In Midwest, collegiate theatre, the spotlight doesn’t get much brighter.
The University of Wisconsin Oshkosh Theatre Department is, this week, showcasing one of only seven selected stage productions from a four-state region, while more than 10 students share individual competitive acting and stagecraft talents during this week’s Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival (KCACTF) in Milwaukee.
The UW Oshkosh Theatre Department’s fall 2014 production of Conor McPherson’s The Seafarer, directed by Professor Merlaine Angwall, will be performed at The Pabst Theater in Milwaukee on Jan. 10, by invitation of the KCACTF.
UW Oshkosh is a member of KCACTF Region III, which includes colleges and universities from Illinois, Indiana, Michigan and Wisconsin. The organization now boasts “a network of more than 600 academic institutions throughout the country, where theater departments and student artists showcase their work and receive outside assessment by KCACTF respondents.”
UW Oshkosh’s production of The Seafarer is one of only seven shows invited to perform at the Festival from all of the 2014 Region III shows. The Theatre department staged it at Fredric March theatre on campus from Nov. 19 through Nov. 23 last fall.
“It is an incredible opportunity for our Theatre students to have stage as one of seven KCACTF-selected regional shows,” said Seafarer director and Professor Merlaine Angwall.
“There are few better opportunities for our actors, directors, technicians and stagecraft specialists to shine in front of their peers and some of the leading theatre professionals in the Midwest and nation,” Angwall said. “This week’s series of performances and opportunities to showcase individual talent and imagination are also an affirmation of all the hard work and creativity our students put into their theatre education and passion at UW Oshkosh.”
Theatre Department faculty, too, have the opportunity to showcase their talent, as Roy Hoglund (Scenic Design), Kathleen Donnelly (Scenic Design), Mick Alderson (Costume Design, Light Design and Technical Director) and Jane Purse-Wiedenhoeft (Dialect Coach) earn Festival spotlight.
At the Festival, Purse-Wiedenhoeft will also receive the KCACTF Region III Faculty Service Award.
UW Oshkosh students performing in The Seafarer include Michael Stimac, Matthew Nielsen, Jared Schultz, David Kurtz and Benjamin Mackey. Student Joseph King will be the stage manager for the performance at The Pabst Theater. For her work on The Seafarer, Amanda O’Donnell, a UW Oshkosh December graduate, received a KCACTF Region III Certificate of Merit for Sound Design.
“It is obviously a fantastic opportunity for all of us,” Schultz said. “We have all worked extremely hard and to be able to show off the result of all that hard work is amazing. Since next semester will probably be my last one, it is particularly important to me since an opportunity like this came at the last second. I couldn’t have asked for a better cast and crew to share this all with.”
King, who will be the stage manager for this performance, will also present his original work at the Festival’s Stage Management Fellowship, while student O’Donnell, who received a KCACTF Region III Certificate of Merit, will participate in the Region III Design Storm.
During Festival week in Milwaukee, six UW Oshkosh Theatre students will participate in the Irene Ryan Acting Scholarship competition, which awards regional and national acting scholarships every year. Schultz, Kurtz, Amy Baumgardner, Zechariah Jens, Mallory Radney and Andrea Ewald were nominated to perform.
The 2014-15 UW Oshkosh Theatre season continues at Fredric March Theatre with the theatrical premiere of The Boy Inside, written and directed by Professor Richard Kalinoski from Feb. 18 through Feb. 21 at 7:30 p.m. and Feb. 22 at 2:30 p.m.
The award-winning playwright’s new play examines the violence in the sport of football and a Division III football coach’s “personal relationship to the game and the cultural implications of competitive sports” after asked by his college president to pay attention to an ancient, Afghani rural sport and tradition.