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Juniata College Production Chosen for Regional Theatre Festival

(Posted December 16, 2002)

HUNTINGDON, Pa. -- The Juniata College Theatre Department production of "HE" has been selected as a mainstage production for the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival, Region II, to be held in January at the University of Maryland in College Park, Md.
The production will be performed at noon, Friday, Jan. 17, 2003 in the Kay Theatre, one of the main theatres in the university's Clarence Smith Performing Arts Center.

"Juniata is the only college chosen for inclusion in the festival that does not have a separate theatre department or a designated theatre major," says Andrew Belser, associate professor of theatre at Juniata. "Our theatre program has thrived because Juniata has given students not only strong theatre training, but also the academic flexibility to seriously pursue interests beyond their chosen field of study."

Although Juniata has no theatre major, the college's Program of Emphasis model, which allows students to design their own "major" areas of study, has made it easier for Juniata students to dedicate themselves to theatre projects, while also pursuing majors in other fields. Another Juniata program, a merit award for excellence in the arts that offers full tuition/room and board to nominated students, has brought students to the theatre program.

The Juniata production is based on the 1915 play "He Who Gets Slapped," by Leonid Andreyev, which depicted a lovelorn professor who joins a ramshackle circus as a clown after being personally and professionally humiliated. The Juniata production retains some of the play's structure, but much of the play centers on clowning inspired by butoh, a form of Japanese dance. The entire play is scored to the tango music of Argentinian composer Astor Piazzolla, whose style of music is known as Tango Nuevo.

Juniata students in the cast are: Raina Miller, a junior from Millington, Md.; Taro Shibuya, a junior from Tokyo, Japan; Sean Mahoney, a junior from Huntingdon, Pa; Christoph Neugschwendtner, an international student from Marburg, Germany; Chris Kochel, a freshman from Lancaster, Pa.; Valeria Aguilar, an international student from Pueblo, Mexico; Cara Helstrom, a junior from Doylestown, Pa.; Kari Calaway, a junior from Austin, Texas; Paul Blore, a sophomore from Philadelphia; and Sylvia Diaz, an international student from del Marmol, Mexico.


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