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Jessica Fischer

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Northeast State Theatre cast, crew nominated for numerous awards

May 29th, 2014 10:46 am by Jessica Fischer

Northeast State Theatre cast, crew nominated for numerous awards

Several cast and crew members from Northeast State Theatre's 'The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe' earned nominations to the Region IV Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival competition. Contributed photo.

Hannah Duncan's job as stage manager of Northeast State Theatre's spring production of "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe" was simple. Be on top of everything that happened onstage, offstage and in the sound booth, from opening curtain to curtain call.

"We're like the gargoyles of the theater," Duncan said of her behind-the-scenes duties. "We tend to hang around in the back looking down on the action."

Duncan is one of several cast and crew members whose work on "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe" earned them nominations to the 2015 Region IV Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival competition.

Nominations were presented to Duncan for Stage Manager; Will Lambert for Set Design; Marty France for Costume Design; and Dustin Lawson for Hair and Makeup Design.

"Our goal is to teach our students that theater is a service industry where the main goal is to serve an audience," said Elizabeth M. Sloan, director of Northeast State Theatre and its "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe" production. "I'm so proud of the work that all of our cast, crew and designers did for 'The Lion, the Witch and The Wardrobe.'"

Eli Kestner also picked up a KCACTF nomination for Technical Direction. Kestner pulled double duty as the production's technical director and master electrician.

Lorrie Anderson and Austin Sparks both earned Irene Ryan Acting nominations for their roles as Pevensie siblings Lucy and Edmund, respectively.

"I tried to put myself in the shoes of an 8-year-old," said Anderson, a first-year student and theater major at Northeast State. "As a child, it is the wonder of new things that you remember."

Both actors said they aimed to give their young characters an innocent, wide-eyed quality without being childish.
"I remembered a wooded area near my house when I was that age and how it felt to wander through those woods," Sparks said. "That memory helped me think about the wonder of the world when you are that age."

Lawson was responsible for makeup and hair design for both the human and animal characters in the show.

"We stayed true to Elizabeth's vision about how she wanted the character to appear," he said. "Once we got our designs down, putting everything together went pretty fast."

It was France's job to outfit the cast. His costume designs included Narnia's royal robes and the White Witch's icy gown.
"The designs came out of our weekly meetings," he said. "[Technical director] Brad [McKenzie] wanted an organic look so we wanted to make the costuming appear like the characters were part of the forest."

Lambert created the Narnia sets. He also designed the wooded landscape and large arches simulating the animals' forest homes.

But perhaps the show's most impressive technical feat involved the "miraculous" disappearance of Aslan the lion as he lay dead on the Stone Table.

"That is a testament to the skills of our technical crew," said Lambert, now a three-time KCACTF student nominee. "Every production requires the right lighting and timing regardless if the production is large or small or the number of actors in the play."

Duncan will make her second trip to the festival as a nominee. She earned a Ryan Acting nomination last year for her work as the goddess Athena in "The Odyssey."

"I learned a ton of stuff as stage manager because you are responsible for seeing every cue, line and effect go off at the right time," said Duncan, a theater major at Northeast State. "You get much more involved in the production and with the people when you take on the stage manager's job."

A proctor from Region IV took in a performance of "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe" during its April run. The production's quality was graded and then considered for nominations to the regional competition.

The proctor also recognized several Northeast State Theatre faculty members, including the show's technical director, Brad McKenzie, who received a Faculty Award for Lighting Design, and Sloan, who earned a Faculty Directing Award.

The nominees will compete next spring at the 2015 KCACTF Region IV Festival. Each nominee can go through up to three rounds of judging. The festival gives each nominee display space to exhibit his or her work. Judges review the nominee's work as it fits in the overall production. The competition gets more intense with each round.

"They were so dedicated and I believe they served the audience with all of their heart, energy and focus," Sloan said of the show's cast and crew. "It is so wonderful to see specific students receive recognition from theater professionals and it also means that the entire show and everyone involved had a part to play in that recognition."

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