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Juniata Theatre Cast Soars in 'Grounded Sky' Production

(Posted November 15, 2010)


HUNTINGDON, Pa. -- Juniata College's theatre department will host the beautiful and imaginative aerial play, "Stories of Grounded Sky," at 7:30p.m., Thursday, Nov. 18 to Sunday, Nov. 21 in the Suzanne von Liebig Theatre in the Halbritter Center for the Performing Arts.

Tickets for the production are $7 for adults and $4 for students with I.D. and can be purchased online at http://www.juniata.edu/departments/theatre.

"The trapeze becomes a metaphor for freedom and imagination. We are trying to create a whole world using symbols. I was especially interested in how you move from the floor to the aerial pieces and continue your work in a fluent manner."
Nate Dryden, co-director


Using mime and choreography based on trapeze work, this Cirque de Soleil dance theatre concept is loosely based on a story about Sky, a reclusive introvert, whose imagination draws her out and sets her free.

Directors Nathan Dryden and Rick Wamer came together through a mutual appreciation for each other's work which combines aerial work and mime theatre. Both are members of The Gravity Project, Juniata's professional theater group.

Dryden explains that, "The trapeze becomes a metaphor for freedom and imagination. We are trying to create a whole world using symbols. I was especially interested in how you move from the floor to the aerial pieces and continue your work in a fluent manner."

Dryden teaches aerial dance and improvisation. He specializes in choreographing trapeze. He has choreographed and performed independently and with the NEW ARTiculations Dance Company, ZUZI! He holds a bachelor's degree in art and film studies from University of California, Irvine, where he continued to cultivate his passion for the arts. Dryden has also directed past Juniata productions including "Airstonewater" and "Big Love."

Wamer, a master of mime, brings a whole new aspect to this dynamic duo. He began studying miming nearly 30 years ago at the Goldston School for Mimes and continued to develop and crystallize his unique skills. He stressed how much he tries to break the stereotype of mining as, "a white face and walls." Instead he likes to emphasize the idea that, "It's actually a dramatic style and about the body and its capacity to demonstrate inner life through symbolic gesture."

Wamer's work has taken him all over the world including performances held in Poland, China, Macedonia, and Israel.

The cast of "Grounded Sky" is as follows: Brenna Fredrickson, a junior from Fairfax Station, Va.; Sue Makosky, a junior from Greensburg, Pa.; Melissa Mellon, a senior from Patton, Pa.; Jess Spirko, a junior from East Granby, Conn.; Kaetlyn Kuchta, a sophomore from Shickshinny, Pa.; Sara Lucchini, a freshman from Northborough, Mass.; Nate Frieswyk, a junior from Bel Air, Md.; Kevin Whitmire, a junior from Enola, Pa.; Andrew Orsie, a junior from Summit Point, W.Va.; Zach Strouse, a freshman from Lock Haven, Pa.; Ben Mahan, a sophomore from Havertown, Pa.; and Benson Canfield, a junior from Littleton, N.H.

Contact John Wall at wallj@juniata.edu or (814) 641-3132 for more information.