The SummerStage Festival at Stephen F. Austin State University is working hard to provide audiences a new theatre experience. One hour prior to every performance ice cream and live entertainment will take place outside for the audience. Then everyone goes inside the air conditioning to enjoy the productions. Two plays will be presented by the same acting troupe.
Opening night requires a lot of preparation. Lines need to be learned, haircuts scheduled, and costumes tweaked.
It's four days before curtain call. The dress parade checks actors out from head to toe.
"Let's polish the sheriff's boots," orders costume designer Angela Bacarisse. She gives the final ok to period costumes for 'To Kill A Mockingbird'. After 10 weeks of directing pre-dress rehearsals Zach Hanks likes what he sees.
"Yeah. Seeing this come together. Seeing it sort of becoming real is unbelievable," said Hanks.
One hour later most every one switches gears. Actors remove their 1930 attire and replace it with colorful, crazy hats and skirts for the upcoming second production of 'Alice and Wonderland'.
Joshua Wallace, SFA senior theatre major, tries to keep it straight. He's a caterpillar and music director in Alice. He also has the lead role of Atticus in Mockingbird.
"I know. It's almost a complete contradiction of styles of what we're doing this summer," said Wallace.
The whole goal of the SummerStage Festival is to provide a fun and relaxing theatre experience for the audience. Can't say it is exactly the same for the actors. The tight schedule demands early preparation. @
"It's absolutely less time to learn lines so I encourage my actors to come in off book on first day of rehearsal," said Laura Rikard, assistant professor of theatre at SFA.
By the time the productions hit the stage all this preparation will pay off with a full house.
"It's story telling. It's a wonderfully social experience. Perfect way for spending time with family and friends," explains Scott Shattuck, director of SFA School of Theatre.
The festival runs June 27 through July 18. Low cost nights are offered by Wal-Mart. Contact the SFA Theatre Department for details.
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