JSU showcases student talent

Christy Clasgens, A&E Reporter

The JSU Drama department presented their One Act Festival and Student Showcase on April 4th and 5th. The showcase included eight ten-minute scenes, each directed and performed by JSU students.

The showcase opened with Nothing Serious by Rich Orloff. This scene featured Haley Baker and Jake Lewis, and was directed by Ansley Gayton. Baker is a senior majoring in Psychology and is scheduled to graduate in May. Lewis is a freshman. Gayton is a Theatrical Production major, set to graduate in May. Nothing Serious was a funny scene about two people getting married, or “making the biggest mistake of [their] lives…together.”

The next act was a complete change of pace. Lawrence Mason, a junior Theatre Performance major from Dallas, TX, presented his take on William Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar. Anika Corsi, a senior Theatre Performance major, shined as Brutus, while Brooke Elam, also a senior drama major, wowed the audience as Cassius.

Following Julius Caesar was Almost, Maine, written by John Cariani and directed by Chloe Barnes. The scene was a cute love story about two friends, performed by Deanna Blancher and Chandler Tarvin. Barnes, the director, is a junior studying Theatre Performance. Blancher is a music major, and Tarvin is majoring in English.

Next up was Tennessee Williams’s This Property is Condemned, directed by senior music major Sam Eddy.  This classic scene starred Kenli Doss and Mason Ward, both sophomores. Doss is majoring in English, while Ward is a Theatre Production major.

After a brief intermission, the Student Showcase continued with Nina in the Morning by Christopher Durang, also directed by Sam Eddy. The humorous excerpt featured Allison Lawley, Dominique Cheney, Jaden Vaughn, and Laurence Mason. Lawley is a third-year student majoring in Business. Cheney is a senior majoring in Theatre Performance. Vaughn is a sophomore majoring in Elementary Education.

Rebecca Weaver, a senior double-majoring in English and Drama, directed a scene Bent, by Martin Sherman. Bent was a heart-wrenching story of two gay prisoners in a Nazi concentration camp which received a film adaptation in 1997. Benjamin Marazzi, Mason Ward, and Eric Wilkerson were featured performers.

John Cariani’s Lovesick, directed by senior Theatre Performance major Eric Wilkerson, was a funny, light-hearted story. Lovesick featured Dylan Curvin and Cheyenne Oliver.

The showcase concluded with No Brains, No Entry, by Hypothetical Theatre Group, directed by Lawrence Mason. Featured performers included Kevin Jannot, Sean Golson, Jake Lewis, and Chloe Barnes. The short play was hilariously creative, and featured Barnes as a Zombie who desperately wants to be seen as a human and allowed to cross the Canadian border.

Mason Ward, who acted in two different one acts, felts honored to be a part of the student showcase.

“Being in the student showcase was one of my highlights in my college experience so far. Getting the chance to work so closely with some of my fellow theater students to prepare such powerful scenes was such a memorable experience,” says Ward.

“The two scenes I acted in were both rather dark and handled such sensitive subjects that it was a true honor to learn these characters and try to portray them so honestly,” he adds. “Without the guidance of my two student directors Benjamin Marazzi and Rebecca Weaver I believe the scenes we performed would not have been as powerful as they ended up being.”

The JSU Student Showcase was well-received by the audience. With the talent showcased here at JSU, it’s no surprise that the actors, directors, and staff received a standing ovation.

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