Tag: Play

Students showcase talent in ‘You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown’

by DEBRA MONTANDON

If you ever feel down and out, you aren’t alone. Just watch Charlie Brown.

Students in the South Plains College Theater program presented “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown,” on March 28-March 31 in the Helen Devitt Jones Theater on the Levelland Campus.

55698477_2586188038076972_6859128050919931904_nThe opening of the play has each character describing some of Charlie Brown’s previous failures, before they sang “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown.”

In the next skit, Charlie Brown points out his flaws that he sees in himself. Justin Fraley from Hobbs, New Mexico, did a remarkable job of portraying Charlie Brown. Even when he sings, you can hear as if Charlie Brown is doing the singing himself.

Throughout the play, you do feel bad for Charlie Brown because bad things just happen to him a lot. He even asks at one point, “When do good things start?”

In another scene, Charlie Brown notices the little red head sitting alone, but he doesn’t have the guts to go and sit with her. He refers to himself as a coward.

“Lunch time is one of the worse times for me,” said Charlie Brown.

The vocal talent in this play was impressive, and they harmonized very well. They also were supported by a small orchestra of five musicians, under the direction of Dr. Debbie Gelber

Each of the actors did a super job of portraying the characters. Dalynn Beck, from Vera, 55462936_2586189104743532_3029532504529829888_nplayed the part of Sally. A sophomore at SPC, Beck said that that she loves stepping into the shoes of a character and seeing things from their perspective.”  She would like to be on Broadway one day and plans on a career in acting.   

Christina Johnson played the role of Snoopy. A freshman at SPC, Johnson said that she loves acting because “you can create a new world,” and she also hopes to make it a career.

Schroeder was played by Brendyn Rodriguez, who is in his first semester at SPC. He was influenced to come to SPC by the theater program. Rodriguez, who was in One Act plays while in high school in Brownfield, says he enjoys acting because you “get to be someone else.” He added that he loves performing for an audience and making them think he is someone else. He does not plan a career in acting, but would like to teach drama.

Joel Palma played the role of Linus. A sophomore at SPC, Palma was a part of several plays in high school in Denver City. He said he likes to “escape from reality and concentrate on the character.” He plans a career in acting.

“It was a great experience working with this cast,” Palma added. “It was awkward at first, but we became a family in the end.”

Tiffany Martinez, from Lubbock, played the role of Lucy.

Serving as the director for the play was Dr. Dan K. Nazworth, chairperson of the Fine Arts Department at SPC.

He says that he picked “Charlie Brown” because he knew he wanted to do a musical this 55949843_2586178954744547_6038206968538071040_nsemester and the cast size would fit. Dr. Gelber, who served as music director, also liked it.

Rehearsals started the first week of the spring semester, and students had to audition for their roles.

Dr. Nazworth first gathered the students around a piano so he could find out who could sing. Then he gave them a script to listen to them read, before he and Dr. Gelber figured out who should get each part.

“Theater is a factory, not just an art form,” said Dr. Nazworth.

The orchestra was directed by Dr. Debbie Gelber, who also played the keyboard. Sesha Wallace played the woodwinds, with Robert Meinecke on violin. Dustin Pedigo played the Bass, and Dr. Al Gardner played percussion.

I was pleasantly surprised by the small number who made up the orchestra, as they did an amazing job throughout the performance.

Assisting with the production were: Kelly Duval, who served as stage manager; Kodee Scott, who assisted with sound; Tracie Boyd, who assisted with lights; and Kennedy Walling, who assisted with the Box Office.

Teamwork put into ‘The Addams Family’ accomplishes creative goals

Family is the first thing people are born with. Many value it above everything else.

But family can also be something you choose, and that’s been the experience of the Lubbock Community Theater in putting on their newest musical, “The Addams Family.”

The show, which ran through October 15 at the Louise Hopkins Underwood Center for the Arts in downtown Lubbock, is an enormous endeavor for LCT. With a cast and crew of more than 40 people, it’s easily the theater’s largest show in many years, and the community has taken notice.

The show revolves around a family that is a morbid and irreverent spoof of the traditional American household: a wealthy but close-knit group of relatives who take pleasure in things that would normally disgust or terrify others, while oblivious to their outwardly frightening nature.

“It’s been an adventure,” said Heather May, the show’s director. “But with this show, it talks so much about family and inclusion, and being there for each other no matter what. I like to put that into all my casts, but especially with this one.”

For those unfamiliar with the musical incarnation, this story is not based on the television series, the string of feature films that followed, but on the feel of the original single-panel comic strips that cartoonist Charles Addams drew for The New Yorker for nearly half a century.

