The WTAMU theatre department participated in the regional Kennedy Center/American College Theatre Festival held in Shreveport, La., from Feb. 26 to March 2. The region consists of Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Louisiana, Arkansas and Missouri.
WT was one of six schools invited to the regional festival. They performed the production of Iphigenia 2.0, the story of a military leader who must decide on sacrificing his daughter to validate his decision to go to war.
Stephen Crandall, assistant professor of Theatre and director of the performance, said he was overwhelmed when told of the invitation and called the entire experience especially rewarding and a testament to the students.
“This play, we really had to push ourselves hard,” Crandall said. “It was such a rewarding experience to perform the play [because of that]. This was one of the hardest pieces I’ve ever had to work on as a director.”
Crandall said he was blown away when notified of the invitation to the festival and he nearly passed out on the phone when the regional committee called him and asked WT to perform in Shreveport.
“Our students were on pins and needles, waiting to hear [if we were getting invited to the festival],” Crandall said. “I called a meeting with our cast and crew and I couldn’t think of a clever way to let the cat out of the bag. So I just hit the video record button on my phone, raised it up and said, ‘We’re going to Shreveport,’ and it was just uproar and celebration for about five minutes.”
Anne Medlock, associate professor of Theatre, said the invitation to the festival was great, not only because the department got to show off how impressive the theatre program is at WT, but the students had the opportunity to experience a theatrical atmosphere at another venue.
“It was an opportunity for the students to see other productions,” Medlock said. “They got to see six other college theatre performances, plus go to workshops, staged readings, play festivals, and all these other things we don’t get to do here.”
Medlock said the department chose to perform Iphigenia 2.0 because they wanted an edgy-type performance that fit their cast, and they believed it would relate best to the taste of the respondents that would be rating the performance.
Professor of Theatre John Landon said the festival was a great opportunity for the design tech students to build the set for the performance on an unfamiliar stage.
“The scenery was designed different,” Landon said. “We had to think about lighting, using someone else’s light plot and paperwork. We had to make our show look like it did [at WT] in their venue.”
Landon said it was a challenge to build for the set in Shreveport because not only did they have to plan on fitting the stage, they had to plan for the transport of the equipment and props.
“In that particular festival, you have four hours from the time you get to the stage to the time curtain goes up,” Landon said. “Dressing rooms were in a different place and lighting technology was different. Everything was put together [on stage] in a certain order and it had to come out and go in the truck in a certain order.”