Theatre students go to festival in Hawaii

California Lutheran University recently took a handful of Theatre Arts students on a trip to Hawaii for the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival. It is an annual program celebrating theatre arts amongst various college and university institutions, where they were able to compete and participate in the many activities the conference offered.

Cal Lutheran participates in this festival every year, and chooses a production to register for the chance to be shown at the festival.

“Each year we do a production and enter it into the festival and the respondents from other universities come and see the productions and then they respond,” Professor Michael Arndt, one of the faculty members that accompanied the students said.

Although the production chosen didn’t get picked to enter, a few actors and the stage manager were chosen to compete in the festival.

Arndt said that his production of “Under Fire,” which was dedicated to veterans, was positively responded to but wasn’t chosen as a production to go into the festival.

“There was a ton of workshops and a lot of invited productions, so we got to see a ton of plays and one we saw was entirely in Hawaiian language,” Annika Dybevik, a student actor who competed in the festival said.

Students also had the chance to visit Pearl Harbor, which tied in nicely with the theme of “Under Fire” since it is a play written about war veterans.

“A lot of the monologues in our production mentioned Pearl Harbor, so that was really cool,” Dybevik said. “We also saw the U.S.S. Arizona that got shot down during the attack.”

“As a  group we went to visit Pearl Harbor which was really special for our students because most of these students that went with us participated in Michael Arndt’s production of Under Fire. They went through military boot camp and they did all of these rigorous training exercises so they were able to go to Pearl Harbor and pay their respects. It was really moving for them,” Noelle Raffy, a costume professor and accompanying faculty member said.

In addition to competing, there were an array of different workshops covering all aspects of theatre.

“We saw a lot of different shows. One that stood out to students I think was called ‘Refried Elvis,’ a musical and there was a lot of dancing, a lot of costumes. It was highly stylized and the audience just loved it,” Raffy said.

Raffy said while attending this conference, another huge opportunity available for students was their chance to network, go on job interviews and make potential connections.

“There was something called ‘Next Step,’ which is where anyone can participate. It’s basically an audition, depending on how many theatre companies or agents there are. You just go in and audition for all of them,” Dybevik said.

Students were also able to partake in some native traditions, such as learning how to hula dance and attend a luau.

“It was nice because at the award ceremony they sort of did the luau. They try to incorporate some of the traditional things, so there was an opening ceremony with a sunrise session, and then there’s a closing ceremony with a luau, so the students got to sort of learn how to do Hawaiian dance and do a little bit of hula,” Raffy said.

Cal Lutheran will be participating and entering another production again next year for the festival, which will be held in Arizona.

Sarin Goncuian
Staff Writer
Published March 2nd, 2016