By Rebecca Hertz
Killeen Daily Herald
Central Texas College will present its annual fall drama production, "Short Works Drama Showcase," benefiting the Joe Russo Drama. The unique student production features about 16 short pieces and monologues, including one original work. The showcase allows students to experience all aspects of production from design and technical to direction.
James Salter, professor of drama for the CTC fine arts department, advises the students and offers suggestions, but the students have the opportunity to apply what they have learned and utilize their own creativity.
"When I say this is truly a student showcase, I mean that as the largest compliment because they have worked very hard," Salter said. "One of the pieces is an original piece and these are monologues and scenes they are very passionate about."
Salter said the biggest challenge has been coordinating everyone's schedules with work and school to carve out enough time to give the students actor coaching and guidance through the rehearsal process.
"But again, they do all the work; I am just the facilitator," Salter said.
The production is also a competition with three $100 cash prizes to be awarded the closing night of the show for best actor, best actress and best overall monologue or scene. The winners will be determined by audience ballot and tallied up over the three night run. Set in a theater-in-the-round format, the on-stage seating will accommodate an audience of about 50 offering an intimate theater experience.
"This is an awesome opportunity for them to play around with their own creativity and their own skill and the techniques they've learned in class and apply those like blocking and character development, etc.," Salter said.
Briia Mullen is a CTC technical director, CTC student and an actress in the show. She said it took about four weeks to prepare for the production.
"A lot of the kids want to show their acting talent and they get a chance to pick what they do as opposed to when we do a show and it is already picked and they try out," Mullen said. "He (Salter) gives us advice… but this is basically run by the students for the students; that's why we enjoy it so much because we get to do what we want to do."
Elizabeth Parchman is performing a monologue from "Dracula." This is her first on-stage experience at CTC. She said she is learning a lot by watching the technical aspects of the production. She has done the preparation and direction for her piece on her own.
"At first it was a little intimidating, but he (Salter) walked me through my scene up on the stage with my props up," Parchman said.
Ryan Campbell is performing a comedy piece "Four Yorkshiremen," with three other actors. The piece was written by Graham Chapman of the original Monty Python group. Campbell said it is a fast-paced intellectual comedy.
"The showcase is student- run so you really get to see that students at CTC can put on a show and it's a great show," Campbell said. "There is a good balance between comedy and drama. There are a lot of great minds coming together to put on a great show."