Thursday, March 26, 2015

Student in the Spotlight: Monique Tokar

  This week's Student in the Spotlight is...
      Monique Tokar!

  
Monique Tokar is a senior at EMU majoring in Theatre Arts and minoring in Comprehensive Communications, Media, Theatre Arts! Monique has worked on props crew for last year's productions of The Shape of Things and To Kill A Mockingbird. She was also props crew-head for Sylvia. Monique was in the cast for last semester's touring Theatre for the Young show The Velveteen Rabbit and she directed A Play for Claryn in this year's Student Written Student Directed One-Act Festival. When asked what his favorite show to work on was she said, "To Kill A Mockingbird was my favorite. I just really liked our props team. We were a lot of fun. We had such a hard time with everything that happened with that show, but seeing it all come out so good in the end was great!"
   Monique's dream show to work on is Funny Girl, "It's my favorite movie. I grew up watching it with my mom and it was her favorite too. It's something special between my mom and I. Also, I love comedy and that's what I want to go into." she said.
   Her favorite memory of EMU Theatre is, "Seeing my show (A Play for Claryn) go up and just being so proud of my cast. We had a rocky start, but I remember watching it at the end and being so proud."
    After graduation, "Next year I hope to move to Chicago and take classes at Second City. I want to do something with theatre and comedy. I'm hoping to get an MFA too, but let's just see how I balance it all first. That's a lot!" she said with a laugh.



Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Student in the Spotlight: Jason VanMill

  This week's Student in the Spotlight is...
      Jason VanMill!

    Jason VanMill is a fourth year student at EMU majoring in Entertainment Design and Technology and Communications/Media/Theatre Arts! Jason has worked as an assistant stage manager for White as Snow Red as Blood: The Story of Snow White, Urinetown, Wedding Band: A Love Hate Story in Black and White, and Tintypes. He also stage managed The Shape of Things last year and is currently stage managing our upcoming production of Legally Blonde! When asked what his favorite show to work on was he said, "I liked them all for different reasons. They've taught me different things. My favorite would have to be Snow White. It was my first time as an assistant stage manager and Jenny Koppera is fantastic. It was a great way to introduce me into stage management."
   Jason's dream show to work on is Ragtime, "I think the music is beautiful; I love how layered it is. Now matter how many times I see or listen to it it always moves me to tears," he said.

    His favorite memory of EMU Theatre is, "All the people I've met along the way and all of the different things you take away from them. It's (EMU) a great environment. Everyone is really supportive of each other."
    After graduation Jason said, "I would love to get an internship and eventually stage manage in the real world. I would really like to do more directing too."









Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Student in the Spotlight: Anthony Petrucci

     This week's Student in the Spotlight is...
      Anthony Petrucci!
    Anthony Petrucci is a first year MA candidate at EMU studying Interpretation and Performance Studies! Anthony has performed in Guys and Dolls, Urinetown, in his undergad and this year he has worked on Dr. Faustus and Androcles and the Lion. Dr. Faustus is his favorite show he has worked on at Eastern! Anthony's dream show to work on is The Addams Family, "It was one of my favorite shows growing up.  I loved watching the movies and cartoons. It's something that I've loved since I was a little kid," he said. (Notice his hairless scalp? He's actually gearing up to play Uncle Fester in a local production of Addams Family!)
Anthony is also our full-time graduate assistant in our scene shop! Part of his responsibilities include being the lab technician for all the shows that take place in our lab theatre including our upcoming Student Written Student Directed One Act Festival!!!
    His favorite memory of EMU Theatre is, "When Jahmeel Powers and I got to accept our Notscar (now called Fauxneys) for 'Partners in Crime'."
    After graduation he plans to, "Get accepted into an MFA program and find a job teaching theatre at a University."







Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Student in the Spotlight: Joey Kulza

     This week's Student in the Spotlight is...
      Joey Kulza!

    Joey Kulza is a senior at EMU majoring in Theatre Arts! Joey has performed in Fiddler on the Roof, The Best Christmas Pageant Ever, To Kill A Mockingbird, and was most recently seen as Stanley in The Birthday Party!! The Birthday Party is his favorite show he has worked on at Eastern! Joey has always wanted to work on A Streetcar Named Desire, "I really like the role of Stanley," he said. (We're sensing a theme between Joey and characters named Stanley. Hmm...)

