By: Michael Bruckler, St. Mary’s College of Maryland
St. Mary’s City, MD- Several students and faculty of the Theater, Film, and Media Studies department (TFMS) at St. Mary’s College of Maryland represented the College at the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival (KCATCF) region II, January 14-18 at the University of Maryland, College Park.
KCATCF, a national theater program, awarded two certificates of merit to the TFMS fall production of Macbeth. Assistant Professor of Scenography Leah Mazur and Assistant Professor of Theater Amy Steiger received one for product concept and execution, and visiting fight choreographer Mallory Shear, received one for fight choreography.
Additionally, four students, Jeremiah Pearl ’21, Joan Devonish ’22, Jeanette Warren ’20, and Nadia Gaylin ’22 were selected to audition for prestigious Irene Ryan scholarships during the festival for their work on Macbeth and last spring’s production of “Humanizing Histories: Seven Short Plays about Resistance,” a festival of 10-minute student-written performance pieces.
According to the Kennedy Center’s website, the Irene Ryan acting scholarships provide recognition, honor, and financial assistance to outstanding student performers wishing to pursue further education.
Warren and Gaylin were nominated for their roles of Macbeth and Lady Macbeth. They auditioned with their scene partners, Sarah Butters ’20 and McKenna Johnson ’20. Warren and scene partner Butters, was among 32 pairs to advance to the semi-finals.
“While I did not advance to the final round, it was an honor to represent St. Mary’s College of Maryland as an Irene Ryan semifinalist,” Warren said.
Warren added that the festival was a great experience. “I connected with several [Master of Fine Arts] acting programs at the ‘Next Steps’ professional auditions and got good feedback on my resume and audition monologues,” she said.
Pearl and Devonish were nominated by the respondent for “Humanizing Histories: Seven Short Plays About Resistance.” They auditioned with their scene partners, Blake Johnson ’21 and Dominique Davenport ’21.
Davenport said while she is not a theater major she had a rewarding experience. “I learned so much more about ‘cold reads,’ different production techniques, and I got to watch some amazing actors in their craft,” she said.
“It was amazing to see the graduate programs and opportunities for actors at this level,” she said.
The region II festival also included presentations, workshops, and opportunities for student professional development.
Steiger and Mazur both taught workshops at the festival and participated in a college fair. Steiger said they hoped to attract students interested in transferring to the TFMS program from two-year colleges in the region.
Steiger said she and her colleagues were excited to raise the visibility of TFMS at St. Mary’s College in the surrounding region.
“Our students do some really wonderful work and are committed and passionate. It seems important to have their work be seen and recognized in the region outside of St. Mary’s County and for people to know what we’re up to here,” she said.