JEMS are Cutting Edge…. Not Corners
by Cate Murway
Fugue Films is a video production and photography studio, educational space, and creative workshop located in the impressive industrial/ commercial Grundy Commons complex.
The Fugue Films partner and Borough resident, Gina Marie Andreoli is an extremely talented independent filmmaker and her driven focus is geared mostly on directing, producing and costume design. She is aware and sensitive to the highest sense of her environment, even when fantasy and reality can sometimes become intermingled, hence the “Fugue Films”.
As head of the Villa Joseph Marie H.S. Drama Department, Gina is setting a new stage at the private Catholic college-preparatory school for young women located in Holland, PA. Her students are exposed to the basics of theater and a sampling of acting, improvising, script writing, production, and technical work.
They celebrate student initiative and creativity.
Villa Joseph Marie is always cutting edge…. not corners.
A series of four student directed one-acts will be featured on Friday, February 22, 2013. This open to the public night of theater starts at 7:00 P.M in the school auditorium on 1180 Holland Road. With great independence, the students will undertake all aspects of directing a one act play. They set up rehearsals, “once a week each director has a two hour slot”, work with actors, oversee the design team, and take a show from early conception through full performance.
All proceeds from the $5.00 admission and refreshment purchases will be donated to the Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, one of the nation’s leading industry-based, nonprofit AIDS fundraising and grant-making organizations.
Equity Fights AIDS was founded in October 1987 by the Council of Actors' Equity Association.
Broadway Cares was founded in February 1988 by members of The Producers' Group.
In May 1992, Equity Fights AIDS and Broadway Cares merged to become Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS.
Gina commented about the “minimal props, low budget” presentations, “I think it’s a good opportunity for the girls who are really interested in theatre who have done most of the acting, to get on the other side and appreciate it, and maybe realize how difficult it is. A lot of them will get to see all the different roles in the theatre. It’s about all the stuff that makes the play come together.”
Gina has very successfully directed and costumed the VJM shows, “The Women”, a 1936 play by Clare Boothe Luce; Alice in Wonderland; and most recently, Seussical, last November.
Her students have proven that they are very versatile actors.
Auditions for Shakespeare’s 400 year old play, “The Tempest”, considered to be one of his greatest works, will begin in March. The talented VJM thespians will then conjure up a storm, the eponymous tempest, for this production the third week of April.
They are at the moment, in the thick of rehearsals for the one-act plays in which they are in charge, testing their directing chops, or appearing in each production.
Fresh, funny, thought-provoking and smart, this variety pack showcases the talents of her students, both onstage and behind the scene.
Watch simple tasks turn into a nightmare with "13 Ways to Screw Up Your College Interview" by Ian McWethy -Directed by Kylie Lynn Henninger ’13.
Kylie had acted in this play in her drama class at VJM. Care for a sequel?
She wore the ruby red slippers of Dorothy in “The Wizard of Oz” in grade school, and then portrayed one of the brightly multicolored outfitted munchkins in the VJM production. She garnered her first interactive experiences as stage manager for the habit-forming “Nunsense”, and the musical, “Seussical”.
Why Villa, Kylie? “It felt like home when I first came to visit Villa. Ms. Andreoli has inspired me to go beyond just acting and try behind the scene, too. I’m looking at Temple U. and Penn State for Psychology and Directing.”
Then tune in and channel into learning about the most trusted news program since the invention of trust, news, and programs with “Action News: Now With 10% More Action!" by Jonathan Rand - Directed by Jocelyn Shapcott ’13.
Perhaps you can learn how actors maybe break the mold, shed their stock character images and land the roles they've always wanted to play, in "Drama Rehab: Revenge of the Type-cast Actors" by D. Tupper McKnight- Directed by VJM Drama Board Secretary, Caitlin Davies ’14.
Finally, witness the creative wordplay of Shakespeare's tragic love story whimsically reinvented in "The Seussification of A Midsummer Night's Dream" by Peter Bloedel- Directed by Sophie Edbrooke ’14.
After the show, (audience members are invited), sophomores through seniors who have earned enough accrued points will be inducted into the world’s largest honor society for theatre students, the International Thespian Society.
Actors and actresses are called thespians in honor of Thespis, a Greek playwright and performer. In 535 B.C., Thespis had added a new dimension to drama by stepping out of the Greek chorus during a performance and reciting portions of the text alone, becoming the first actor. He is also credited with inventing the theatrical mask.
Villa started the new troupe #7843 just this year. Allyson Cohen ‘13 is the VP, Cassie Bodnar ‘13 is Historian, and Shannon Capasso ’14, is Publicist.
ITS is neither a secret society nor a club. Approximately 20 students who excel in technical and production fields, as well as performance in their high school theatre, will be inducted that evening.
The International Thespian Society has been honoring excellence in the work of theatre students since 1929 and the JEMS proudly uphold the Thespian motto, “Act well your part; there all the honor lies.”
The theatrical, leadership, communication, and organizational skills that they will develop as a Thespian will serve them well for the rest of their lives.
The Drama Board / ITS President is Marie-Christine “Kiki” Denarié ’13.
Kiki has been involved in theatre since 6th grade under the directorship of Mr. William Hallman, the PA Thespians Chapter Director at Charles Boehm Middle School. She earned the honor of participating in the PA Thespian conference in Butler, PA while she was in 8th grade. They won the "Chapter Select Showcase" and performed the play that gives a theatrical voice to all people about 911, “On The Day and The Days That Followed”, at the International Competition in Nebraska.
Kiki was powerfully impacted. “Hard core thespians. It was awesome!”
She chose Villa Joseph Marie since she “likes the smaller atmosphere, more of a sense of community here.”
Kiki is a member of NHS, Tri-M, and Chorale, but acting is her passion.
She smiled. “We’re finally in ITS. I’ve been working on this since sophomore year. It’s a nice feeling. We’re leaving a legacy.”
She will portray Broadway star Janet Van De Graaff, who plans to give up her career to marry oil tycoon Robert Martin, in the Holy Ghost Prep musical, “The Drowsy Chaperone”.
“I was Mayzie La Bird in “Seussical” and I’m “Lily” in Kylie’s show. I’m over dramatic.”
It was she who suggested making the one-acts a fundraiser. “We are sponsoring Broadway Cares. I knew about them from Internationals. I made this call as President.”
Some actresses are in multiple parts. Come and be a part of the magic that these students can create when given a stage, materials, and the freedom to design something truly amazing.
The show runs for approximately two hours with a 15 minute intermission.
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