March 29, 2011

2011 SHORTS! Festival

The SHORTS! Festival is a potpourri of short plays, sometimes called 10-minute plays, which is the culminating project of the Advanced Directing 2 class. Six graduate student directors had the opportunity to choose plays and work with actors and student designers to bring their vision to the stage. Faculty Advisor Scott Hayes says “The SHORTS! Project has a great synergy between the graduate directing students and two distinct groups of theatre undergraduate students – student designers and student actors…The directors are in a perfect position to shepherd those younger actors…Both the directors and designers also learn valuable lessons in collaboration, management, budgeting, and deadline planning – all vital components of professional work that are beyond the scope of a traditional classroom experience.”

The directors were given an opportunity to share some of their feelings about the pieces they’ve chosen.

Kristi Meyers, a first year MFA student, is directing The Stronger, by August Strindberg. She says, “The Stronger is an interesting challenge for two actors. One of the characters does all the talking, but what the other character does or doesn't do is so telling that the other character has an amazing revelation. I wanted to work on this piece because it is a maze begging to be explored.”

Diana Coates is a second year MFA, directing Bagel Club. Diana “…chose this particular piece because although it's definitely a fun piece and seemingly light, it deals with people who form an organization with positive goals in mind and allow the little things to get in the way of their original purpose. We have so many examples of this in our society today and Bagel Club is just a little reminder of the consequences of such actions.”

Whitney Rappana is also a second year MFA student. Her piece is called Not Enough Rope. Whitney says, “I chose this piece because of the wonderful, ironic humor. It has a nice balance between a serious issue, while still making people laugh.”

Also directing a comic piece is Jeff Fazakerley, a second year MFA. His piece, Mustache and a Mattress “ a delightful short comedy about a man with a mustache who needs to sell a mattress and a girl that needs a mattress who’s obsessed with mustaches. Through a lot miscommunication and sexual innuendo, we see two delightful people’s lives changed in your run-of-the-mill ghetto mattress store, but not before we’ve had a few laughs in the process.”

Second year MFA Mike Salsbury moves in a more serious direction with Foul Territory. He explains, “God makes man responsible for his choices: if we flee our responsibility for those choices, we are left with hopelessness and despair. Foul Territory is a quirky, fun little show has a very serious point to make in its humor, which is why I chose it as my selection for Shorts!...I hope the audience comes away embracing the validity of hope over any sort of fatalistic understanding of life. If nothing else, I hope these ten minutes inspire dialogue and discussion about its underlying ideas.”

AJ Lease is another first year MFA student. He chose to direct The Best Daddy “… because Shel Silverstein was one of my favorite authors when I was a little boy. I rediscovered his work this year and saw that he also had written some one-act plays. After I read the show… I was hooked again and wanted to get the audience back in touch with their inner child.”

Come out and see some innovative and creative work, and support our student directors, actors and designers!

SHORTS! Will be performed in Theater 128

April 1st and 2nd at 8:00 pm

April 2nd and 3rd at 3:00pm

April 7th, 8th and 9th at 8:00pm

April 9th and 10th at 3:00 pm

Tickets are $7.00, general admission. To reserve your seat, call the Box Office at (757) 352-4245

NOTE: Mike Burnett also serves as Faculty Advisor for the undergraduate designers

March 11, 2011

Greek Classic Comes to Stage

Zachary Bortot as Jason and
Tabitha Ray Strong as Medea

By Rachel Judy

The story of Medea has been told over and over again for hundreds of years. Considered the classic tale of a woman scorned, Medea tells the story of a woman's revenge when her husband leaves her for another woman. Out of pain, anguish, and hatred, she goes on a rampage to destroy everything dear to her husband, including her own children.

The classic Greek tragedy comes to the Regent University stage March 11-13 and 17-20.

Regent's production seeks to combine traditional "Greek Style" of play acting with a more modern interpretation. "This story is told in a highly theatrical way," explained Derek Martin, director of Medea and an instructor in the School of Communication & the Arts. "There is dance, quarterstaff fights and intense character physicality that have all contributed to a highly stylized, movement-oriented type of storytelling."

As Martin also notes, the story goes from one emotional extreme to another as audiences follow Medea's transformation from a loving wife and mother to a woman capable of harming her children. "How can a human being flip to such extremes? This is one of the questions our unique production explores," Martin said.

"This is a tale about a wife who has been betrayed by her husband. Because of his actions, Medea gets plunged into a downward spiral of sin and hate, and she ends up doing the unthinkable," Martin continues. "The theme I chose for this production is how the death of the sacred is the birth of the profane. This statement begs the questions, 'What are the consequences of breaking a sacred oath or vow?' and, 'What is the responsibility man takes for even the simplest of his actions?'"

