January 07, 2005

Theater students to showcase their talents

by Paula M. Davenport

CARBONDALE, Ill. — Young actors, playwrights, directors and set designers in the Southern Illinois University Carbondale theater program will showcase their talents at an upcoming regional Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival.

The festival, one of eight such regional celebrations around the country, takes place Jan. 11-15 at Illinois State University in Normal.

Regional festivals spotlight the finest of each region's entered stage productions and offer a variety of activities, including workshops on everything from playwriting to stage combat and scenery construction and an acting competition.

Judges will select four to six of the best and most diverse regional festival productions for performances in the spring at the annual national festival at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.

Here's a look at SIUC's participants, their events and other pertinent details:

• Eight SIUC student actors will compete against more than 250 peers from other Midwest colleges and universities for Irene Ryan Acting Awards.

SIUC's contingent, alphabetically by hometown, includes:

Bridgeview: Calliope H. "Callie" Tsoukalas
Carbondale: Shavon M. Wagner
Long Grove: Sarah M. McIlvain
Montgomery: Jason W. Rost
Mount Vernon: Erin N, Coatney
Oakland: Dan Kruckeberg
Rockton: Emily L.Peck
San Francisco, Calif.: Jason J. Branch.

• Student playwright and St. Louis native Vincent Rhomberg's work, "Lyin' Lies," will be staged during the festival. Area audiences may recall Rhomberg's play, which was part of the production "Journeys" staged at SIUC last spring, under the direction of J. Thomas Kidd, assistant professor of theater.

• Playwright Thomas J. Miller's "Untitled," will be part of the festival's 10- minute play competition. Miller is from Crystal Lake. SIUC also staged the work as part of the production "Journeys," with direction by Lori Merrill-Fink, associate professor of theater.

Graduate student Michael Rose's "Ghost Throats" is the selected alternate.

• Students Anna C. Goller of Carbondale and Jennifer Peterson of American Fork, Utah, will display set designs they created for three SIUC productions of "In the Blood," "On the Verge" and "The Green Bird."

• McLeod Theater's fall production of "On the Verge" will be part of a special "Evening of Scenes" presentation.
Achieving excellence in graduate and undergraduate programs is among the goals of Southern at 150: Building Excellence Through Commitment, the blueprint for the development of the University by the time it celebrates its 150th anniversary in 2019.