Young Director’s Showcase Festival Preview

Ben Kaufman, Senior Editor

Bronwyn Barnwell ’15 and Gwenn Gideon ’15 will each direct a one-act play during the Young Director’s Showcase Festival tonight and tomorrow night at 8 p.m.

The Young Director’s Showcase Festival is an opportunity for students to choose and direct their own show. Each show is a one-act play with different stage managers and casts.

“The Young Director’s Showcase Festival provides the opportunity to direct a complex one-act play with a minimal budget but under the guidance of faculty mentors,” Professor of Theatre Gary Grant said.

According to Barnwell and Gideon, the Play Selection Committee in the theatre department, which is comprised of students and faculty members, selects the plays each year.

“Plays are selected from a wide variety of options, depending on the story and application,” Gideon said.

“[Gideon] and [Barnwell] were chosen for the festival through the strength of their proposals, their understanding of the themes and complexity of the plays, and because of their stellar work in other theatre and dance department projects and classes,” Grant said.

Barnwell’s piece is called “Welcome to the Moon” by John Patrick Shanley. A dark comedy taking place in 1980s Bronx, the play tells the story of four friends who reunite at a bar after 14 years.

“This is one of those shows where people have grown apart, and now they come back and have to move forward while also remembering their past,” Barnwell said.

Gideon’s piece is called “Hello Out There” by William Saroyan. The story is about a gambler who is wrongly accused of rape in a small town in Texas in the 1940s, and the only person who believes him is a young woman who works for the jail.

“I picked it because it highlights how good people are capable of bad things,” Gideon said. “I’ve been working with the themes of innocence and manipulation, and how they play off each other.”

“[Gideon] has been working hard, first on researching the play, next in casting and rehearsal, and this week in teching the production,” Grant said. “[Barnwell] is also working hard with her cast to bring her work to life on stage.”

The actors have also worked hard to bring the plays to life and make the shows feel real and authentic.

“I’m most excited about having fun onstage. [Barnwell’s] show is just about having fun and having a great time, and it really feels that way when I’m on stage,” actor Gabe Calleja ’16 said.

“This is what I live for: to come to rehearsal and have a great time with these wacky people. It’s going to be a great show, and I’m really looking forward to it,” actor Tom Murphy ’17 said.

The Young Director’s Showcase Festival will take place in Tustin Studio Theatre. Tickets are $5 and can be bought online through the Campus Box Office or by calling (570) 577-1000.

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