The College of the Sequoias October production of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” is going places.
The production is one of eight out of 60 nominated shows from colleges and universities in the southwest region of the U.S. to be selected for presentation at the regional finals of the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival. The event will be held February in Los Angeles.
If you didn’t get a chance to see the show in October, there will be two fund-raising January performances at COS to kick off the road to L.A.
I caught up with director Chris Mangels, who penned the adaptation, to ask him how complicated it will be to take such a big and elaborate production on the road.
When was the selection made?
I was contacted by Matt Neves, the new head of Region 8, on Saturday, December 7. I told my colleagues first, my cast second, and then we announced it to the school and on our Facebook page on Monday, December 9. Things have been hopping all over COS ever since.
Has COS ever received this honor before?
No. This is only our second year being involved with KC / ACTF. We were contacted about last year’s production of “Boeing-Boeing” potentially going to the Festival, but I had not designed the set to travel so we withdrew ourselves from consideration for the honor. It taught me that we might have a fighting chance of taking a production on the road, however, so this year we threw all our eggs in the “Midsummer” basket and designed the whole show with the potential to be loaded up and taken to LA. Luckily for us, it paid off. We are really excited!
How much money do you have to raise to make this happen?
The COS Board and Administration is being INCREDIBLY supportive of our students for this venture. They want to really make it a wonderful experience and hope that as many of our students as possible can go to the festival. We are looking to raise at least $30,000 for the 40+ students, 4 faculty members, and entire production to get down to LA in February.
How many students will be involved in the L.A. trip?
The number is not exact because there is still some movement in backstage positions, but we expect about 40 students will be going. Some of them are invited to the festival because of Irene Ryan nominations (the annual acting competition that culminates at the Kennedy Center in April) for other shows, but they will also help with the load-in and strike of our production. We try to make the COS Theatre Department a big family for our students and supporters and everyone has a really big stake in this show being a success.
When and where will the L.A. performances be?
It will be on one of three stages at the LA Theatre Center. We haven’t been notified of which one yet, though I am expecting the largest space because it’s a pretty big show. The festival goes from February 12-15, and we are currently waiting to find out which of those days we will be performing.To prepare the students for the production in LA, we are remounting the show on our own COS stage on Thursday, January 30, and Friday, January 31, at 7:30pm. These encore performances will serve to raise funds for the trip, give the students a chance to re-visit everything in front of an audience, and give audiences a chance to see this great production once more (or for the first time if they missed it last October).