Young Director’s Showcase stuns audience

Christina Oddo, Senior Writer

This past weekend, the Department of Theatre and Dance presented The Young Director’s Showcase in Tustin Studio Theatre. The shows included William Saroyan’s “Hello Out There,” directed by Gwenn Gideon ’15, and John Patrick Shanley’s “Welcome to the Moon,” directed by Bronwyn Barnwell ’15.

“I really think we were all very pleased with how well the performances went and really felt the connection with the audience,” Barnwell said. “A comedy is a conversation between the players onstage and the audience in the seats, and I think that everyone felt the fun of the piece this weekend and the love my cast has for the show and each other.”

Barnwell’s “Welcome to the Moon” included props such as real sandwiches in addition to many comedic aspects and specific, exaggerated emotions that kept the audience laughing throughout the show.

“There is a lot of work that goes into making a comedy a success, but the cast was so willing to try new things and go as over-the-top or true-to-life as I needed them to,” Barnwell said “We probably had too much fun.”

Gideon’s “Hello Out There” created a desperate situation with highlights of comedic relief. Surprises continued to unravel throughout the piece, including a gunshot and the revelation of a bloody chest.

“It was a joy to be able to share the space and show with Gwenn and her lovely cast, and I am so happy to be surrounded by so many talented people,” Barnwell said.

“It was really interesting to go from last year, when I directed a Cocktail through the directing class, to this year’s showcase because it was much more independent,” Gideon said.

Both directors were guided by advisors throughout the process. Gideon worked with Professor of Theatre Gary Grant and Barnwell worked with Assistant Professor of Theatre and Dance Anjalee Deshpande Hutchinson. Gideon commented that the directors met with their advisors once a week and brought their own questions and concerns to the meetings.

“I really liked that neither the directors nor the actors shied away from sensitive subjects,” Madison Lane ’14, an audience member, said. “There were themes of prostitution, rape, and suicide, and the entire production team embraced them with maturity, brilliance and a huge amount of talent, despite not having the same resources as a main stage or a senior project. I was so impressed and entertained by everyone involved.”

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