On May 19, FIU Theatre Department faculty member Phillip M. Church, along with theatre majors Danny Leonard (BFA Performance) and Zack Myers (BFA Performance) and Spring 2014 graduate, Charles Sothers, did an acting workshop for Nicole Quintana’s production class of juniors and seniors at Coral Reef High School. The workshop involved performing two scenes from One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, by Ken Kesey, which Phillip is currently directing for his What If Works Theatre Company. The scenes were performed by the three actors, then Phillip gave his acting notes and they redid the scenes using Phillip’s suggestions. The students had the opportunity to see part of the process that goes into perfecting a performance before opening night. They were interested in learning about how actors get into character, what it feels like to be a performer on stage and the different careers available to someone with a degree in theatre.
According to Nicole, one of the things that engaged her students was the “theatre-in-the-round” seating, where the audience surrounds the stage. The seating structure facilitated great interaction and dialogue between the two groups and they discussed the different types of theatre, seating arrangements and configuration of stages.
Another topic they explored was the idea of community theatre and reaching out to others interested in the arts and culture. This topic is particularly dear to Charles Sothers, Theatre Arts & Programs Director of the Roxy Theatre Group. “One of our goals at Roxy is to expand our programs and have a greater influence over the theatre community in Miami. Although theatre has a presence in Miami, we want to encourage more people to bring their talent home and to see that opportunities do exist to use their skills in Miami.” As someone who has been working in the field since 2001, Nicole feels very strongly about this topic as well. In addition to being a drama teacher since 2001, she has a BFA Design degree from FIU and has worked as a paint charge, a set designer, a performer and even teaches Improv. “People think that big theatres only exist in New York and Chicago and LA, and it is wonderful if you have the opportunity to go to those places to see and work in theatre, but we have to remember to come home and nourish our own community with our talent and experience, because that is the way to establish a greater theatre presence.”
Overall, the workshop was well received. The students were engaged, entertained and interested.
For more information on One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, click here