California Lutheran University's Student Newspaper Since 1961

The Echo

California Lutheran University's Student Newspaper Since 1961

The Echo

California Lutheran University's Student Newspaper Since 1961

The Echo

    Theater Students Headed to ACTF

    Twenty-one California Lutheran University students will travel to The Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival in Utah from Feb. 10 to Feb. 14 to compete and participate in events and workshops held there.

    ACTF is a national theater festival that occurs around the United States and then hosts its finals at the John F.  Kennedy Center for Performing Arts in Washington D.C., providing students with workshops, shows, audition opportunities and more.

    “The festival is pretty intense. It usually has about seven to eight full productions. There are probably 40 to 50 workshops that happen during the week,” said Michael Arndt, a theater professor at Cal Lutheran who has been to ACTF multiple times.

    These workshops can range from musical theater to stage combat, providing students with lessons in varying aspects of theater.

    “I’ve heard a couple of people say the workshops are just really helpful and amazing,” said freshman theater student Kyle Poppert. “It’s a semester’s worth of learning in one week.”

    Beyond the workshops students are invited to see shows performed there as well as 10-minute plays and the Irene Ryan Acting Scholarship competition.

    According to Arndt, Cal Lutheran has been taking students and productions to the festival since 1984. A total of five full productions have been taken to ACTF since Cal Lutheran started participating. This year, four students have been nominated to participate in the competition, three as actors and one as a stage manager. 

    Acting competitors prepare two scenes and a monologue to perform as they make their way through the competition with the end goal of flying out to Washington D.C. to compete.

    “I will be performing a scene from ‘Kingdom of Earth’ by Tennessee Williams, a scene from ‘Behanding in Spokane’ by Martin McDonagh,” said Seta Wainiqolo, one of Cal Lutheran’s nominated students in an email interview. “I picked these pieces because I had worked on them during my Advanced Scene Study class at CLU.”

    The pool starts out with 400 competitors and is eventually narrowed down to two finalists for the entire region through several rounds of performing scenes and monologues.

    Students from Cal Lutheran have made it to the finals in years past giving them the chance to compete with students from much larger schools.

    “We put ourselves up against UCs and CSUs and so we’re all on the same plane,” Arndt said. “When you think about it, it’s playing Division I football but playing with a Division III team.”

    Cal Lutheran students appreciate the chance to see new performances and meet students from a variety of schools. This gives them greater experience in the theater world and exposure to workshops and opportunities they would not otherwise have.

    “This is a way for me to see how I stack up against people in reality and my region nationally. You know, how far can I get,” said John Marino, another nominated student from Cal Lutheran. “It’ll push me in a lot of ways and it’ll give me a reality check in a lot of ways.”

    The intensity of the festival along with all the opportunities it provides give students an unforgettable experience.

    “We always found that they always come back filled with ideas, plus they’re very proud of what we do here at Cal Lutheran,” Arndt said.

    Allie Leslie
    Senior Writer
    Published February 11, 2015