LMC actors impress Denver

Drama performs at regional competition

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“It was exhilarating,” said Drama Department Chair and Instructor Nick Garcia after participating in the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival. The 29 students who attended along with Garcia and Instructional Assistant Eric Sanchez are back in familiar territory after spending a week at the conference in Denver, Colarado. The actors got to perform LMC student Federico Bartolo’s original hip-hopera “My Block.”

In addition to the performances, students also got to participate in workshops, one of which was led by Garcia, and reconnect with former LMC drama students as well. Bartolo in particular spent some time “networking with the faculty and staff of the Kennedy Center and building a strong foundation for my future.”

Garcia said the focus was on the students and Sanchez, who took on the role of an advisor, agreed, saying “we really wanted to promote the talent in our school,” and they did just that.

Bartolo won the National Hip Hop Theater Creator Award and he isn’t the only one who has big plans. According to an email, Elysse Green, who recently starred in LMC’s production of “Ruined”, received a callback from Southern Oregon University. For her “Next Step” audition, she was offered a scholarship through Notre Dame de Namur University.

Stephanie Lutz, who stage-managed for “Ruined,” got three personal phone calls from heads of departments from Central Washington University, University of Wyoming and Humboldt State. She also “got a gig for the first two days programming the lighting for a world recognized mime, Bill Bowers.”

“I did it as a favor to the KCACTF Region 7 chair, who was extremely pleased with the results.” said Lutz.

Tiffanie Moore was offered a scholarship after her Next Step audition last year from the University of Idaho, where she will be transferring next.

“Thanks to LMC and the wonderful opportunity to attend the festival, without KCACTF this dream would not have been possible. Being a part of ‘My Block’ really impressed my future professors and contributed to my transfer program,” said Moore.

The entire troupe demonstrated all the skills they learned attending Los Medanos — skills that allowed them to bring their audience members to their feet.

“I heard the audience cheer with passion for the cast during curtain call and then stepping out to a standing ovation,” said Bartolo. “That’s a moment I’ll never forget.”

Sanchez echoed similar sentiments in terms of other people’s reaction to LMC’s performance.

“The president of the ACTF was so moved by our play, he almost had tears in his eyes,” said Sanchez.

The president was not alone, said Garcia.

“We had students from other schools coming up to us with tears in their eyes,” he said. “Some of those students expressed how inspired they were by LMC’s actors.”

Since there were students from universities, one might think students from a small community college might be intimidated, but Garcia noted that if they were, they certainly pulled through it and impressed all the other schools.

He further expressed that he was “incredibly proud” of his students.

“We were definitely one of the best schools out of all the ones I saw,” said Sanchez.

Though drama is typically a tightknit group, having to eat and sleep around each other and receive critiques on their performances, bonded them together even more.

“Every group has its dynamics and people make alliances with one another,” Sanchez said. “It’s important for them to show that they support LMC and show solidarity.”

Student Du’Praiseja Smith said she learned a lot from her recent experiences at the conference. “What I took away was that knowing the right people will get you far. So it’s best to make friends wherever you go.”

As for Bartolo, he has high hopes for his future in the world of theater.

“I hope to be recognized as an established playwright in the future because, with the connections I’ve made at the festival, I have people who are taking an active investment in me and my success as a playwright,” he said. “With the right people in my corner, sky’s the limit.”