Curated by John Blondell
Our annual, student-driven performances include seven, new 10-minute plays written by MFA students specifically for the Westmont Fringe as part of a collaborative weekend writing session. The festival also features a senior project, “So Small A Thing,” directed by Kelsey Pollard ‘14 and staring Rebecca Jacks ’14 and Chris Wagstaffe ’14.
The Last Five Years
March 21, 2014
by Jason Robert Brown, Directed by Ben Offringa '13
This charming two-person, one-act musical tells the story of a five-year relationship from start to finish, and from finish to start. Tinkering both playfully and solemnly with the concepts of music, love and home furniture as they travel in time, the audience is invited from the first song to ask themselves the iconic question: "is it truly better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all?" Theatre and music departments fundraiser: $14 General, $7 Students, Seniors and Children March 21-22 at 8 p.m. in Porter Theatre March 23 at 8 p.m. in Porter Theatre For reservations please click here.
Electra "Mesmerizing" audiences
Westmont Presents Greek Tragedy Outdoors
Friday, February 7, 2014
Review by CHARLES DONELAN of SB Independent
The curse on the house of Atreus, a subject ordinarily associated primarily with the Oresteia trilogy of the Greek writer Aeschylus, also received a powerful treatment from Sophocles, the author of Oedipus Rex. In his play Electra, Sophocles tackles the tragic descent of this clan into murderous revenge by focusing on the events that follow the death of Agamemnon, in particular the return of his son Orestes and the murder of his wife and Orestes’ mother, Clytemnestra. In Mitchell Thomas’s mesmerizing new production of Nick Payne’s 21st century English adaptation, the drama’s ritual element is restored without sacrificing any of Sophocles’ psychological acuity. This is ancient Greek tragedy for the present moment, with scenes that are every bit as intense and saturated with inner life as those of a show written yesterday.
The story takes place in the aftermath of the events detailed in Aeschylus’ Agamemnon. The great king, forced to sacrifice his daughter Iphigenia, is in turn murdered by his wife and her lover, Aegisthus. Although Aegisthus is never seen in Sophocles’ Electra, five main characters perform substantial roles, and a chorus responds to the action. The main characters are Clytemnestra (Rebecca Jacks), Electra (Christine Nathanson), her sister Chrysothemis (Lauren White), Orestes (Connor Bush), and Strophius (Chris Wagstaffe). The chorus includes actors Paige Tautz, Ben Offringa, and Chloe Burns along with all the principals.
Wonderful performances throughout, particularly by Connor Bush and Christine Nathanson make this a very memorable evening. In addition, the excellent musical score created by Andrea Fishman, Eric Ederer, Richard Johnson, and Rebecca Shasberger brings a powerful element to the overall effect. In this Electra, the sublimity of 2500 years ago comes back to life.
The Pirates of Penzance
October 22, 2013
Wirtten by W.S. Gilbert & Sir Arthur Sullivan, Directed by John Blondell
Artistic dynamos John Blondell, Westmont professor of theater arts, and Michael Shasberger, Adams professor of music and worship, have combined forces, collaborating on the production of a comic operetta. About 30 student-actors/musicians performed “Pirates of Penzance,” written by W.S. Gilbert and Sir Arthur Sullivan, Oct. 17-19, 23, and 26-27 at 7 p.m.
Blondell, who directs the show, says it has been a joy collaborating with Shasberger, student conductor Andrew Combs, Danila Korogodsky (scenography) and Victoria Finlayson (choreography). He says he was attracted to “Pirates” for several reasons.
"I had never done a comic operetta,” he says, “so the prospect seemed new and fresh and also rather scary. I enjoy breathing fresh life into plays that we think we know. I wanted to make something fresh and vibrant, and that was satisfying on dramatic, theatrical and musical levels.”
Spring Fringe Festival
April 11-15, 2013
18 individual short plays and dances were developed by guest playwrights, faculty and students that brought two weeks of original performance art to Westmont's campus. Engaging, unique and always provocative, Fringe has become an annual "must see" event.
January 23, 2013
Directed by John Blondell, and written by Randy VanderMey. VanderMey, Westmont professor of English, spent more than a decade crafting the whole three-play sequence, “Cell Division,” “Fleas” and “Bluetooth Paternoster,” which probe the spiritual underside of our obsession with cell phones.
The show features an experienced cast, including seniors Jackie Dressler and Shawnee Witt; juniors Paige Tautz, Mak Manson, Lauren White, Chris Wagstaffe and Ben Offringa; and first-year students Laura Shultz and Connor Bush. Most actors appear in one or more shows, and Manson appears in all of them.
2013 Much Ado About Nothing
October 18, 2013
The beloved Shakespearean play was brought to comedic life, delighting audiences and critics alike. From the Independent, "The whole thing sparkles with the adventurousness and high spirits of Westmont’s outstanding theater program. Between UCSB and Westmont College, Santa Barbara must count as one of the top places in the world for aspiring Shakespeareans to matriculate."