Student talent “Showcased” by singers, actors, and more

Meg Stern

The cast of “Showcase” takes the Guilford stage with an innovative production that explores a range of talents and evokes a spectrum of emotions — and that was only the rehearsal. “Showcase” is a compilation of performance pieces ranging from scripted work to original material that includes song, dance, film and acting.

“We want it to feel more like an open mic night at a coffeehouse than a formal performance in a theater,” said junior Lizzie Fistel, “Showcase” publicist.

“Showcase” does seem like a coffeehouse performance, with the lights dimmed and each act introducing something unexpected. Some are new, and some you may have seen before, either in previous Guilford Theatre performances or around campus, such as senior Marcus Edghill’s performance of the song “The Ladies Who Lunch” and the preview for first-year Noelle Lane’s documentary “Not All Roads Lead to Home.”

“That’s one of the really exciting things about ‘Showcase,’” said Part Time Lecturer in Theatre Studies and “Showcase” director Marc Williams. “There’s a huge variety.”

The performances include personal monologues — both scripted and original — enticing musical numbers and self-choreographed dances, to name a few.

“I’m doing a monologue which I performed in ‘Standing on Ceremony’ earlier last semester,” said first-year Ian Sweet, “Showcase” performer. “It’s a whole play within itself, but it’s just me doing a eulogy about my dead lover — who happens to be gay.”

Unlike a typical production you might see in Sternberger Auditorium, the students on stage perform acts they have chosen.

“We wanted to provide a venue for our students to further develop their own work in terms of a project that they were really interested in,” said Williams. “We’ve turned the tables on our students and said, ‘What do you want to share with us? What do you want to do?’”

The acts include films, dances, songs, monologues and scenes. Each piece is unrelated to the ones before and after, but all showcase the talent of Guilford students.

“There’s nothing that unifies these pieces,” said Williams.  “Everyone is going to hop up and take their turn, then sit down and celebrate what they’ve done. That’s what ‘Showcase’ is.”

The Theatre Studies Department began talking about and conceptualizing “Showcase” in Spring 2011. Eventually that discussion yielded the idea for a laid-back evening with various talents.

“We’re drawing from the idea of a cabaret, a coffee house, vaudeville,” said Williams. “It’s the idea that each person gets their turn, each person has a certain amount of time that’s allotted to them and they’re using it to showcase what they do best.”

According to Williams, the department told the students about “Showcase” last fall, but most of the auditions took place this semester.

“Because we were waiting … to see what (our students) brought us, I haven’t really known what ‘Showcase’ was going to be until about two or three weeks ago,” said Williams.

The ingenuity of “Showcase” brought unique issues and challenges to the table. Senior Emily Stewart, first-time stage manager, had to take on her managing role while also learning the ins and outs of a new type of production.

“It is very different from managing a large production,” said Stewart. “In most large productions, you have one script that goes from start to finish. In this one, everybody has their own (script), so I have 14 different scripts. … Charlotte (Cloyd) is just dancing, so her script is a list of the moves that she does and when she does them along with her music.”

The production is an opportunity to show how wide the range of talent spans on Guilford campus, for both the audience and the performers.

“It’s nice to see all aspects of the Theatre Department,” said Sweet. “Because I’m partial to acting, I don’t really get to see much of the dance or some of the films. … It’s nice to see everything in one coherent show and be reminded that everything that we do in this show is performance art.”

In Williams’ opinion, “Showcase” is an exciting opportunity for students to share their talents and revel in what they have done — with the added bonus of free admission and a reception to follow.

“It’s a celebration as much as it is a performance,” said Williams. “We’re throwing a little party, so we want people to come.”

Print Friendly, PDF & Email