September 8, 2010

Regent Featured in Southern Theatre Magazine!

Regent University’s Theatre program was recently featured on the cover of Southern Theatre magazine! 2010 MFA graduate Rob Arbaugh is pictured in his role as "Orlando" from last fall’s production of As You Like It, directed by Scott Hayes. The article by Deanna Thompson, editor of Southern Theatre, is called “Social Media Onstage: Romeo and Juliet Are on Facebook, Orlando Sends Tweets”.

Rob Arbaugh as "Orlando"
Highlighting the current trend of incorporating social media onstage, the article explores the relationship between play production and marketing. Quoting Scott Hayes, it explains how after hearing about a church which sent text messages of Bible verses during a sermon, he “immediately thought of the potential for theatre – using Twitter, ‘footnotes’ could be sent directly to the viewer in real time.” He adds, “We didn’t change Shakespeare’s verse, language or structure, but in addition to Twitter, we incorporated contemporary music, live video, Guitar Hero and other 21st century communication tools.” To read the whole article, click on the link to Southern Theatre magazine, below.

Summer C.A.M.P.'s The Wiz
Regent’s Summer C.A.M.P. production of The Wiz, directed by 2010 MFA graduate Ryan Clemens, continued the trend of incorporating social media and contemporary technological elements in production. In this high-tech production, Dorothy used a GPS to navigate through Oz, her Facebook page was displayed on a projection screen and the “iPoz” dancers welcomed her into the Emerald City. Quoting from Ryan’s director’s notes, “In our modern world – our multicultural, mixed-media, global community – teens find refuge in technology. Really, Dorothy wouldn’t require a cyclone to whisk her away. She could simply open her laptop, switch on her cell phone, or plug into her iPod to escape. With this ‘modern’ reality in mind, I looked for fun ways to update The Wiz for a contemporary Dorothy, keeping the show’s funky, soulful flavor while easing Oz into our digital age.”

Regent Theatre continues to rise to the challenge of presenting relevant material to both traditional and more contemporary audiences. Returning to Scott Hayes’ concept of As You Like It, he explains, "The play is about transformation. Characters are forced to change their environments, put on false identities, and their ideas are transformed into noble actions. I hope our 'transforming' of the play into a contemporary setting makes clear the timeless nature of our message."

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