Theatre major Jenilyn Saul, a junior from Louisiana, working with Kids Kollege on the Rose E. McCoy Stage. The project is a semester long joint collaboration between the Dept. of Speech & Theatre and Kids Kollege. At the end of the year, students will present a performance.
September 18th, 2014 by speech
September 15th, 2014 by speech
September 9th, 2014 by speech
Professor Prince Duren’s play, “Like Fine Wine”, will be one of the plays performed at a fundraiser for the Corbin Senior Centre in Spokane Washington on November 1st.
August 24th, 2014 by speech
Auditions for the JSU Production of "Like Fine Wine" will be held Wednesday, August 27th at 6pm at the Rose McCoy Auditorium P. Studio, Room 117. There will be cold readings, so there is no need to bring a monologue. Please come early to fill out audition forms.
Synopsis of the play:
"Like Fine Wine" is a story about dreams that never die. Caleb "Sax" Sanders, a blue collar cab driver from Memphis, was once on the brink of breaking into the business as a famous jazz musician. Like threw him a curveball and he was forced to put his dreams on hold. An old friend visits him on his 50th birthday and sees a once renown musician a shell of his former self. Is it too late for Caleb to pursue his once deferred dream? Or will be he content with memories and what-ifs? Like Fine Wine, dreams only get better with time.
February 22nd, 2014 by speech
JACKSON—New Stage Theatre asks soul searching questions about family, faith, ethics, and personal freedom with Matthew Lopez’s award winning play The Whipping Man. Can loyalty and freedom coexist? A Jewish Confederate soldier and two of his former slaves are left to observe Passover together in the wake of the Civil War, prompting the challenging examination and reconciliation of the past while revealing the fear and uncertainty of venturing into a new future. Currently one of the top five plays produced throughout the country, the New York Times hailed The Whipping Man as “haunting, striking, and powerful.” Artistic Director, Francine Thomas Reynolds directs this historical drama, which runs February 25 – March 9, 2014. Preview night is Tuesday, February 25 at 7:30 p.m. Curtain times and dates for all other performances are Wednesdays through Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. and 2:00 p.m. on Sundays.
The Whipping Man is sponsored by the Mississippi Arts Commission and The Real Yellow Pages.
“Matthew Lopez’s drama is a great piece of storytelling with interesting history, excitement, passion and suspense,” said Director Francine Thomas Reynolds. “I am drawn to the play’s strong subject matters. You can’t make things like slavery, Civil War medicine and betrayal particularly easy to watch, but because The Whipping Man bridges different cultures, it is the type of production that has the power to do more than just entertain. It has the power to incite public discourse and transformation.”
The cast features three veterans of New Stage. Brian Maxsween plays Caleb, an injured Confederate soldier returning home, only to be confronted with devastation and loss. In addition to being seen in last season’s The Great Gatsby at New Stage, Maxsween has appeared in the National Tours of The Wizard of Oz and Pinkalicious!, and in the World Premiere of Lisa Loeb's musical Camp Kappawanna. In the role of Simone, the former slave who clings to an inherited faith and the hope that his own family will be reunited, is New Stage favorite Jay Unger. Unger has been seen in many New Stage productions including A Christmas Carol and Driving Miss Daisy. He has worked in television and films including Huckleberry Finn and O’ Brother, Where Art Thou?, and his voice can be heard in many commercials and voiceovers. Completing the trio is Yohance Myles as John, also a former slave, now torn between the opportunities and responsibilities of his new-found freedom. Myles is currently a professor at Jackson State University and has recently completed a series of film and television projects which include, The Host, This is the End, Common Law, and Treme. Unger and Myles appear through the courtesy of Actors’ Equity Association.
An Actor Chat is immediately following the performances on Wednesday, February 25 and Wednesday, March 5.
The Whipping Man performances are February 25 – March 9, 2014. Ticket prices are $28.00 with discounts available for students, senior citizens and groups. Student Rush tickets are also available one hour prior to each performance for $10 with valid student identification. Tickets can be purchased at the box office, charged by phone by calling the theatre at (601) 948-3531 or ordered online at www.newstagetheatre.com. The theatre is located in the Jane Reid Petty Theatre Center at 1100 Carlisle Street in the Belhaven neighborhood.