The Medea cast features a number of graduate and undergraduate theatre students. Tickets may be purchased through the Regent University Box Office.

March 9, 2011

MEDEA opens March 11th

Medea is a force to be reckoned with as she rises from the ashes of a broken marriage. As declared by the Los Angeles Times, this Greek tragedy "taps into primal emotions that frighten and fascinate." It is the classic tale of a woman scorned.
STUDIO THEATRE performances are:
March 11 & 12 and 17-19 at 8pm
March 12 & 13 and 19 & 20 at 3pm

To purchase tickets, call 352.4245 or visit the Box Office during office hours, Monday-Friday from 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. For further information or to purchase tickets online, visit us at

Derek Martin
Here are some thoughts from Derek Martin, Director of Medea...

You are about to embark on a journey that was first performed almost 2,500 years ago. The Greeks believed that their tragedies were put forward in order to better the human experience; that through catharsis, a person would identify with the plight of the protagonist and therefore change his or her own ways so that he or she wouldn’t fall victim to the same iniquity.
Medea is considered the classic tale of a woman scorned. Her husband Jason (of Jason and the Argonauts) leaves her and their children to marry the daughter of the king in order to provide his family with position so that they will want for nothing. Medea, out of pain, anguish, hatred and revenge, goes on a rampage to destroy everything dear to Jason. Finally, she trespasses on the vilest immorality by killing her own children.

As a Christian I was left to ponder the justification of the action, and I found myself bankrupt for an answer. But as I looked deeper, I realized this story presents serious and important moral quandaries: “What are the responsibilities of our own actions, even the most seemingly harmless?” “What are the consequences of destroying the sacred ?”

These questions lead us to my central theme, “The death of the sacred is the birth of the profane.” We can see that Jason’s act of breaking the sacrament of marriage plants a seed of destruction deep within Medea.  She allows pride, hatred and evil to squelch the love in her heart and, ultimately, the consequence of his actions drive her past madness into an almost demonic possession in which she destroys the very things she holds most dear.

We don’t agree with her choices; we abhor them in the realization that she is acting in pure evil. However, we must turn the story around on ourselves and ask if we are quite sure that our actions are truthful and pure at all times. The Bible reminds us, “There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death” (Proverbs 14:12 and 16:25). This verse shows us we must be on guard and take responsibility for our actions and words. Furthermore, it is a sober reminder that we are not the highest authority of what is good. The story of Medea illustrates the wreckage left by unatoned sin.

Below is a history of Jason and Medea—the myth from which Euripides pulled this excellent piece of tragic work. Please ponder the themes in this piece. May the difficult things presented in art change us and teach us so that we will not make the same mistakes.

The Myth of Medea

Medea was one of the great sorceresses of the ancient world. She was the daughter of King Aeetes of Colchis and the granddaughter of Helios, the sun god. Jason and the Argonauts were sent to Colchis by his uncle Pelias to obtain King Aeetes’ most valuable treasure, the Golden Fleece. Medea loved Jason and used her magic to help him obtain the Fleece through a series of almost impossible tasks. In return, Jason promised to marry Medea.

Jason fled in the Argo with Medea and her brother, Absyrtis. King Aeetes pursued them. To delay the pursuit, Medea cut Absyrtis into tiny pieces and threw him into the sea. King Aeetes stopped the pursuit in order to gather up pieces of his son for proper burial.

When they arrived back in Iolcus, Pelias would not give up his throne to Jason, even after promising he would if Jason obtained the Fleece. Medea had Pelias’ daughters cut their ill father up into pieces and boil him in a broth. Medea told them that this would heal their sick parent. Jason and Medea fled to Corinth where they had two sons. There, King Creon offered Jason the throne and his daughter Glauce’s hand in marriage. Jason accepted, and Medea got revenge for Jason’s abandonment by killing the king and his daughter with poisoned garments. Medea fled Corinth in her grandfather Helios’ dragon-pulled chariot, taking the bodies of her two sons, whom she murdered to cause Jason further pain.

She took refuge with Aegeus, King of Athens, and bore him a son named Medus. When Theseus, Aegeus’ long-lost son returned, Medea tried to trick Aegeus into poisoning him to secure the throne for Medus. Unsuccessful, Medea fled with Medus from Athens to another land where Medus became king and that land was later called Media.

Source referenced: "Medea." Encyclopedia Mythica from Encyclopedia Mythica Online