 

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Photos courtesy of Charlie Schwieterman

 

It’s a big concept, and putting on a play of this scale isn’t an easy task by any account. But community theatre, as many of those involved have confirmed, has a way of bringing people together.

“This production is truly a huge example of ‘community’ theatre,” said May. “So many people were like, ‘you need this, you need this, yeah, we can help you with that.’ A small theatre like LCT would not be able to put on as big a production without that support and those relationships and connections that we have through our community.”

The teamwork is just as strong within the ensemble cast, but there are some obviously fantastic standouts. Kayla Rushing’s Wednesday walks a fine line between sullen and energetic. Michelle Tarbox as Morticia dances endlessly throughout the show, but never relinquishes her air of mysterious elegance. Whitney Garrity as Fester narrates the show with an almost childlike innocence and unshakable delight, while Frank Rendon’s irreverently charming Gomez feels like the solid, comic glue that holds the entire family together.

Charlie Schwieterman, the play’s assistant director, says that sense of teamwork is an intentional part of the “Addams Family” process, and community theatre, in general.

“Every single person in there has a talent,” Schwieterman says. “Every single person has multiple things that they bring to the table. It’s really great to see this show evolve from what it was at the beginning, like two months ago, to now.”

Community theatre is a collaborative effort that often means putting in many hours a week after school and work during several months, to accomplish creative goals and put together a complete performance.

“My main job is my side thing,” said Schwieterman. “That’s what I do to help support what I do here.”

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The musical tells a tale of growing up, as the brooding daughter Wednesday is now 18 years old and in love with a person the family just can’t accept or understand—an average, “normal” boy from Ohio. There’s singing, there’s dancing, and there’s even an adaptable set assembled a few pieces at a time by characters in the show as it progresses.

One of the hardest jobs, onstage at least, actually falls on someone audiences may not expect.

“I’m a named character that’s in the program, and I don’t say anything,” said Randy Cook, who plays Lurch, the family’s silent butler. “It’s the hardest role I’ve ever played. For me, it’s a great exercise as an actor. It’s all about listening and reacting, and absolutely not about me initiating any action on the stage.”

Overall, Cook says it’s a relatable story about a family more like the rest of us than it might first appear.

“You come at this thing from a real dark perspective with this really odd family,” said Cook. “But which one of us doesn’t have an odd family that has darkness in it? They just display theirs out in front of God and everybody.”

Theatre production tells paranormal activity story

Just in time for Halloween, the Fine Arts Department at South Plains College is showcasing a play called “The Haunting of Hill House.”

This play was made originally from the novel written in 1959 by American author, Shirley Jackson. There are four main characters in this production, Eleanor Vance, who will be played by Lorena Lopez, Dr. John Montague, who will be played by Spencer Pellowski, Theodora, who will be played by Chantel Davis, and Luke Sanderson, who will be played by Joshua Rodriguez.

Each character comes from a different background, and these young actors and actresses portray such intense and realistic emotions. Performances will begin at 7:30 p.m. on Oct. 26, Oct. 27 and Oct. 28, with a matinee at 2 p.m. on Oct. 29 in the Helen Devitt Jones Theatre for the Performing Arts. Tickets are $5.

Dan Nazworth, department chairperson assistant professor of Theatre Arts, is serving as the director of the play, which he says is focused on terror and paranormal activities. It is a ghost story, but there are no ghosts that take part in the story.

 

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South Plains College student actors prepare for “The Haunting of Hill House.”
Photo courtesy of SPC Theatre Facebook

 

One of the main characters, Dr. Montague, is an investigator of the supernatural. He tries to find proof of the existence of paranormal activities involving the house, so he seeks out assistants to help with this experiment.

Eleanor Vance and Theodora arrive and meet the current house owner’s nephew, Luke Sanderson, as well as Dr. Montague, and they all get along well. Throughout the next several days, all four of them begin to experience these strange occurrences, such as banging and echoes through the hallways. Messages appear on the walls, and doors tend to slam shut.

Eleanor experiences all of this and begins to believe that her time spent outside of the Hill House was wasted. She strengthens her relationship with the house, while her relationship with the others falls apart.

Toward the end of the story, there is a moment when Eleanor is most likely possessed while entering the library and attempting to get to the top of the spiral stairway. But Luke soon saves her. Dr. Montague feels that even if Eleanor is back to normal, it is not safe for her to remain at Hill House.

Eleanor is convinced that she has no home away from the house. But as she is driving off, she steers her car into a tree, committing suicide. Dr. Montague and the others later go their separate ways, leaving the house alone.

Dr. Nazworth says that the play isn’t quite at the point where he would like it to be right now. But with two weeks left until the first performance, he believes that it will be ready just in time. Nazworth says he chose the play specifically because it will be performed two days before Halloween, and the timing fell perfectly.