The California State University, Dominguez Hills Department of Theatre and Dance was honored with an invitation to perform a scene from the fall 2010 production of “Macbeth” at the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival (KCACTF), which took place Feb. 9 at the Los Angeles Theatre Center in downtown Los Angeles.
The students performed their scene in front of registered festival attendees as part of performances from 10 different colleges and universities from the KCACTF region VIII (Arizona, Central and southern California, Hawaii, southern Nevada, and Utah), including CSU Fullerton and Concordia University.
“The KCACTF regional VIII chair and judicator and a second judicator from Chapman University came to view ‘Macbeth.’ The judicator from Chapman gave feedback to the cast and she had wonderful, positive things to say. She nominated the show for the festival,” said Naomi Buckley (Class of ’00, B.A., theatre arts), the production’s director and a lecturer in the Department of Theatre Arts. “I found out through an email, around the holidays, that the scene had been selected. We were selected with nine other scenes from the 80 shows that were reviewed from the region. We are very honored to have our students recognized in this way.”
The students who originally acted in the selected scene of the CSU Dominguez Hills production returned to portray their roles at the festival.
“We performed the final scene where Macbeth, played by Isaac Skye, is done away with by Macduff, played by Marc Kerr. Lauren Valencia, Paola Carbajal, and Jase Mack also performed — as the three witches,” Buckley said.
Participating with those who share a passion for theatre was a rewarding experience for the actors.
“It was great to interact with students from other schools, seeing what they’re doing, and sharing and learning from them. It was fun seeing all the other productions and the students performing,” theatre major Lauren Valencia said. “No matter where we went, there were tons of theatre people all around. There was a lot of energy and enthusiasm.”
Students nominated from the KCACTF selected scenes were also eligible to vie as individuals in the Irene Ryan Acting Scholarship (Ryan is well known for her portrayal of Granny in the “Beverly Hillbillies”), from which the winners to go on to Washington D.C. where they compete for scholarships. Isaac Syke was nominated and paired up with fellow CSU Dominguez Hills theatre major Benni Latham to perform in this competition.
“My talented partner Benni and I received feedback from two respondents for our scene from the play, ‘Dinner with Friends,’ written by Donald Margulies. They both echoed the sentiments that we chose a great scene and said we had a great connection with each other on stage. Rod Menzies, a well-respected theatre director and acting coach, mentioned our objectives were clear, and individual beats were well-defined,” Skye said.
The students got professional level feedback and a glimpse into a professional house.
“At first the theatre didn’t seem that big, but when we got downstairs, it was huge. It was a maze of several theatres and dressing rooms,” Valencia said. “I snuck a peek from the wings at two people introducing the show. They said they had planned the night to showcase talent in the region. Then the scenes just kept going, one right after the other. Some were full on productions — full plays, elaborately set up.”
Participating in the KCACTF made an impression on the student actors.
“I plan to act in front of the camera, but the more I do live theatre, the more I like live theatre. I have a new found love for the theatre. In fact, I’m going to see ‘Spring Awakening‘ at the Pantages…tonight!,” Valencia said.
This is the third KCACTF honor for the CSU Dominguez Hills theatre department.
In 1993, “Home,” written by Samm-Art Williams and directed by alumna Marla Gam-Hudson, (class of ’91, B.A., theatre arts), was the first. In 1997, “Six Degrees of Separation,” written by John Guare and directed by Sydell Weiner, professor and current chair of the theatre department, was the second.
This is the second time Buckley has been associated with a KCACTF honor. In addition to directing “Macbeth,” she was a cast member in “Six Degrees of Separation.”
The Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival is a national organization that celebrates the educational and creative process of university and college theatre. KCACTF promotes professional standards and provides students and faculty with opportunities to bridge the academic and professional worlds. KCACTF honors achievements in diversity and excellence in theatre.
To learn more about the CSU Dominguez Hills production of “Macbeth,” click here.
To learn more about the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival, click here.
For more information about the CSU Dominguez Hills Theatre and Dance program, contact the theatre office at (310) 243-3588 or click here.