February 22nd, 2014 by speech
Mr. McCroom, our department's Technical Director and Set & Lighting Design instructor, recently did the lighting design for a New York production of "The Whipping Man". Here is part of the review of that production, highlighting the design team, including Mr McCroom:
"Scenic Designer William Bloodgood had his work cut out for him, considering that the entire action of the play takes place in the ruined foyer of an antebellum-style mansion in Richmond. We see the crumbling grand staircase, the partially caved in roof and broken windows. The once formal chairs have been disassembled for firewood; the once beautiful china is now chipped; the crystal chandelier is gone — all symbols of the destruction that war has wreaked on this place (and by extension the people and culture that once inhabited it). Bloodgood has done an incredible job of crafting the production’s visual details to evoke the proper sense of place and a time. The incessant rain that falls through the broken roof and which can be seen and heard through the windows during the play is masterfully done.
Since the majority of the story takes place at night, Lighting Designer Darren McCroom had to find a way to evoke the soft, flickering nature of candlelight. Indeed, lighting (which when done right should be virtually unnoticed by the audience) plays an essential part in forging the emotional backdrop to any play. McCroom succeeded admirably in creating such an atmosphere for these actors, enabling their characters to blossom. The same can be said for the work of Costume Designer Gretchen Darrow-Crotty and Composer Michael Keck."
January 28th, 2014 by speech
The students nominated, from JSU's production of "Ruined" are:
Dylan Fleming (Acting), Tierra Williams (Acting), JacQuela Carter-Hulitt (Set Design), Quintavious Phillips (Stage Management), Paul McInnis (Student Directing Intern)
Director Dr. Nadia Bodie-Smith is very proud of their accomplishments and is looking forward to the competition.
The students will not only compete, but also attend workshops and audition for graduate schools and professional companies.
January 28th, 2014 by speech
November 3rd, 2013 by speech
The past four weeks have been a busy time for the cast and production team of "Ruined" in the Dept of Speech and Theatre. "This play is based on real events happening in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. We have worked tirelessly to bring this story to life, and feel ourselves honored to do so" says director Dr. Nadia Bodie-Smith.
From Lynn Notage, the Pulitzer Prize-winning "Ruined" is a haunting, probing work about the resilience of the human spirit during times of war. Set in a small mining town in Democratic Republic of Congo, this powerful play follows Mama Nadi, a shrewd businesswoman in a land torn apart by civil war. But is Mama Nadia protecting or profiting by the women she shelters? How far will she go to survive? Can a price be placed on a human life?
The department and cast want to do more than just stage the story, so they are hosting a Congo-based non-profit organization, Rudi International, that focuses on educating Congolese children. These efforts they hope will minimize the violence and brutality in the region. Representatives from the organization will be at each performance.
Director Dr. Bodie-Smith adds, "We want audiences to come and have a good time. The actors dance, sing, fight, and push the boundaries of our western sensibilities. Ruined truly is a tremendous, touching production with the laughter of survival and the cry for hope. "
Ruined runs Nov 7-11, 2013 at the Rose McCoy Auditorium on the JSU campus.
April 4th, 2013 by speech
Three JSU students and a faculty member recently attended the annual conference and expo of the United States Institute for Theatre Technology (USITT). The students who journeyed to Milwaukee were Brodrick Whittley, senior theatre minor, Marquez Williams, senior theatre minor, and Jenilyn Saul, sophomore theatre major. They were accompanied by Patrick Benton, visiting assistant professor and interim technical director.
The conference featured dozens of meetings for every specialty skill in the industry. Whether in a classroom setting or at an evening social, the JSU delegation along with 5,000 other industry experts, educators, students and vendors found a forum to discuss pressing issues, learn solutions and network for the future. Some of the sessions that JSU representatives attended included: Stage Management Roundtable, People of Color Networking Project, Hands-On Makeup and Hair, Award Winning Sustainability in Scenic Design, and The Reality of Designing in New York.
The stage expo boasted the largest theatre-focused trade show floor in America. More than 200 companies presented the latest innovations in theatre technology and design from all over the world. The JSU students who attended were able to interview with potential employers such as Disney and Cirque du Soleil. They also had the opportunity to meet with representatives of advanced training programs such as the Savannah College of Art and Design, Yale School of Drama and the Stagecraft Institute of Las Vegas.
The 2013 conference marked the first time JSU was represented at USITT. The expression which was most frequently used to describe the experience was “Wow!” The students also expressed their deep gratitude to Dr. Mark Henderson, interim chair for Speech and Theatre, Dr. Lawrence Potter, dean of the College of Liberal Arts, and the entire JSU administration who helped make their trip possible.
The JSU Department of Speech Communication and Theatre hopes to show even more students the myriad options available to them at the next USITT conference and expo which will take place March 26-29, 2014 in Fort Worth, TX.