Hartnell production of ‘Ubu Roi’ holds promise of recognition

Publish Date: 
Dec 6, 2018
Two Actors on stage in Western Stages provocative play Ubu Roi

When a Hartnell College adaptation of the provocative play “Ubu Roi” takes to the stage on Dec. 7-9, the potential audience could extend all the way to the John F. Kennedy Center of Performing Arts in Washington.

Based loosely on William Shakespeare’s “Macbeth,” the original work by Alfred Jarry sparked outrage when it opened in Paris in 1896. The Hartnell students have tailored the roles and script to emphasize parallels in current American politics.

The students have a chance to achieve wider recognition and artistic growth as entrants in the 2019 Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival for colleges and universities. A judge from Weber University in Ogden, Utah, will watch the Saturday performance to critique both the play and the players.

The national festival begins with a multi-state regional round and will culminate in selection of productions, writers and actors to participate at the Kennedy Center on April 15-20.

Dr. Marnie Glazier, Hartnell’s faculty lead for Theatre & Cinematic Arts and director of “Ubu Roi,” said the opportunity to advance in the festival is especially valuable for community college students.

“They especially benefit from the Kennedy Center festival,” she said, “because they’re performing in front of UCLA and USC and all of these schools that they can go to.”

In 2015, Glazier’s second year at Hartnell, a student production of “The Birds” was chosen to participate in “An Evening of Invited Scenes” at a region-level event in Hawaii.

Three members of the “Ubu Roi” cast are vying for 2019 festival acting scholarships, and third-year theatre major Jonathon Perez will compete as a director. A graduate of North Salinas High School, he rewrote Hartnell’s adaptation of “Ubu” and is the production’s assistant director.

Perez said his focus in the revision was on “getting rid of characters that didn’t need to be there and just trying to make it come to life, with more energy within the show.”

The cast and crew of about 20 students are all enrolled in an Ensemble Theatre Production course. Several hope to transfer to a university and earn a four-year degree in theatre — and perhaps a master’s. Others are involved for the sheer joy and camaraderie of performing.

Brianna Sandoval, a 2018 Hartnell graduate who is playing the major role of Ubu’s wife, hopes to apply drama as a form of therapy in her chosen field of psychology, which is her major at California State University, Monterey Bay.

Cast member Michaela Walker-Miller, who is studying sociology, theatre and nursing at Hartnell, said she hopes audiences who watch “Ubu Roi” will find the same satisfaction she does.

“Acting, and theater in general, sheds a light on life itself,” she said.

TO ATTEND

  • 7:30 p.m. Dec. 7-8, Studio Theatre of the Center for Performing Arts, Building K, room 116, at Hartnell College, 411 Central Ave., Salinas. Suggested donation: $5.
  • 2 p.m. Dec. 9, MCAET Blackbox Theatre at the Monterey County Office of Education, 901 Blanco Circle, Salinas. This performance will be videotaped for future educational use. Suggested donation: $5.
  • Information: Dr. Marnie Glazier, mglazier@hartnell.edu.