The Drama Association Does It Again

On November 4 and 5, after months of hard work, the Drama Association performed Antigone in the Latorette Library Auditorium.

In the fall of 2009, a group of students led by junior Henry Delaplane participated in what would become the Drama Association. It began as a club, but has since grown into an association and continues to grow. A Midsummer Night’s Dream, their first big production, was performed last fall and was a huge success. This year, they took on a new challenge by moving away from comedy and performing their first tragedy.

Antigone by Jean Anouilh is a tragedy inspired by greek mythology and the original play, Antigone by Sophocles. This play was first published in 1943, during the period when the Nazis occupied France. The character of Antigone took on the role of the French Resistance and Creon took on the role of the Vichy Government, symbolizing the power struggle in France at the time.

Max Belz, the Drama Association advisor, worked with Delaplane, the director, and Shelli Cammenga, stage manager, to chose this piece because it provided the Association with a new challenge and an opportunity to mature the quality of the production in all areas.

In early September, auditions were held for the play. Later, the Drama Association welcomed Bryan Crossan and Amy Knutson to campus for a three session workshop on acting. The workshop was very helpful to the cast members as it taught them how to develop their characters, all in preparation for the performance. “The students were very receptive to the new concepts and I could tell they were starting to put the pieces together,” Crossan said.

Junior Krista Redman appreciated Bryan Crossan’s focus on expressing genuine emotion onstage. “He taught us to relate our own emotions in real life to our character’s emotions.”

After the workshops, cast and producers alike started working hard on the play. Cast members began rehearsing twice a week and had individual sessions with the director. “It is always a blessing to work with so many talented people, and this being our third year together, we all know how to work as a team,” Delaplane expressed.

Cammenga worked hard with the costume and makeup teams. This year the DA received special help. Mrs. Beveridge, who runs a costume shop, opened her shop and offered the DA to use any costumes free of charge. Cammenga, with the assistance of Resident Director, Courtney Withington, researched the time period and came up with fitting costumes for the play. “It was a lot of work trying to find the costumes to match the period, researching, making sketches, looking online, and going to stores. It was quite a process, but very exciting and, in the end, rewarding” Cammenga said.

Sarah Fleeman, make-up supervisor, worked hard this semester. One step she took this semester to make the process easier and better was to teach the cast to do their own foundation. To do this, she and junior Libby Barnard offered a makeup workshop with all the cast members. The costume and makeup departments received many complements for their work.

Actress Evelyn Vane, who played the leading character, Antigone, reflected about her experience. “I learned from the strength and passion found in Antigone. I was challenge both by the different tensions found throughout the play and the complexity about who was suppose to pull sympathy from the crown.” Both Evelyn and fellow actor Bryan Punter, who portrayed Creon, worked hard on their characters and developed a close connection to them.

The overall response to the play was very good. Not only did many people attend both performances, but professors and students had long discussions about the meaning of the play and its symbolism. Delaplane spoke about the Association and production by saying, “My goal with the DA  is to encourages students to use their God given gifts in theater and art while working to put together a production. It’s value lies in that students can express their creativity, and it succeeds when students can leave a production with a love and appreciation for theater and art. I believe we accomplished that this year.”

The management team for the Drama Association is already discussing how to improve and grow in upcoming projects. For next spring, they are thinking about producing a theater festival and combining it with the variety show that was previously run by the student senate, but will be taken over by the DA.