Mesa Community College’s Theatre and film arts department is taking a trip to Los Angeles this month to compete in Region VIII of the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival.
The festival, held Feb. 11-15, gives students from colleges and universities across the country the opportunity to be recognized and mentored in the field of fine art.
Students are given the chance to showcase skills like acting, scriptwriting, directing, and theatrical design, as well as gain recognition, awards, and scholarships for those talents.
Roughly 600 schools are involved in this festival, with around 50-70 colleges competing alongside MCC in Region VIII.
Those students selected to attend the festival, seven of which are from MCC, are done so by being adjudicated by a group of local theater respondents.
These seven students were selected for their participation in two MCC productions, “East of the Sun and West of the Moon”, and “Boeing Boeing.”
Those selected for the acting portion of the festival must prepare a three-minute scene to perform, usually with a partner.
Christopher Rodriguez was selected to perform as one of these partners for the 2012 festival.
” I was selected as an Irene Ryan Scholarship partner last year and got to perform a scene from ‘My Favorite Year’ in front of the judges at festival,” Rodriguez said. “Even though the nominee I was partnered with didn’t make it to the semifinals, we got to go to Los Angeles for four days and absolutely everything was paid for. It was a wonderful experience.”
With over 300 competitors in the acting category and 30-40 competitors in the design category, from all different academic institutions, there is some tough competition.
“The competition is all head-to-head,” said Kevin Dressler, program director for the theatre department at MCC and also a respondent for the festival. “We could take a freshman from a community college and they could be competing against a fine arts student who’s been in school for seven years and has a master’s degree.”
But Dressler said this won’t hinder MCC’s motivation to succeed at the festival.
“We will compete with anybody, anytime, anywhere, anyhow,” said Dressler. “We back down from no one.”