Students’ new art pieces
“When people hear ‘New Works Festival’ they kind of wonder, ‘what’s that?’” said Lynne Conner, chair of the theater and dance department. “But I really hope people come to check it out because I think it’s very fun,” she added.
So what is the New Works Festival exactly? It is a student-produced festival that includes five plays, performances by two dance companies, a senior production seminar piece, and an independently choreographed aerial dance.
The festival will take place over a three day period from Friday, April 15, to Sunday, April 16. No two performances will be the same: the schedule will rotate so each performance will feature different pieces.
“A lot of people have been asking me when would be the best times to go in order to see all the performances,” said Michael Trottier ’12. “The answer is the Saturday matinee and Saturday night. Then you get to see almost everything.” A complete schedule of performance times can be found on the theater and dance department’s website.
The festival is produced by Lynne Conner’s “New Works Practicum” class. “The best way to describe it is: people in our class wear multiple hats,” notes Ahmed Asi ’12. “For example, I am in the collaborative dance company that is performing, and I also wrote one of the plays, and I am directing another play.”
The five students in Conner’s class have been working relentlessly throughout the semester to put this festival together. The students were responsible for every aspect of the preparation for the festival—from holding auditions, casting the shows, directing, handling the marketing and doing the graphic design—they did it all.
The plays were selected through the New Play Competition. “Most of the plays submitted were developed in my play writing class,” says Conner. The winning plays were written by Michael Langley ’13, Michael Trottier ’12, Ahmed Asi ’12, Shelley Kind ’13, and Professor Richard Sewell. Each is ten minutes in length and includes only two actors. “The plays are short and they change quickly,” says Conner, a set-up that is sure to create a fast-paced and engaging show.
Professor Annie Kloppenberg’s collaborative company dance class will perform their piece “Defining Edges” in the show as well. And Kloppenberg’s professional dance company will be performing two dances, one of which will also be a world premier performance.
Katie Ouimet ’11 is performing a dance as well, but her dance will be suspended 20 feet above the stage floor. Ouimet choreographed “Falling,” an aerial dance piece, during an independent study over JanPlan. “It’s really terrifying,” Trottier said. “She’s literally 20 feet in the air.”
The festival will also feature a senior production seminar piece put together by Alexandra Desaulniers ’11 and Cecilia Cancellieri ’11. It is an original piece of musical theater that is based on ethnographies of Mainers.
“The New Works Festival is a really all encompassing show,” says Ali Reader ’12, a dancer in the collaborative company.
“This festival has been a huge undertaking, and it has brought together a variety actors, directors, writers, dancers and tech crew at Colby and given them a chance to work together on one project.”
No matter what your preferred performance medium, you’re sure to find it on the stage at the New Works Festival this weekend.