is the grass any bluer...

is the grass any bluer...
on the other side?

Monday, May 30, 2011

Taking Creative Risks - Trish Clark on "The Impersonation of Being Ernest"

Nick Vannoy is sassy and brassy
as Fairfax

“The person who risks nothing, does nothing, has nothing, is nothing, and becomes nothing. He may avoid suffering and sorrow, but he simply cannot learn and feel and change and grow and love and live.” -- Leo Buscaglia 

To sit down and talk with Patricia Clark is to experience the great joy of conversation. Trish is an attentive, active listener, but when she speaks, there is no ignoring what she has to say. She's honest, she speaks from her heart, and has such a capacity for artistic expression, her words carry an impact like few others.

Kathryn Sternberger, a student at KCT last summer,
came up with the idea with fellow student
Elaina Henderson, while working on an assignment
from instructor Henry Layton.  
When I dropped in on rehearsal Friday, Trish and I had a chance to chat about how Kentucky Conservatory Theatre's newest offering has gone from an idea to a full production of a brand spanking new play.  Kentucky Conservatory Theatre's Director of Education tells me, "The concept for what is now The Impersonation of Being Ernest was born out of a class assignment in our summer intensive last year. In his Stage Combat class, Henry Layton asked his students to find a scene where physical combat might take the place of conflict in the scene. Elaina Henderson and Kathryn Sternberger brought in the scene between Cecily and Gwendolyn from Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest."
Elaina Henderson as Cecily; Kathryn Sternberger as Gwen
in Layton's class last summer.

"What they created was great fun and a perfect example of how we can take a classic and bring a modern twist to it that the younger generation can enjoy as a message for today! Sully White and I loved the scene so much that the idea of working with a full production seemed perfect for showing what a student’s idea could actually turn into."
Sharonda Piersall - Miss Prism

The ensemble cast of KCT instructors, alumni, and students was gathered in the fall of 2010 as ideas began to emerge and the process of writing and rehearsing the script for development began in February.  
Wait until you see uber-glam Ellie Clark's
video in her role as Gwen!
Ellie is the Assistant Director of Education
at Kentucky Conservatory Theatre

"It has taken great tenacity on all our parts to create this modern and very physical adaptation. Spencer Christensen‘s amazing adaptation of the script has proven to be the life force for this project. And even as he has been the main eye as overall director, Henry Layton, Jenny Fitzpatrick, Ellie Clark and the rest of the ensemble were dedicated to every aspect of this production using their specific skills to create and tell the story in the physically exhausting and spoof-like style you will see."

Evan Bergman plays Dr. Chausable,
who, along with Ms. Prism,
is perpetually seeking ways to
achieve higher imperium.

Clark explains their purpose in mounting such a show is to present information about the training ground of Kentucky Conservatory Theatre. "Training for our students primarily focuses on the physical tool. For the age group on which we focus, the actor’s comfort with his/her body is a priority for learning strong acting choices. There are no talking heads allowed in this program! And this show certainly proves it what is practiced in the training ground!"
Jenny Fitzpatrick is the dancer
with the answer.  
Fitzpatrick is choreographing 
SummerFest's Rocky Horror Show

"Kim, you and I had a great discussion about taking risks and how important it is to the art of theatre. The Impersonation of Being Ernest is a great risk for all of us involved in the project, but the motivation to create something different overrides our fears. The 70s and 80s were years when directors in Lexington took a lot of risks! Our attitudes were that by taking those risks, there was a better chance to create 'magic!'  If it was a flop, we just picked ourselves up, dusted ourselves off, and went about the next project. That was a really beautiful time. I am grateful that at my age, I still long for the magic and am willing to take those risks to try and capture it. The process for creating The Impersonation of Being Ernest has already been worth it!"

Trish Clark, Holly Hazelwood Brady and Ellie Clark
Pride and Prejudice, SummerFest 2010
After watching a run through of this hilarious show, I must encourage you to get yourself to the Downtown Arts Center this week to witness the result of the free-thinking process that embodies the spirit of Kentucky Conservatory Theatre. If you love dance, drama, comedy, spoofs, pop culture -- you will not be disappointed with this clever script by Spencer Christiansen.  The entire cast, from the lead characters to the silly sub-plot roles, is superb and it is obvious they are thoroughly enjoying the journey that is leading them to opening night on Wednesday.

I hope to see you there!



..........aka MUFFINS ROYALE
.............aka GWINNYFINGER

Kentucky Conservatory Theatre is taking The Importance of Being Earnest; A Trivial Comedy for Serious People by Oscar Wilde, first produced in 1895, and turning it RIGHT SIDE UP for a contemporary audience of 2011. Intended as a recruitment tool for Kentucky Conservatory Theatre’s summer intensive, the play showcases teaching artists, alumni and students of the Conservatory. Adapted by Spencer Christensen, The IMPERSONATION of BEING ERNEST is a hilariously funny, highly physical, ultra-modern spoof on contemporary pop culture, 007 and the trivial aspects of living in today’s modern society. 

Visit Facebook page - Who is Jack Worthing - or follow on twitter @GLAMFairfax.

Wednesday June 1st through Saturday June 4th @ 7:30
& Sunday June 5th @ 2:00

The Downtown Arts Center
141 East Main Street, Lexington

(859) 225-0370
$15 Adults & $10 Students & Seniors
Discounts apply for groups of 15 or more

On Stage:
Jack Worthing– Henry Layton
Algy Moncrieff– Jesse Hungerford
Lane – Wilson Shirley
Lt. Fairfax – Nick Vannoy (in drag)
Gwen Fairfax – Ellie Clark
Cecily Cardew – Jenny Fitzpatrick
Dr. Chausable – Evan Bergman
Ms. Prism – Sharonda Lynn Piersall
Dancers – Paige Mason, McKenzie Claypoole

Behind the Scenes:
Producer - Trish Clark
Director - Spencer Christensen
Fight Director - Henry Layton
Choreographer - Jenny Fitzpatrick
Rehearsal Consultant - Sully White
Videographer - Natalie Baxter
Costume Design - Wes Nelson
Lighting Design - Todd Pickett
Stage Manager - Lisa Blevins
Asst. Stage Manager - Emma Ireland

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