Florida School of the Arts presents “The Actors’ Project”
The Florida School of the Arts will present “The Actors’ Project: Stupid F*#king Bird,” a contemporary adaptation of Anton Chekhov’s classic play “The Seagull,” in the School’s studio theatre located on the Palatka campus of St. Johns River State College. In the intimate environment that the studio theatre provides, the actors engage more closely with the audience, providing patrons with an up-close and personal theatre experience. Written for mature audiences, the play, by Aaron Posner, includes adult content and strong language. "The Actors' Project" will take place at 7:30 p.m., Thursday, March 16 through Saturday, March 18, and at 2:30 p.m. on Sunday, March 19. Admission is free. Reservations are encouraged, as seating is limited.
Director Kevin Kelly said, "At the Florida School of the Arts, we choose plays for the purpose of providing the best educational challenges possible for our student designers, stage managers and actors. Though Chekhov wrote at the end of the 19th century, his play still resonates with today's audiences and writers. And more than simply translating his piece from one language to another, adapting texts transform the work into a new form, while retaining the message, structure and tone of the original work.”
FloArts student and stage manager Angel Warren explained that “The Actors’ Project” “explores the life of a deteriorating director and a play he’s trying to put on, but it's so much more than that," she said. “It explores the director’s relationship issues with his mother, his love for a woman who is in love with someone else, and other common life challenges. The whole story is about people and an exploration of them -- our wants, our needs, things we just can’t say, inner dialogue, etc.,” Warren continued. “I think it’s just going to be a great time for anyone who decides to show up.”
Given the exploratory nature of “The Actors’ Project,” a student enrolled in professor Aaron Alexander’s photography class teamed up with the cast to put her photography lessons into practice. Nita Hastings, a second year photography student in design technology, used her photographer’s eye to capture the characters of Nina, played by Emely Cuestas, and Con, played by Ritchie Rodriguez. Additional cast members include Devin Fuentes as Dev, Campbell Gilliland as Trig, Alicia Hill as Emma, Emma Kriausky as Mash, and Jeno Tate as Sorn.
According to Warren, the lens that she has been able to see the characters through – “from the script to the stage” – has been “a magical experience” for her. “Professor Kelly has given us a unique opportunity to explore this new material," she said. "The project is not very text heavy, but simply an exploration for the actor." Kelley added that the goal is to always expose the students to varied styles of acting to grow their skills.
Students who are advancing their skills behind the scenes include the designers: Braden Harrington, lighting design; William Searcy Holley IV, scenic design; and Brittany Posso, sound design. Professor Robert O'Leary is the faculty supervisor for scenic and lighting.
Additional production staff includes costume shop manager Tiffany Jordan, costume design; Robert Allen, Caitlin Charrier and Brooke Ponitz, hair and makeup; Samuel Alvarado, Olivia Bleak, Jid Charles, Matias De La Flor, Marcus Donaldson, Fuentes, Martin Hamilton, Harrington, Holley, Bethany McLain, Posso, Kylee Risdon, John Robinson and Josh Thomas, carpenters, scenic painters and stage electricians; Steven Austin, Tori Blair, Charrier, Mitchell Collins, Sarah Cox, Johan Gallardo, Bella Guzman, Hill, Uvenka Jean-Baptiste, Brianna Osmond, Katy Page, Ponitz, Libby Rodriguez, Emily Skinner, Warren and Alexa Williams, costume construction crew; Katrina Babitzke, production design and lighting and projection operator; Collins, wardrobe head; Sarah Cox, Guzman and Libby Rodriguez, dressers; Jean-Baptiste, assistant to costume designer; Jordan, costume shop manager; Timothy Lake and Grant Rogers, production assistants; Megan Leclair, assistant stage manager; Posso and Robinson, sound board operators; and Robinson, technical director and properties master.
Florida School of the Arts is part of the academic and administrative structure of SJR State and awards the two-year associate degree. The School serves the entire state of Florida and is located on the SJR State Palatka campus. For more information, call 386-312-4300 or visit the website at floarts.org.
Florida School of the Arts presents “The Actors’ Project.” Pictured are students Emely Cuestas (Nina) and Ritchie Rodriguez (Con) who are featured in a “play in a play” moment, where Nina is dressed up in an older dress that once belonged to Con’s mother. Con is very much in love with Nina, and he is always near her in the scene while she is performing to both watch over and protect her while performing. The play runs March 16 - 19. Photo contributed by FloArts student Nita Hastings.
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