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The Play's the Thing


Up: The Man in the Flying Chair
  • Up: The Man in the Flying Chair

KCACTF is underway. The somewhat unwieldy acronym stands for the prestigious Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival. KCACTFestival Forty-Three and the associated New West Drama Conference are underway at Humboldt State, which means a thousand or so T.A. students from all over are here for plays and workshops discussing the nuts and bolts of theater, where it's at and where it's going. 

By the time you read this you'll have missed the Monday/Tuesday shows, a St. Mary's College production of Tony Kushner's Pulitzer Price-winning AIDS epic (Act 1) Angels in America: Millennium Approaches, and Xtigone, a contemporary reimagining of Sophocles' tragedy Antigone, originally developed by CSU East Bay and the African-American Shakespeare Co. of San Francisco.

If you picked this paper up early enough Wednesday (Feb. 16) you can still catch the Ohlone College production of The Time Machine, or Love Among the Eloi, playwright Edward Mast's work directed by Tom Blank based on H.G. Wells' classic sci-fi tale of a future paradise and its hidden secret.

The featured play Thursday, Feb. 17, is Up: The Man in the Flying Chair by students from University of Idaho. It tells the story of Walter Griffen who, after flying heavenward in a lawn chair/weather balloon contraption, has not quite returned to a grounded life. Both plays begin at 7:30 p.m. in the Van Duzer Theatre.

You can't just buy a show ticket to go to the plays; you must sign up for a $20 single day pass to the festival at the JVD Box Office. Of course that will also allow you to attend the workshops. For example one on Thursday afternoon at 3 p.m. in Gist Hall Theatre is called, "Ripping Apart The Body," wherein Jay Duckworth and the properties team from The Public Theater show you how to make a fake mutilated dead body, something they did for a Shakespeare in The Park production of The Bacchae. In part it involved talking the director out of using real meat. (That one's probably not for the faint-hearted.)

Friday night at the Van Duzer the main attraction is an awards presentation, probably not something the general public would be into, but there are a couple of sessions of interest earlier in the day: From 9:30 until noon in the Theatre Arts Building Studio Theatre there's the KCACTF version of the Ten Minute Play Festival like the one they do every year at HSU. Among the half dozen short plays is Sweet Mother of God by Kristin Mack, first presented at HSU's 10-Min. Fest 2009.

Then at 1:30 p.m. Friday Blue Lake's own Dell'Arte International presents the keynote performance in the Van Duzer with several of the company's physical theatre pieces assembled expressly for the festival and a Q&A following.

More details on all things KCACTF-43 can be found at For information on day passes and festival registration, call the HSU Department of Theatre, Film and Dance office at 826-3566.



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