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Taking "Oedipus Rex" to Festival

February 2011

December 12 was a day that sparked excitement in the lives of the St. Ambrose Theatre Department, when Oedipus Rex, a new ensemble creation directed by Daniel Rairdin-Hale '04, was chosen to perform at the American College Theatre Festival in Ames. It was selected out of shows from six states and was one of five productions to performed at the festival. Once the play was chosen, the cast and crew of the show felt very pleased their work was good enough to be selected to compete at a higher level, but it was also the start of an extremely chaotic month.

Oedipus was originally performed in April of 2010, and though a few rehearsals were held after closing to keep the show fresh in the brains of the actors, they still had a lot of work to do to reconstruct and perform the show again. Schedules were set for actors to start rehearsing the show many times to ensure lines were fresh in their minds and their bodies were strong enough for the physical endurance the show requires. The crew, with assistance of the cast, needed to practice loading the set in and out and being able to remount it on unfamiliar stages. Crews were formed for lights, sound, set construction and set dressing.

Right after the start of the New Year, many students returned early to campus to practice, practice, practice. The show was in good condition and worthy of an audience, so benefit performances were held to raise funds and to give the ensemble more experience performing in front of an audience. Friday, Jan. 7, a performance was held on the familiar Ambrose main stage. Sunday the ninth however, the show took a little trip to the Pleasant Valley High School stage in Bettendorf, Iowa, to get the real feel of taking this show to a different area. Both shows brought in audiences made up of supportive family, friends and local theatre-goers. Many of the audience members were awestruck at the amount of talent in this small ensemble and found the show itself very original and entertaining.

On Wednesday, January 19th, Oedipus performed at KCACTF on the Iowa State University campus in Ames, Iowa; they held two shows which were both well-attended. The next day there was a workshop involving the cast and crew of the show. It was a panel discussion that let audience members ask questions about the process of the show. The show received positive feedback and the actors are glad they got the chance to perform their work of art again. It is something people deserved to see, and the dedication from everyone involved is really appreciated and applauded.

Although the production was not selected to travel to the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., just having been chosen to perform at our region's American College Theatre Festival is a huge honor, and Ambrose has a lot to be proud of!


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