By David West
NATCHITOCHES – Northwestern State University’s production of “Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead” has been invited to participate in the Kennedy Center American College Theater Region VI Festival on Feb. 25-28 at the Abilene Convention Center in Abilene, Texas.
Forty productions from colleges and universities in Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas were viewed in person by Region VI representatives this fall and NSU’s version of “Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead” was one of six plays chosen to be presented at the regional conference. NSU’s production could be selected for performance at the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival National Festival in April in Washington, D.C. Pia Wyatt is the director. This is the second time in six years a Northwestern State production has been selected.
“Having been selected out of the entire Region VI of the Kennedy Center American College festival is a huge honor,” said Wyatt. “To have seen what our region produces and be part of the selected six productions that represent this region is truly a delight. ‘Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead’ by Tom Stoppard is a literary whirlwind of words that allows the intellect to be stimulated and tickled.”
Behind the scenes of Shakespeare’s “Hamlet,” the play follows the antics of the Prince of Denmark’s two childhood best friends, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, as they grapple with understanding their existence. This play deals with Shakespeare’s language in a delightfully humorous manner that allows today’s audience to grasp the heartache, the confusion and the plight of life on this rollercoaster of staying afloat in what can be very confusing and chaotic times.
Started in 1969 by Roger L. Stevens, the Kennedy Center’s founding chairman, the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival (KCACTF) is a national theater program involving 20,000 students from colleges and universities nationwide annually. For 50 years, the organization has served as a catalyst in improving the quality of college theater in the United States. KCACTF has grown into a network of more than 700 academic institutions throughout the country.
The goals of the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival are: to encourage, recognize, and celebrate the finest and most diverse work produced in university and college theater programs; to provide opportunities for participants to develop their theater skills and insight; and achieve professionalism; to improve the quality of college and university theater in America and to encourage colleges and universities to give distinguished productions of new plays, especially those written by students; the classics, revitalized or newly conceived and experimental works.
Through state, regional, and national festivals, KCACTF student and faculty participants celebrate the creative process and share experiences and insights within the community of theater artists. The KCACTF honors excellence of overall production and offers student artists individual recognition through awards and scholarships in playwriting, acting, dramatic criticism, directing, and design.
In January and February of each year, regional festivals showcase the finest of each region’s entered productions and offer a wide range of activities, including workshops, symposia and regional-level scholarship and award programs.