Bismarck State College Theatre returned with two outstanding production awards from the regional Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival Jan. 18-22 at Iowa State University.
The cast of "Comic Potential" received an Award of Merit for ensemble acting from the festival selection team that viewed the play last fall. Erin Drevlow, guest dialect and movement coach, earned an Award of Merit for composing the "actoids" robotic gestures in Alan Ayckbourn's futuristic satire of television.
The BSC play was among several award-winning productions by two- and four-year colleges in a seven-state region.
Brittany Kuhn of Mandan and Mercer Sage of Bismarck performed in the Director's Showcase. They were selected by audition from a field of 300 students.
"Comic Potential" actors, Ashley Clooten and Derek Harper of Bismarck, performed prepared monologues for the Irene Ryan Audition contest. ACTF judges chose them last fall to vie for awards and scholarships.
For the first time, BSC fielded a technical team for the festival's Stage Crew Showdown. Theatre Director Dan Rogers said the crew "rocked the house and put BSC's technical theatre program on the map in a big way. The team consistently surprised judges and viewers."
Twelve colleges mounted stage crews, and BSC was the only two-year college that competed.
The Stage Crew Showdown is basically a stagehand Olympics, said Dean Bellin, technical theatre director. Students perform relays, place and strike sets and props, focus lights, tie knots and more in timed events for quality points.
Bellin has worked to expand BSC's technical theatre option the past three years. His four top students competed at ACTF: Tim Rosen, Jack Golden and Jesse Schumaker, all of Bismarck, and Chelsea Brown of Mandan.
"This was a big step in building the program and challenging our students with highly technical skills," Bellin said. "That's what technical theater is - practical hands-on engineering. It also involves a great deal of creativity."