Collaboration's the ThingGAMBIER, Ohio (February 4, 2008) The student actors in Blood: Of Brothers and Sisters have a stronger than usual investment in their roles. That's because they're not only playing the characters. They also collaborated with their professor to create the entire drama, working intensively last semester in a new course focusing on ensemble performance.
The product of their labors goes on stage this winter, with performances on February 7, 8, and 9, at 8:00 p.m. in the Bolton Theater. The play is directed by Molly Rice, visiting assistant professor of drama.
Blood: Of Brothers and Sisters is "all about collaboration," said Rice, who wrote the original play together with the twelve students in her fall-term course, 'Ensemble Creation and Performance.' Rice, a playwright whose work has been staged throughout the country, picked the theme--the dynamics of family relationships--but the students developed the story line.
"Everyone has a family, for better or worse, and you're stuck with it for life," said Rice. "The play is about family as an organism. It's about how we regenerate it, replace it, and rebuild it."
Rice selected the students for the course based in part on the nature and variety of their interests. The class included a tap dancer, a figure skater, musicians, and a speaker of Arabic. "I was looking for people with unique, hidden talents," said Rice. "Their individual interests are what inspired the play."
The work developed through a series of exercises based on the family unit that the students built. Rice paired students as siblings and sent them out to enact various scenarios. One pair of "siblings," for example, went shopping for a birthday gift for their mother. As the pair described the experience to the rest of the class, dramatic ideas emerged.
Rice feels that the ensemble course nicely complements the more traditional elements in Kenyon's drama curriculum. "I've worked with Kenyon graduates," she said, "and I feel such a strong backbone of the understanding of theater coming from them."
General admission for Blood: Of Brothers and Sisters is $5; groups of ten or more, $2.50 per person; seniors, non-Kenyon students and children, $2; Kenyon students, $1. The extension for the Bolton Box Office is 5546.