Saddleback Theatre Arts department set for upcoming season

The Saddleback College theatre arts department will kick off the spring 2014 semester with selected shows including “Five Women Wearing the Same Dress,” “The Best Little Whore House in Texas” and “All in the Timing.”

“Five Women Wearing the Same Dress” by Alan Ball, takes place at a wedding reception in Knoxville, Tenn. Five bridesmaids seclude themselves in a Texas mansion, “each with her own reasoning to avoid their proceedings” according to the Saddleback theatre website. The play addresses “intricacies of friendship and the power of similar dressing.”

Casting is set to begin the second week of spring semester January 28 and 29.

Students must fill out an audition form and prepare a monologue, or be given one on the spot, where they will be performing for all three directors simultaneously. Callbacks are set to take place over the course of Jan. 30 and 31. All students are able to audition.

“I like how it gives others not within the Theatre department a chance to show what they’re made of,” said Saddleback student Matt Darrell. “I was in drama improvisation in high school so I might give it a shot.”

“The Best Little Whore House in Texas” by Larry L. King, Peter Masterson and music by Carol Hall, was originally a Broadway musical, converted into a movie with the likes of Dolly Parton taking role. Set in the 1850s at Chicken Ranch, one of Texas’s “finest pleasure palaces,” Miss Mona’s bordello is set awry by the watchful eye of the puritan nemesis Watchdog, according to the Saddleback theatre website.

The “big, flashy musical” as head of the theatre arts department Kent McFann describes it, is something that the older generation of crowd goers recognize, and a piece that students are excited about doing.

“Anytime you have shows that people are already familiar with, you already have expectations that are high of your audience members,” said Michelle Jackson, theatre production manager. “You want to make sure your production is unique and just as high quality as people are going to associate the show with.”

All of the shows have guest directors. Director of choral and vocal Music Scott Farthing is exempt.

Farthing will take on directorial and musical duties with “The Best Little Whore House in Texas.” Farthing has a background in musical theater as he has “conducted, directed or played for many operatic musical theatre productions throughout his career,” according to the Saddleback faculty profile.

Saddleback music major Katherine Jemley, a student of Farthing’s, plans on taking part in the musical and praises his expertise.

“He’s wonderful,” Jemley said. “He is a great artistic mind and cares about his students’ success a lot. I’m sure the production will thrive.”

The final performance of the spring semester is “All in the Timing” by David Ives, once named one of the “100 Smartest New Yorkers” by New York Magazine. According to a NewYork Times review, “All in the Timing is by a master of fun. David Ives spins hilarity out of words.”

A traditional production for high school and college art programs, “All in the Timing,” the series of one-act comedy bits, combines “wit, intellect, satire and just plain fun” according to the Saddleback theatre website.

“‘All in the Timing’ will be something of experimental sorts this time around,” McFann said. “We will have a student director and designer for the play which is not normal for us.”

Saddleback theatre arts is only a two-year program. McFann went on to explain how their students are gaining experience early unlike a typical four-year university where students won’t take serious roles like this until they are upper division or graduate students.

McFann and Head of Acting and Performance Bill McGuire initially pick the shows and have the final say. However, input from directors, staff and students influence the shows heavily.

“We do shows to recruit students. Shows that students want to do. We base the productions on shows that are accessible to the students, that they can do well, understand and learn something from,” McFann said. “We want shows where students can go, ‘Oh, we want to go to Saddleback and learn how to do that stuff from those people.’”

If you are interested in knowing more about the plays, ticket prices, show dates, playwrights, or the staff at Saddleback College, visit http://www.saddleback.edu/arts/theatre or http://www.saddleback.edu/fa/vocal-music

Story by Cole Winterstein / Lariat

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