Cory Johnson, Mike Kennedy, and Dan Rairdin-Hale, all professors in the SAU Theatre Department, participated in summer theatre adventures.
Johnson performed the lead role in "W;t" at the Curtainbox Theatre, Aug. 12-29, her second time playing the role. The show takes a look back at an ovarian cancer patient's last months of life.
"I was both thrilled and scared to be asked to play this role again," she said, as the play takes her to a difficult emotional place. "It's hard to live with this character," Johnson said of her defiant, often cold character, Vivian Bearing.
The play explores the importance of creating a heartfelt communication with others and the significance of meaningful relationships. "It is daunting, but important, to practice what you preach," said Johnson. This experience reminded her of the rigor and discipline that goes into acting, saying that "acting is a commitment, not an opportunity for a social life."
SAU Alums Jessica Sheridan '08, David Bonde '93, Seth Kaltwasser '09, and Allison Costello '05 acted alongside Johnson. Other SAU Theatre students involved included Andrew Benson '11, backstage manager, and Katie McCormack '10, stage manager. "I have the best students in the world," says Johnson, "I worked hard to keep up with their professionalism." She apparently succeeded, receiving numerous rave reviews for her moving performance. The Curtainbox Theatre is owned by SAU alum Kim Kurtenbach Furness. "W;t" ended Aug. 29.
Mike Kennedy performed in Circa '21 Dinner Theatre's production of "Squabbles," the story of an elderly couple who, as one might assume, "squabble." Kennedy plays the role of the wisecracking, old father-in-law, Abe Dreyfus. Kennedy learned about the play in May of 2009 when Denny Hitchcock teased him about needing so much time to memorize his lines. From the time of his offer to the time of the show, Kennedy had 18 months to memorize his lines.
"You know, as you age, it gets harder to memorize," says Kennedy. "It takes a long time for those lines to really lock-in for me." But the easiest part of this show, he said, was working with the talented cast and director. "Circa's a good place to work," he said.
Kimberly Furness '96 plays Kennedy's daughter in the play. As for his favorite moment, Kennedy loves the moment of surprising the audience, which he says happens every night, as a result of good writing and acting well their parts. "There are always individual pieces of lines, or blocking, or interchange with other actors that you love in a show," he said of his experience in the theatre, "There's nothing like the fun of losing yourself with another actor onstage."
Daniel Rairdin-Hale '04, who started his second year as a Theatre professor at SAU, traveled to Blue Lake, Calif., to attend a 4-week theatre intensive at Dell'Arte International. The intensive was a small portion of the institute's year-long program, and this small portion focused on the art of Clown, including acrobatics, vocal work, and in-depth study of Clown.
"It was magic!" says Hale (shown at right) of the experience. "It was good to be a student again."
The most important lesson taken from this acting intensive was the importance of authenticity, not just onstage, but in day-to-day life and relationships.
"The clown is all about resiliency and buoyancy and how to foster these attributes," said Hale. And best of all, "I got to keep the nose."