Directing Scenes lights up the stage with ‘Legally Blonde’ and ‘Venus in Fur’ on opening night; final directing scenes to be premiered on Dec. 6
The bustling of the theatre department dies down this week as 19 students put on their own shows. Each student in Amy Pinney’s Directing Scenes class casts and directs a scene from a Broadway production of their choosing.
The students do everything from lighting to blocking to directing. The Friday crew becomes the stage crew on Thursday’s performance and vice versa. This involvement gives the actors a better understanding of the process of putting on a show.
Open auditions were held for Directing Scenes. Georgia College students and non-students alike were allowed to audition for a part in the performances.
“Directing scenes auditions are open auditions and you just audition for all of the directors and then you get called back for whatever scene they think you might fit in,” Brianna Riley, junior music education major and star of Thursday’s opening scene, said.
Because of the numerous student directors, Directing Scenes performs two different nights with two different shows. The first half, which premiered Thursday, Dec. 5 in Campus Black Box Theatre, starts off with a bang. Seven perky, energetic girls sing loudly about the potential engagement of a fellow sorority sister. This scene from the musical “Legally Blonde”, directed by Christina DeCarlo, junior theatre major, was well-executed and started the evening off with a jolt.
Riley shined as Elle Woods and was ecstatic to be chosen for the part.
“I was really excited because that’s a part that I aspire to play one day. I like the movie, “ she said, “but the musical kind of takes it to a new level, especially the character of Elle Woods, so getting to be in the scene was … kind of inspiring.”
Another highlight of Thursday’s performance was “Venus in Fur,” directed by Halley Bowman, junior theatre major. “Venus in Fur” was written by David Ives. David Ives wrote this adaptation based on the novel “Venus in Furs” by Austrian author Leopold von Sacher-Masoch. This scene was the raciest of the Thursday bunch.
“A girl – this really kind of out there girl – comes in late for an audition for a play called ‘Venus in Furs’,” Bowman said. Much like Robin Thicke, “Venus in Fur” blurs the lines between the writer and auditioning actress, as she tries to seduce him during her audition.
“It’s racy and sexy and fun,” Bowman said. “It’s kind of a power struggle between the two of them.”
Unfortunately, Bowman ran into some issue earlier this week, as her male lead, Robbie Corner, suffered an unfortunate circumstance.
“Robbie is in the hospital,” William Warren, senior theatre major and replacement for Corner, said. “So I’ve been a fill-in for two days.” Warren also appeared in “The Boys Next Door” directed by senior theatre major Sam Wilson and will appear on Friday’s performance in “The Roanoke,” which is directed by Allison Peaslee, junior theatre major. “It was a challenge,” Warren commented on the rush to memorize the blocking and lines.
The funniest performance of the night was “They Fell,” an excerpt from “Almost,” directed by junior theatre major Kayla Carson. “They Fell” features two bros, Chad and Randy, hanging out after both experiencing bad dates. Chad slowly realizes he’s in love with Randy, and after falls of their own, the two walk happily into the darkness.
Carson also experienced a hasty recast, although hers was in the middle of the semester.
“The hardest part was having to recast in the middle of the semester,” Carson said. The recast was Jeremy Colwell, freshman theatre, as Randy. “I’m so glad it happened because he’s great,” Carson added.
The scene faded into a happy distance only to be followed by an ominous score.
Zach Bradford, junior theatre major, chose his scene from the classic “Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street.” Starring freshman theatre major Eric Burleson as Sweeney Todd, the scene’s mixture of comedy with ominous tones was done justice.
New to the stage was Rebecca Gaylor, sophomore psychology major. “I’m kind of quiet so I have to not be on stage,” Gaylor said of the challenges she faced while portrayed Mrs. Lovett. “It brings out a different side of you.” As for working with students experienced with performing, Gaylor admitted she was nervous. “It’s also intimidating because they’re pros,” she said, “but they’re really nice and have been really helpful.”
The scene was cut stylistically in order to adapt to the time frame. The scene ended with Todd holding a knife to Judge Turpin’s neck.
“My biggest decision in cutting it that way was knowing that I only had 10 minutes,” Bradford said. “I knew that ending it with that moment would imply that he either had been killed or hadn’t. The goal of it was audience interpretation.”
Friday’s performances will kick off with a dark comedy. “Rumors” by Neil Simon and directed by Kayla Crane, senior theatre major, tells the story of an attempted suicide gone awry. “Rumors” features a cast of two non-GC students. Jared Powell, GC graduate, and Julia Roessing, daughter of history professor Bob Wilson, play Ken and Chris Goreman, respectively. Roessing gives the dark piece a source of light with her humorous lines and mannerisms.
Following “Rumors” are scenes ranging from drama to comedy. Each performance will make the audience experience a different emotion.
Spoiler alert: It’ll be worth your time.