SMC Ensemble to Perform at American College Theater Festival


The Saint Mary's production of "Lorca in a Green Dress" has been invited to perform at the Kennedy Center/American College Theater Festival in Cedar City, Utah on Feb. 16. Before leaving for Utah, the company will give two free performances of the show in SMC's LeFevre Theatre on Feb. 11 at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Ticket information is available at (925) 631-4670.

"Lorca" was one of 10 plays selected from more than 200 entries submitted by performing arts departments across a five-state region. The cast will perform "Lorca" for an audience of the region's top theater students and educators and receive critiques from leading theater professionals.

Judges will select up to six plays from regional festivals across the country to advance to the national College Theater Festival at the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C. later this year.

"We are thrilled that our production has been selected for this honor, which places us in the company of some of the region's top-ranked theater programs," said director Rebecca Engle, head of the Theater Program.

In "Lorca," Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Nilo Cruz envisions Federico Garcia Lorca, the provocative Spanish poet and playwright murdered by a Fascist firing squad at the beginning of the Spanish Civil War in 1936, attempting to rewrite his life from his vantage point in a surreal afterworld.

The play, Cruz's account of one of Spain's most influential literary voices, showcases the talents of several Latino performing arts students, including original score by Danny Gutierrez and flamenco dancing by Ellie Morales.

In May 2006, The Collegian reviewer Darwyyn Deyo praised SMC's "daring rendition" of the play, which "claimed the house with [a] fluid performance..."

The regional festival has already given awards to several Performing Arts students and alumni involved with the SMC production. Stage Manager Leah McKibbin received a Meritorious Achievement Award, and actors Alex Kirschner, Vince Rodriguez and Maggie VandenBerghe have been invited to participate in the nationwide Irene Ryan scholarship acting competition.

"The chemistry between the cast is amazing and everyone is extremely professional," Rodriguez said. "Being nominated means a great deal. It's a big chance for the Saint Mary's Performing Arts department."

Three members of the SMC fall 2006 production "Marfa Lights" - Tasia Barrett, Beau Ballinger and Marielle DeNapoli - were also invited to participate in the Irene Ryan competition. In addition, Ballinger will receive a workshop production of his original play "Dog Our God" in the festival's "Ten-Minute Plays" series.

Engle acknowledged that the "Lorca" cast and crew face some interesting challenges in upcoming weeks.

"We must reassemble all of the original design elements - set, lights and costumes – and fully rehearse the actors and backstage crew, and perform before a live audience at Saint Mary's before we leave," she explained. "Then we'll fly 20 actors and crew to Utah and drive our entire set over the mountains to the festival."

--John Grennan
Office of College Communications