The West Virginia Division of Culture and History will continue its new Collegiate Series featuring a performance by seniors in the WVU College of Creative Arts acting program on Tuesday, Jan. 22, at 7 p.m. The program will be held in the Norman L. Fagan West Virginia State Theater at the Cultural Center, State Capitol Complex in Charleston. The series consists of performances and lectures by students and faculty from West Virginia University and Marshall University. First Lady Gayle Manchin is the host of the program. The Collegiate Series is free and open to the public.
The performance will consist of four selections from Love’s Fire, original works by contemporary playwrights inspired by the sonnets of William Shakespeare. Love’s Fire is the fruit of an extraordinary project: seven sonnets by Shakespeare, newly envisioned for the stage in one-act plays by seven gifted contemporary playwrights and was developed by the Acting Company in New York City.
The students, under the instruction and direction of Lee Blair, will perform General of Hot Desire by John Guare, which was inspired by Sonnets 153 and 154 and The Golden Legend by Jacobus DeVoraigne. It concerns a group of students studying in the late hours, working together to decipher those two sonnets. Another selection is Terminating, or Lass Mein Schmertzen Nicht Verloren Sein, or Ambivalence by Tony Kushner, inspired by Sonnet 75. This selection involves a man who wants to return to therapy with his former psychiatrist, and both contend with how the continued therapy might affect their significant others.
The third one-act play is 140 by Marsha Norman, based upon Sonnet 140 and explores the love, jealousy and betrayal found in relationships. The final selection is Hydraulic Phat Like Mean by Ntozake Shange, inspired by Sonnet 128. The story involves music and romance between two familiar acquaintances.
The Bachelor of Fine Arts Acting Program is competitive with the best university acting programs in the country. Freshman and sophomore students take six hours of acting per week. Beginning in the sophomore year, students also receive an additional four hours per week of movement and voice/speech. Training in the junior and senior years is known as the “Studio” program and continues intensive work in movement, voice/speech and acting. Senior students study Shakespeare and other period work, as well as acting for film, television, commercials and voice-overs and the transition from academia to the professional world of the performing arts.
Blair is in his second year as a visiting assistant professor of acting with WVU’s Division of Theatre and Dance. A 1995 graduate of the University of Florida, his career has included professional works off-Broadway, off-off Broadway and in a variety of regional theaters.
For more information about the acting performance by seniors at WVU or the Collegiate Series, contact Jacqueline Proctor, deputy commissioner for the Division, at (304) 558-0220.
The Collegiate Series will continue on Monday, Feb. 11, with an Abraham Lincoln lecture by Marshall University professor Kevin Barksdale, and on Tuesday, Feb. 12, with a Civil War Lecture by WVU professor Peter Carmichael.
The West Virginia Division of Culture and History, an agency of the West Virginia Department of Education and the Arts, brings together the state’s past, present and future through programs and services in the areas of archives and history, the arts, historic preservation and museums. Its administrative offices are located at the Cultural Center in the State Capitol Complex in Charleston, which also houses the state archives and state museum. The Cultural Center is West Virginia’s official showcase for the arts. The agency also operates a network of museums and historic sites across the state. For more information about the Division’s programs, visit www.wvculture.org. The Division of Culture and History is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer.
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