    Joey is also on props crew for our upcoming production of Legally Blonde!  
    His favorite memory of EMU Theatre is, "Bagels, fresh Bagels!" (If you saw our production of Fiddler on the Roof, then you will know exactly what he's talking about)
    After graduation he plans on, "Pursuing an acting career in Chicago."





Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Student in the Spotlight: Nick Casella

     This week's Student in the Spotlight is...
      Nick Casella!

    Nick Casella is a junior at EMU majoring in Theatre Arts and minoring in Entertainment Design & Technology! Nick has performed in Shaking Earth, Taking Flight, Irrational, To Kill A Mockingbird, and can be seen in our upcoming productions of Androcles and the Lion, and Legally Blonde!! Nick is currently playing Petey in our production of Harold Pinter's The Birthday Party, which has performances running this weekend! The Birthday Party is his favorite show he has worked on here, "It's been amazing the whole time," he said. Nick has always wanted to work on Little Shop of Horrors and Avenue Q, "They are amazing, super great, and I love them," he said. 

    On the design side, Nick was assistant lighting designer for our production of Tintypes!  
    His favorite memory of EMU Theatre is, "Working on lights for The Shape of Things. Even though I wasn't the designer, I got to help with it and that was so cool...and I miss Brian Scruggs!"
    After graduation he plans on, "Doing the theatre thing. Going to New York and not being a waiter, that's the end goal."








Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Student in the Spotlight: Tori Clayton

This week's Student in the Spotlight is...
      Tori Clayton!

    Tori Clayton is a transfer student in our Entertainment Design & Technology program! She has worked in numerous design positions during her time here at EMU. She was the Makeup Designer for Dead Gallery: Elysium Asylum, Costume/Makeup/Props Desginer for Afternoon of the Elves, and she is the Assistant Costume Designer for our upcoming production of Legally Blonde!!!

Tori's favorite show that she worked on here was Dead Gallery! As far as what shows she wants to work on in the future she said, "Anything I can get!"
   Tori's favorite part of EMU Theatre is, "The people, and meeting new people!" As far as post graduation plans, she said, in true college student fashion, "I have no idea." Whatever lies ahead we know it will be great Tori!


Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Absurdism, Comedy of Menace, and "The Birthday Party!"

   "The Birthday Party," opens in just three short days! We know you all are just bursting with excitement over this show! Check out more about our playwright and this specific style below!
   Theater of the absurd, or absurdism, is a term created by theatre critic Martin Esslin. This term is used to describe a set of plays that became popular during the 1950's and 1960's. Esslin created this idea based on Albert Camus' concept of the human condition which states, "humanity had to resign itself to recognizing that a fully satisfying rational explanation of the universe was beyond its reach; in that sense, the world must ultimately be seen as absurd." Basically, he believed that life had no inherent meaning and Esslin believed that these plays reflected that. Absurdist plays typically share several characteristics such as nonsense dialogue, repeptitive or meaningless movement, and non-realistic or impossible plots. In abusrdism there is a distrust of language as a means of communication. Absurdism distorts, parodies and ridicules conventionalized speech, slogans, and technical jargon to break it down and make people aware of the possibility of going beyond common speech patterns to communicate more authentically. 

   Martin Esslin classified four playwrights as leaders in this movement, Samuel Beckett, Eugene Ionesco, Arthur Adamov, and Jean Genet. Later, Esslin included Harold Pinter in this category too!  
   Harold Pinter was born in east London, and considered to be one of the most influential modern British playwrights. His work even inspired the descriptive term, "pinteresque." Although, Mr. Pinter himself disliked the term and thought it was meaningless. He wrote 29 plays, "The Birthday Party," being the second one.    
   "The Birthday Party," is written in the style of Comedy of Menace. This immediately brings up mixed feelings. Comedy is supposed to be funny right? And menace implies a threat right? How can funny and threatening possibly exist in the same situation? Well guess what; it does! It often happens when characters use comedy in a threatening situation, such as cracking a joke while oiling a revolver, HILARIOUS right?! This contradiction is often used to change the audience's view of a certain character, I mean I wouldn't trust someone joking around while cleaning a gun...would you?!
   Come see this menacingly, hilarious style in action THIS WEEKEND at "The Birthday Party!"