Directing Stop Kiss

Stop Kiss is the student directed show running through June 14 in the Gallery Theater at the Rio Grande Campus. Lindsay Scarbrough has most recently been involved as Assistant Director for ACC’s production of Antigone. This is the first play she’s directed at ACC.

ACC Drama Department, Stop Kiss, Lindsay Scarbrough, Dougherty Arts Center
Lindsay Scarbrough during a rehearsal at the Dougherty Arts Center.

Lindsay originally read Stop Kiss when she was 18. “I fell in love with the natural dialogue,” Lindsay said. She liked the fact that the language was accessible; it sounded like something she could say. And after presenting her proposal for Stop Kiss to the ACC Drama Department, she was approved to finally present the show.

Her first challenge was finding rehearsal space. “A major part of our rehearsals happened while the campus was closed in between semesters. We were at the Dougherty Arts Center for two weeks, we rehearsed at my apartment. We finally got into our venue (at ACC) the week the show opened.”

ACC Drama Department, Stop Kiss, Briana Loera, Patrick Shaffer, Dougherty Arts Center
Briana Loera and Patrick Shaffer joking during rehearsal.

As rehearsals progressed in the various locations, the script’s timeline presented another challenge. “When I was reading the play, I thought it was so cool because it jumped back and forth in time. But then I realized, ‘oh yeah, I have to have different outfits and different sets.'” Stop Kiss requires a lot of quick costume changes and creative set shifts.

ACC Drama Department, Stop Kiss, Briana Loera, Abbey Elizabeth
Briana Loera as Callie on the left and Abbey Elizabeth as Sara during dress rehearsal.

 

But through the challenges, Lindsay is excited to present something that deals with real issues. Beyond the topics of street harassment and women having the courage to speak up, Lindsay wants the audience to get caught up in the relationship that enfolds between the main characters Callie and Sara. “I’m hoping the first kiss leaves the audience with that awww feeling,” Lindsay said.

Stop Kiss shows at 7:30 pm on Thursday, Friday and Saturday and 2 pm on Sunday. Tickets can be purchased at the door for $3 and all proceeds benefit the Performing Arts Scholarship Fund. For more information, call 512-223-3245.

 

Summing up Callie

Briana Loera plays Callie from Diana Son’s Stop Kiss. The play opened last night and is directed by ACC student Lindsay Scarbrough. The play follows Callie and Sara as they become friends and slowly begin to fall in love.

Briana has been at ACC for 5 years and has been cast in multiple shows in addition to working in the costume shop. This is her last show at ACC before moving to California for “a new adventure.”

ACC Drama Department, Briana Loera, Callie, Stop Kiss
Briana Loera as Callie

How would you describe Callie?

She’s much like me in that she uses lots of words for simple things. She’s silly, dorky. She uses quirky allusions to get things across.

The way I see her, she’s also almost afraid of herself and letting herself be totally happy. She’s scared herself into being content with what she has.

Sara is a new challenge for her. I want to say Callie is learning how to group up, but it’s not growing up – it’s growing into herself.

ACC Drama Department, Stop Kiss, Briana Loera as Callie, Abbey Elizabeth as Sara
Briana Loera as Callie with Abbey Elizabeth as Sara

 

The play runs through next weekend in the Rio Grande Campus Gallery Theater: Thursday-Saturday shows at 7:30 pm and Sunday shows at 2 pm. Tickets are $3 at the door and all proceeds benefit the Performing Arts Scholarship Fund. For more information, call 512-223-3245.

The voice of Antigone

Austin Community College Drama Department, Makenna Perkal, Antigone
Makenna Perkal as Antigone

If you got a chance to see ACC’s production of Antigone, you probably fell in love with the main character. Makenna Perkal portrays the Greek protagonist from Sophocles’s play with all the passion the role requires.

Perkal was excited to be in Marcus McQuirter’s modernized version of the Greek tragedy. She enjoyed setting the work closer to home without, as Perkal said, “taking away the beauty and the power.” She also lauded McQuirter for allowing her to find authenticity in the work. “Acting isn’t about being pretty all the time. Being allowed to be raw and gross, finding truth in the moment – it’s awesome to work with someone who supported that through the whole process,” Perkal said.

