Two student productions open fall theatre season at RU

Radford University’s Department of Theatre and Cinema will open its fall season on Sunday, Sept. 29 with two student-directed plays.

 “The Trestle at Pope Lick Creek” by Naomi Wallace and “The Baltimore Waltz” by Paula Vogel will run alongside one another in repertory style from Sept. 29 through Oct. 5.

“The Trestle at Pope Lick Creek,” directed by junior James Bristow, takes the audience into the lives of two teenagers who strike up an unlikely friendship in a rural town affected by the Great Depression.

 “As soon as I read it, I fell in love with it,” Bristow said. Bristow, who has wanted to direct since he was in high school, describes his experience with the show as a wonderful feeling he couldn’t get anywhere else.  “It is so exhilarating to see your vision come to life and play out in front of you.”

Scene from "The Trestle at Pope Lick Creek"

Brandon Leatherland (left) and Justin Dowdy (right) rehearse a scene from James Bristow's production of "The Trestle at Pope Lick Creek."

Senior George Hairston will direct “The Baltimore Waltz.”

“'The Baltimore Waltz’ is about a sister coming to accept her brother for who he truly is. It’s an acceptance story,” said Hairston, who had originally come to Radford to pursue acting but fell in love with the director’s chair.

Student-directed shows at RU are chosen by a committee of faculty members. Although neither director chose their show, the committee tried to assign them something they would excel at directing. Both Bristow and Hairston said that the system worked.

“We’re not given a choice in what play we direct, but I love this show,” Hairston said.

George Hairston and cast

George Hairston calls directions up to cast members Paul Krs (left) and Shieh’ron Freeman (right) during rehearsal for "The Baltimore Waltz."

Typically, the Department of Theatre and Cinema will stage one student-directed show per semester. According to Wesley Young, associate professor and performance faculty head, when there are several qualified students who would like to direct, the department will go with the repertory system. Directors will then share time in Hawes Studio Theater and their plays alternate performances through the week.

Young has met with both student directors weekly to check on their progress and help ensure that both plays run smoothly.  Working together helps the directors collaborate on problems and could help them in the future.

“I’m pretty good friends with James so it made the process easier. Really early on in the process we realized we were going to have to be very compromising with each other,” Hairston said.

“It’s very different and switching rehearsal space really affects the work you do,” Bristow added.

For more information about plays, casts and show times, visit the Radford University Department of Theatre and Cinema website.

Radford University is a comprehensive public university of more than 9,900 students. RU serves the Commonwealth of Virginia and the nation through a wide range of academic, cultural, human service, and research programs. Well known for its strong faculty/student bonds, innovative use of technology in the learning environment and vibrant student life on a beautiful 191-acre American classical campus, Radford University offers students many opportunities to get involved and succeed in and out of the classroom. The university offers 69 degree programs at the undergraduate level, and 21 master's programs and three doctoral programs at the graduate level. A Division I member of the NCAA and Big South Athletic Conference, Radford participates in 19 varsity sports—11 for women and eight for men. Since 2005, the university has secured approval and funding for nearly $300 million in capital projects, including both new construction and renovation.

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Sep 25, 2013
Dan Waidelich
(540) 831-7749