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Theatre Arts Students Take to the Stage During the Summer Break

By Kristin Sterling

"15 Minutes," the work of four Columbia students, is being produced at the Edinburgh Film Festival in Scotland.

Many Columbia students take advantage of the summer break to gain professional experiences to supplement their studies. Theatre arts students are no exception. Dozens of students can be found acting, directing, producing or having a play they wrote produced in festivals and theatres in cities throughout the United States and around the globe.

  • This summer's Edinburgh Fringe Festival is featuring the collaborative work of four theatre arts students: director Hansol Yoon, playwright Bathsheba Doran, lead actress Laura Nupponen and dramaturg Sadie Foster. The group is travelling to Scotland with their play "Fifteen Minutes," which runs from July 31 through August 25. "Fifteen Minutes" takes a brutally honest look at the generation approaching adulthood, leaving the viewer to wonder how they will make it to their 30s.

  • Here in New York, theatre management and producing student Adam Miller is participating in the sixth annual New York International Fringe Festival. Miller is producing Columbia alumnus Herman Daniel Farrell III's "Portrait of a President," a fictional tale set in the White House in the last year of the Clinton Administration. Four American artists (a soccer mom from Cincinnati, a lesbian from Woodstock, an African-American from Memphis and a Vietnamese-American from Los Angeles) tour the Executive Mansion and peruse the portraits of the Presidents, hoping to be the one chosen to paint the official portrait of the 42nd President. Miller feels the play challenges our notions of this vibrant and controversial leader.

    "Portrait of a President" will be featured at the Theatre for the New City - Cabaret Theatre on August 10, 11, 14, 16 and 25. The New York International Fringe Festival features 195 productions from around the world, at venues in Manhattan's Lower East Side and East Village.

  • Also in New York, theatre management students Karina Miller and Adam Hess are presenting "Cheap, Funny and Air Conditioned," a selection of humorous short plays about love and relationships.

    "For the summer I felt like getting back to my directing roots," says Miller. "The playwrights that will be showcased in the show are all writers who I work with as a director and a producer. These three nights are a chance for us to have some fun in the summer and produce/direct some pieces that are hilarious and entertaining -- good fun for the summer. It's also been great to be able to fuse our artistic background with the business knowledge that we acquired at Columbia."

    "Cheap, Funny and Air Conditioned" will be performed at the DR2 Theatre on E. 15th Street July 25-27. For reservations call 212-505-0858, ext. #3.

    Throughout the month of August, Miller's company, Common Factor, will produce new plays at Manhattan Theatre Source, in association with the theatre company The Defiant Ones. Miller will direct the two mainstage productions, "The Penis Papers" by Joshua James and "Black Thang" by Ato Assandoh.

  • As Miller and Hess wrap up at the DR2, third-year acting student Oliver Henzler will direct his first play, Jean-Paul Sartre's "No Exit." The play will be performed in the Horace Mann Theatre at Teachers College (W. 120th and Broadway), July 31 through August 3. For reservations, call 917-882-1392.

  • Across the country second-year playwright Malachy Walsh's "Smaller" will be produced in NOH Space in San Francisco, August 8-25. Set in the spring of 2001, "Smaller" looks at how small life can get inside "cubicle city." With the economy declining, collaborators at an ad-agency must face questions about their relationship -- what has kept them together; can they reconcile their separate ideas of how a relationship should work? According to Walsh, "Smaller" is a metaphorical exploration of the rules of relationships, particularly in the intimacies of work and marriage. For reservations, call 415-705-0929.

    Walsh received the Emerging Playwright Award from the San Francisco laboratory, Playground, for his short play "Iowa" and was published in their "Best of Anthology 1997-2001." His play "22 Fillmore" was showcased at the Atlantic Theatre Company. Last year Walsh was a semi-finalist in the Chesterfield Film Writer's Project.

  • Also working outside New York this summer, third-year acting student Markus Potter is appearing in two world premieres at the Guthrie Theatre in Minneapolis - "The Road that Leads Here," by Lee Blessing, and "The New, New," by Columbia adjunct assistant playwriting professor Kelly Stuart. Performances run through July 28.

    This summer Oliver Henzler will direct his first play, "No Exit."

    Potter is participating in the Guthrie Experience for Actors in Training program, which offers professional theatre experience to 14 advanced actors in training programs around the country. Guest artists from Great Britain's Royal Shakespeare Company and Le Coq International Theatre School of Paris are teaching at the lab.

These are a sampling of the activities that theatre arts students are undertaking this summer. Additional information on the accomplishments of students, faculty and alumni is available on the Theatre News Web site.

Published: Jul 26, 2002
Last modified: Sep 18, 2002

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