Austin Community College Drama Department, Makeena Perkal, Judy Mattar, Antigone, Ismene
Antigone, Makenna Perkal, and sister Ismene, Judy Mattar

The unique staging was a first for Perkal, but she completely embraced performing in the round. “It’s like a game,” Perkal said. “I could really make them listen to me, watch me. It was awesome to speak to the audience, not ignore them,” Perkal said enjoying the absence of the notorious fourth wall in theater.

It was easy to see where the passion for Antigone came as Perkal talked about the character. “It’s really about standing up for what you believe in. Antigone knows she’s going to be killed, but she still has the gut and the heart to bury her brother. It’s a huge reminder of the capacity of love.”

 

Anne Wharton is a blogger and photographer for the ACC Arts & Humanities Division. She graduated from ACC with an Associate in Dance in 2014 and has performed with the ACC Drama Department.

Photography by Anne Wharton.

The intellect of Creon

Austin Community College Drama Department, Kevin Gates, King Creon, Antigone
Kevin Gates as Creon

Kevin Gates takes ACC’s production to a whole new level as King Creon. A theater history professor for Texas State, Gates brought a lot of experience and expertise to Creon; a role which he considers the true tragic hero of Antigone according to Aristotle’s definition. “Creon has the reversal, recognition and suffering even though Antigone is the protagonist,” Gates says.

Gates also has a definite opinion about his preference for performing in the round. For him, the proscenium stage is a form of “indoctrination” versus the “dialogue and community process” of the more traditional theater in the round. He did point out that there was a need to “train your audience,” since the public has become so unaccustomed to what once was the standard for theater.

Austin Community College Drama Department, Kevin Gates, Blake Robbins, King Creon, Prince Haemon, Antigone
Creon, Kevin Gates, mourning the loss of his son Haemon, Blake Robbins.

For Gates, the role of Creon shows the contrast of moral and temporal law. Creon “embodies temporal law, the law of man which doesn’t seem to be favored,” Gates says about Creon’s eventual downfall. Though the role portrays some incredible philosophical truths, there’s a lot of sexism to found in the script as well. “I hate all that stuff. And it’s always a challenge because you don’t want to offend anyone, but on the other hand that’s the text,” Gates says.  In the end, Gates still embraces the play for getting people to think. “Teach the play, do the play. Stand up; say the words, be the character. Start asking questions,” Gates says.

 

Photography by Anne Wharton

Anne Wharton is a blogger and photographer for the ACC Arts & Humanities Division. She graduated from ACC with an Associate in Dance in 2014 and has performed with the ACC Drama Department.

 

From the perspective of the assistant director

You have three more chances to catch Antigone at ACC!

Read on to hear Assistant Director (and chorus member) Lindsay Scarborough talk about her experience as part of the cast and the crew.

Austin Community College Drama Department, Antigone, Lindsay Scarborough, Macenna Perkal,
Lindsay Scarborough with Macenna Perkal in Antigone

What was it like as an actor doing theater in the round?

It was a little intimidating being so close to the audience. You have to know your role in and out 100% and you have to be focused 100% of the time.

After having worked in the round, do you prefer it over proscenium staging?

It does feel more natural. Instead of talking in one direction to a person who is in a different direction, you can just talk at the person. You don’t have to talk at the audience because the stage is open to every direction in the round.

What were your roles as the assistant director for the show?

Listening, watching, offering opinions. I learned a lot from seeing Marcus direct – he’s awesome!

What is your take away so far?

After watching Marcus, my take away is getting creative in your process.

 

Austin Community College Drama Department, Lindsay Scarborough, Macenna Perkal, Antigone
Lindsay Scarborough on the left as a chorus member.

 

Antigone runs tonight and Saturday at 7:30 pm and Sunday at 2:00 pm. Buy tickets here.

 

Photography by Anne Wharton

Anne Wharton is a blogger and photographer for the ACC Arts & Humanities Division. She graduated from ACC with an Associate in Dance in 2014 and has performed with the ACC Drama Department.

Lighting up the stage

Megan Reilly, lighting designer for Austin Community College Drama Department's production of Antigone, photography by Will Hollis Snider
Photography by Will Hollis Snider

Guest artist Megan Reilly wasn’t always the incredible light wiz that she is today. Reilly was actually originally a biology major who was dragged into running lights for a production of The Tempest because of her college roommate. “I didn’t even know there was such a thing as a lighting designer. But being around that kind of passion – people were there all night every night,” Reilly said about getting hooked in theater.

I talked to her about what’s it like to design a show and what skills you need for a career in light design.

What are your steps for designing a show?

