Theatre program prepares for play:

Actors Kelbi Havins and Lauren Cotton run through a scene during a dress rehearsal for Silent Sky. Photo by Stevi Breshears.

By Carter Hall:

Theater season is upon Amarillo College with a new play entitled, “Silent Sky,” which means students and production crew members are learning new cues, striking the stage and memorizing lines.

Theater students said they are looking forward to putting on their second play of the academic school year and they are busy researching and perfecting their roles.   

They are learning about motivation and techniques for acting characters of different ages and said they can’t wait to share what they have learned the college as well as the community.

Kelbi Havens, a theater major, said she was young when she first realized she had a calling in life to entertain others in a way that few people can commit to doing. “I started theatre when I was 10 and was in fourth grade and my mom was like, ‘Your personality is too great. Go for it,’” Havins said.

AC students looking for a way to relax and get out of the house for a little rest and relaxation can head to AC’s Experimental Theatre for “Silent Sky,” which will open Nov. 30. “Silent Sky” is similar thematically to “Hidden Figures.” This production is set during the turn of the century and focuses on women working at the Harvard Observatory. The women are doing all the hard work while others get the credit.

“I needed an acting challenge because this is our Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival entry,” Ray Newberg,theater program coordinator, said.

The Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival is a national theater program intended to provide recognition of students in collegiate theater. “‘Silent Sky’ is our participating entry. We will actually have a couple of regional respondents come in and respond to it,” Newberg said.

Just like other AC students study and prepare for a test, the actors prepare for their roles. They must be close to perfect with dialogue, movement and even accents when they are in character. Preparing is vital for any play and musical. It is not just the people onstage that need to know cues, lines and movements, the production crew must also meet the needs of the cast while they are onstage.

It takes a full team to put on a play. From light cues, music cues and hair and makeup, the people behind the scenes are just as important.   

“For rehearsal we usually try to work anywhere from five to six weeks, four nights a week and a couple of hours each night as a minimum,” Monty Downs, instructor and technical director, said. Students must be willing to practice for countless hours to perfect that one scene, that one cue or even that one facial expression.

Now the department is spreading the word about the upcoming production. “Publicizing an event has changed from your typical hanging of posters. Social media has been the primary platform for publicity,” Newburg said.

Newburg and Downs are also spreading the word that students do not have to be theater majors to audition for the AC productions.  “All of the shows are open call auditions, which means anybody can auditions,” Downs said.

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