology Major Katherine Arndt said.

The purpose of the show is to allow students to make something and perform it with no exact guidelines, unlike the more structured spring dance concert. Having the freedom to create something that is personal to each dancer lets the audience get a different experience with each piece.

“One of the best reactions from someone watching is when they are trying to understand the meaning of the piece you created or danced in, and they get a completely different picture then what it meant to me. I love that they were moved to see something in the piece that they could connect to on a deeper level,” Senior Political Science Major Sophia Ogren-Dehn said.

Every student on campus recieves a free ticket to all productions and shows. Go to the Student Activities Office (SAO) desk or gustavustickets.com to order your ticket for each show when they go on sale.


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