DWU's Student-directed show ‘Extremities’ chosen for theater festivalDakota Wesleyan theater students nominated for prestigious scholarship.
By: News release, Dakota Wesleyan University
The two-year-old Bachelor of Fine Arts program at Dakota Wesleyan University recently received validation in the form of multiple nominations for the prestigious Irene Ryan Scholarship and major kudos from the judge representing the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival.
The production of “Extremities,” which was performed on campus Dec. 7-10, was juried for the KCACTF in April.
“We will not be taking the whole show to the KCACTF but we were asked to bring the scene in which Marjorie is attacked and then fends off and cages her attacker, Raul. The respondent, Dr. Pamela Wegner from Black Hills State University, stated that she had never seen such well executed combat in a production,” said Dan Miller, DWU theater director.
Miller oversaw the production, set design and publicity of the show, but the play was directed by BFA major Jessica Phillips, Mitchell, as her senior project.
“It was definitely a challenging experience,” Phillips said. “It was also great that I had the actors’ support and commitment, otherwise this show could have failed. Luckily we have a really great group of people. We are a great big dysfunctional bunch, but when we get together on a project like this we make it work. I am ecstatic that we’re going to KCACTF; my actors are truly amazing and deserve to show their talent to a broader audience.”
“Extremities” was first performed off Broadway in 1982 with Susan Sarandon in the leading role, later to be taken over by Farrah Fawcett who went on to play the same character in the film version. The story centers on Marjorie, who is attacked in her home by would-be rapist Raul, but she is able to turn the tables on her attacker. What follows is a study on the differing views of rape and vigilante justice in society as seen through the eyes of Raul, Marjorie and her two roommates.
DWU students Nicole Anderson, Watertown, who played Marjorie; Chris Ferera, Riverside, Calif., who played Raul; and Megan Reimnitz, Corsica, who played Patricia, were all nominated for the Irene Ryan Scholarship.
Since 1972, the Irene Ryan Foundation of Encino, Calif., has awarded scholarships to the outstanding student performers at each regional festival, according to the Kennedy Center’s website. These scholarships are made possible by the generosity of the late Irene Ryan who is best remembered for her portrayal of the lovable and feisty Granny Clampett in “The Beverly Hillbillies.”
In DWU’s region there are about 350 students who compete for the scholarship; only one will win.
“Other comments from our respondent were that she was very impressed with the directing abilities of an undergraduate student,” Miller said. “This is such a complex show that it would normally be directed by a graduate student or professor. Dr. Wegner went on to say that this was the best production of this play she had ever seen.”
The cast includes: Anderson; Reimnitz; Kari Durham, Cape Coral, Fla., as roommate Terry; and Ferera. The director is Phillips, stage manager is A.J. Miller, Mitchell, and set construction is by Jake Habermann, Mitchell.
“Personally, I believe this simply validates the B.F.A. program we have in place, which prepares our students for a theatre career and/or graduate school,” Miller said.