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Students take the lead in Festival of Ten

by Katherine Fernandez - Copy Editor
Tue, Mar 5th 2019 10:00 pm

The 11th biennial Festival of Ten premiered on Friday, March 1 and received a roaring applause at curtain call. With a cast comprised of 23 actors, 10 directors, six stage managers, six costume designers and 10 playwrights, the festival showcased the endless flow of talent coming from The College at Brockport’s students and faculty. 

The festival runs on the creative minds of students across all majors and years, contributing to every aspect of production. Costumes for nine of 10 shows were created by students in theater professor Gail Argetsinger’s costume design class. Senior Gideon Galley created costumes for three shows as part of his senior project, proving he is well-versed in design.

One of his favorite pieces to work on was the set of costumes for “And Then There Were None,” a play in which three phone apps are scared of getting deleted. Those costumes have a lighting apparatus that signifies what app they are representing and a switch that allows the students wearing them to manipulate the lights. 

“This is my first time and I was really worried about how they would turn out but they’re working perfectly and they look really cool,” Galley said. “It was my favorite set of costumes to make. I’m proud of how they came out.”

Actors Luke Dempster and Charlie McGrath play Adam and Steve, respectively, in “The Morning After The Fall.” They have thrown themselves fully into their roles, relishing the opportunity to grace the stage once again.

“I thought it was really interesting getting to work with a lot of directors and casts and see all the different directions the directors take the show in and how we all cooperate together,” McGrath said.

The pair chose to forgo the pre-show jitters, focused primarily on the thrill of performing.

“I don’t really get stage fright any more,” Dempster said. “I might start to feel little jitters once everything is together but that’s mostly from excitement.” 

Make no mistake, students do not have to be majoring or minoring in art or theatre to get involved in the production process. Catherine Gilman is majoring in psychology and chose to participate in the Festival of Ten to honor her childhood passion.

“I chose psychology as the right career path for me, but I love being in theatre,” Gilman said. “The Festival of Ten is one of the easier ways to get into a theater production because they have such a large cast and the shows are only ten minutes so it’s not a huge commitment.” 

Theater professor Ruth Childs, who directed the final play of the festival titled “Present Tense,” emphasized that the theater productions are the epitome of inclusive, casting students from all walks of life.

“We’re very open door, we’ll cast whoever is right for the role,” Childs said. “A lot of people are not theatre majors but are a part of our theatre family.”

If you missed the premiere weekend, you can attend the March 8 or March 9 showings that mark the beginning of the playwright symposium. 

For the symposium this year, seven of the 10 playwrights are scheduled to attend the performance to “network, share insights with the cast of their plays,” and host a question and answer session with the audience. The plays in the festival cover a wide range of topics such as domestic violence, suicidal thoughts and gender equality in the workplace, to name a few.

The show is to continue this weekend, Thursday, March 7 and will continue until Saturday, March 9. Tickets will be available online at fineartstix.brockport.edu or in the box office of Tower Fine Arts.

kfern1@brockport.edu