The 2018-19 academic year is just underway at Clark State Community College, but the Theatre Arts program is in full-swing. This year’s productions include Cat on a Hot Tin Roof and The Lion in Winter.
The fall 2018 show, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof was written by renowned American playwright Tennessee Williams. The spring 2019 show, The Lion in Winter is a family drama set in 1183 at the court of Henry II and was written by James Goldman.
“Both directors and I had many brainstorming sessions,” said Theresa Lauricella, associate professor of theatre and program coordinator for theatre and music at Clark State. “The main consideration is to provide the students with a wide-range of stories and characters and styles of theatre to explore.”
Cat on a Hot Tin Roof takes place in a plantation house where a family celebrates the 65th birthday of Big Daddy. The mood is somber. Maggie, Big Daddy's daughter-in-law, wants to give him the news that she's finally pregnant by Big Daddy's favorite son, Brick, but Brick won't cooperate in Maggie's plans and prefers to stay in a mild alcoholic haze the entire length of his visit. Maggie also wants to make amends to Brick for an error in judgment. Swarming around Maggie and Brick are their intrusive relatives eager to see Brick tumbled from his position of most-beloved son. By evening's end, Maggie's passion will set things right and Brick's love for his father will retrieve him from his path of destruction.
“Tennessee Williams is famous for his plays The Glass Menagerie and A Streetcar Named Desire which was made into a movie starring Marlon Brando who voiced the now iconic line ‘Stella!’” said Lauricella. “Tennessee, whose biography is about as rich as his plays, drew his stories from real-life experience.”
Lauricella said actors should be prepared for an abundance of vocal work this season. Cat on a Hot Tin Roof is set in Mississippi so actors will be working with a dialect coach.
Auditions for Cat on a Hot Tin Roof will be held at 7 p.m., Tuesday, September 4 in the Turner Studio Theatre of the Clark State Performing Arts Center, 300 South Fountain Avenue. Actors are asked to prepare a one-minute contemporary monologue and are recommended to bring a headshot and resume.
Cat on a Hot Tin Roof requires 15 actors and all roles are available to Clark State students, however the audition is also open to the community. The show will be directed by Kristofer Green, artistic director for SRO Theatre Company and the executive artistic director for Warehouse Theatre both in Columbus.
“Cat on a Hot Tin Roof should be visually appealing since the action takes place in a suite of rooms in a large plantation,” said Lauricella.
The Lion in Winter will be directed by Scott Stoney who is a founding member and resident artist at the Human Race Theatre Company in Dayton and a member Actors' Equity Association. Auditions will be held in January of 2019.
“Having played the role of Henry several years ago, I’m looking forward to directing this production because I really love the dynamic between all the characters,” said Stoney. “Their interaction is very contemporary even though they’re drawn from historical figures. There is much humor in the way they try to one-up each other. The plot is very like a chess game with soap-opera dramatics.”
Cat on a Hot Tin Roof runs November 2-11 and The Lion in Winter runs April 5-14. Both productions will be presented in the Clark State Performing Arts Center Turner Studio Theatre.
The Clark State Theatre Arts program is offered at Clark State's Springfield campus.
Performance majors focus on acting, voice, movement and general education theatre topics like theatre history and script analysis. Performance students will most likely transfer to a university program with a performance focus or may choose a non-technical theatre area of study like playwriting or directing.
Students have the opportunity to perform in theatrical productions each semester in either the Turner Studio Theatre or Kuss Auditorium located in the Clark State Performing Arts Center. Students majoring in Performance must audition for program productions as part of their coursework.