Reilly: It’s different for every show. It’s a little easier to answer for plays, dance is very different (Reilly currently designs the lights for ACC’s dance showcases). I read the script before going to any of the meetings and then research images so I can have a discussion with the director. It’s not helpful to have a bunch of words for lighting. You what to show the director what it’ll look like: this color at this angle.

What was it like working with Marcus McQuirter’s modern concept for Antigone?

Reilly: I like the way we went with it. There’s real purpose and intention in how it’s being done. It’s not just stupid reason number four for putting a Shakespeare play in a random city. Marcus came to me with pictures of the Bosnian war time and stuff like that. It wasn’t just, ‘we’re putting this in Bermuda.’ That would have been weird.

 

Antigone, Austin Community College Drama Department, King Creon, Megan Reilly lighting designer, Photography by Anne Wharton
Megan Reilly enjoys using shadows in her work. Photography by Anne Wharton

 

How’s it different designing for theater in the round versus a proscenium stage?

It’s more of an immersive nature. You’re not always perfectly lit. It’s about creating an environment, a texture.

What’s your advice for students interested in doing light design?

Reilly: The best thing students can do is draw a lot, especially people. It teaches you to really look at light, really see it. Notice light every chance you get.Also invest in the arts. Read a lot, listen to music, know who painters and composers are. Don’t ever fall behind. You never want to be in a meeting where a director brings up someone like Georege Seurat and you’re the only person who doesn’t know who he is. You can’t have a vocabulary as a designer without exposure to a wide range of things.

 

Antigone runs through this weekend: Thursday, Friday and Saturday evening at 7:30 and Sunday afternoon at 2:00. Buy tickets here.

 

Anne Wharton is a blogger and photographer for the ACC Arts & Humanities Division. She graduated from ACC with an Associate in Dance in 2014 and has performed with the ACC Drama Department.

The Director’s Thoughts

Antigone had a great opening weekend at ACC! If you haven’t seen it yet, this weekend is your last chance. Buy tickets here.

The director, Marcus McQuirter, took a moment to talk to me about his perspective on Antigone, the casting process and the technique involved to pull off a classical play.

Kevin Gates in ACC's production of Antigone, Austin Community College Drama Department, Antigone, King Creon
Kevin Gates as King Creon

For McQuirter, Antigone is his favorite of the celebrated Theban plays by Sophocles. The protagonist is a huge selling point for McQuirter. “There’s something about really strong female characters – I think it’s why I like Game of Thrones so much as well,” McQuirter said. But the language as well as the characters really grabbed him.

“Greek plays in general, but especially Antigone have really tight language. There’s a unity of time and action. The script is straight forward; clean and tight,” McQuirter said. The language is to the point, but the play is anything but simple. “You have to delve deep into the psychological things going on and decide what side you’re on,” McQuirter said.

Because the play hinges on the tension between the pivotal characters King Creon and Antigone, there was a lot of thought behind casting these roles. “It took awhile to cast,” McQuirter said, “you have an unmovable object and an unstoppable force.” The actors filling these roles needed similar qualities without overwhelming each other. Kevin Gates and Makeena Perkal seemed to have found just that balance.

Blake Robbins as Prince Haemon in ACC's production of Antigone, Austin Community College Drama Department, Antigone, Prince Haemon
Blake Robbins as Prince Haemon

“The cast is great – they’re excited about getting to do a classical work like this,” McQuirter said. He spoke about the power of “utterance” in a play like Antigone. Explaining the importance of breathing and projecting, McQuirter also talked about the process of rehearsing the play. “The actors are generating a piece of stone to be sculpted. You have to go big, get the language out there and then fine tune it and work on crafting. The classics really portray people at the extreme – you have to delve and really pull from your most extreme experience to get there,” McQuirter said. His standby rule in rehearsals? “You can never be too big with the classics.”

Coming soon – find out what it takes to light up the stage with Antigone’s light designer Megan Reilly.

 

Anne Wharton is a blogger and photographer for the ACC Arts & Humanities Division. She graduated from ACC with an Associate in Dance in 2014 and has performed with the ACC Drama Department.

Photography by Anne Wharton.

 

 

What Lion has to say

Ja’Michael Darnell, who plays Lion, talks about what it’s  like to be in ACC’s production of “The Wiz.”

Your last chance to catch the show is this weekend! Playing at 7:30 pm on Friday and Saturday and 3:00 on Sunday. Buy your tickets today!