Tuesday, March 06, 2012

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:                           MARCH 6, 2012

FURTHER INFORMATION:                            ARIEL CARMONA JR. (626) 914-8872

                                                                    CHERIE BROWN (626) 914-8840


Citrus College Theater Students Perform at Prestigious Regional Theater Festival

By Ariel Carmona Jr.

Citrus College’s spring 2011 production of “Dog Sees God: Confessions of a Teenage Blockhead” was one of only 10 productions invited to perform at the Region VII Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival.

A delegation of 32 students, plus Theater Arts Department program director Cherie Brown and instructor Dan Volonte, travelled to Ogden, Utah to Weber State University, joining productions from Arizona, Utah and Nevada in the week-long festival, which ran from Feb. 7- 11.

The annual festival allows students and faculty to come together to exchange ideas and showcase their work. In addition to the performances, participants also take part in seminars and workshops, set construction, sessions for beginning theater students, and other activities. 

The event also functions as a springboard for colleges and universities going on to compete at the national festival in April at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C.

“What’s great about our festival is the students can go to any workshop and participate at any level of theater production.” said Festival Regional Chair John Binkley.

Binkley said students can come in thinking of themselves as a playwright, or set designer, but leave the event thinking about themselves as theater artists.

“In our society, we tend to emphasize specialization, but I think this is wrong.  We need to think in much broader terms,” he said.

He added the festival emphasized the sense of community students develop during their week long stay.  “In theater, collaboration is key. Students may not end up going into it as a career, but they are developing skills any person in corporate America would be thrilled to have,” said Binkley.

"Dog Sees God: Confessions of A Teenage Blockhead" is an updated adaptation of the lovable "Peanuts" comic strip characters created by Charles M. Schulz, but with an adult twist.

Critics lauded Citrus College’s spring performance of the play as, “contemporary and in touch with what we have seen in the news recently,” and “a must-see for students.”

Binkley, who attended the Citrus College production and participated in the competition’s selection process, said he was very impressed with the fact it was unique, given it was strictly a student designed and directed enterprise.

Binkley said to his knowledge, Citrus College is the only production in the festival which is completely student driven.  

The play was the directorial debut of Citrus College student, Christopher J. Aranda who shared his experiences about attending the festival.

Looking at it from an acting perspective, it's a wonderful gift to be able to observe the work of your peers from a regional standpoint,” said Aranda, “Whether it is different styles of acting, scene selection or the different schools of thought, when it comes to acting in general  ACTF takes you to another level, or a level that you can at least aspire to.”

 “The canon the play parodies is one of the most popular cartoons and bits of Americana of all time. Luckily, it was the quality, as well as the acting, that garnered an incredibly positive reaction,” he said.

Brown said the experience was a rewarding one for all involved and Citrus College’s inclusion in the festival was a huge honor.

“The production and performance really says a lot about the high quality of community colleges and what we have to offer,” said Brown, “Several of our students are working or continuing their education as we speak.  It makes me proud to be a part of their success.”

“It was a very rewarding and emotional experience for all of us,” she said.

Other schools and productions  that performed at the festival included Brigham Young University, California Lutheran University, California State University Fullerton, Los Angeles City College Theater Academy, and Utah Valley University.

Dr. Geraldine M. Perri, superintendent/president of Citrus College said she was pleased by the college’s inclusion in the festival.

“We are honored and thrilled to have our students participate in this prestigious event,” she said. “To be among the handful of community colleges representing our region, really says a lot about the dedication of our theater students and about the commitment and fervor that our faculty bring to our programs.”

Mrs. Joanne Montgomery, president of the Citrus Community College District Board of Trustees, Concurred. “This is a great honor, and the workshops and sessions will prove invaluable to our students’ ongoing education and training,” she said.


theater students at Regionals

Taking the Show on the Road: Members of the Citrus College Theater Arts Program in Ogden, Utah where they performed "Dog Sees God: Confessions of a Teenage Blockhead" in a regional theater festival. (Photo by Michael Starkey)


                         FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:                           MARCH 6, 2012

                         FURTHER INFORMATION:                            ARIEL CARMONA JR. (626) 914-8872

                                                                                            CHERIE BROWN (626) 914-8840