Diving Into Drama

Here is a heads up on the faculty and student producers for those of you who are not yet familiar with the leaders that make up this talented department. The chairman of the PA theatre department for the past three years (and next three) is Bruce Bacon ’74. A PA graduate that holds a B.A. degree in Theater and Mathematics from Amherst College and an M.F.A. degree from the Yale School of Drama, Mr. Bacon designs and builds the scenery for the Theater 520 productions, the mainstage faculty-directed term productions. He also teaches set design and stagecraft courses, as well as sections of the required Theater 200 course. He, along with Instructor in Theater Mark Efinger ’74, who is also featured in the article, is an advisor to the Drama Lab Producers, students with leadership roles in this department. Mark Efinger is an instructor of acting and directing and is returning to campus this fall from a year-long sabbatical. Also a PA graduate, Mr. Efinger held the position of artistic director for Zeiwbreaken American Playhouse during his army career in Germany, where he acted with community and professional theatres. Upon returning to the states, he began directing and teaching at the University of North Carolina, where he earned his M.F.A degree. Mr. Efinger will be directing two 520s this year: a South African play called The Bells of Amersfoort as the fall production and The Pirates of Penzance in the spring with Chris Walters as the Music Director. Instructor in Theater Kevin Heelan, who instructs classes on playwriting, acting, and directing, has written and directed many shows of his own. Among the plays he has written is Distant Fires, which was shown off-Broadway and nominated for the Outer Critics Circle Award as best play and went on to be produced in Los Angeles starring Samuel L. Jackson; the show was later nominated for Hollywood’s Ovation Award. Along with writing plays and their screen adaptations, Mr. Heelan also wrote and co-produced the pilot episode of a television series called 704 Hustler. He joined the PA faculty in 1983 and this year will be co-directing Hamlet as the Winter Term THEA-520 with Instructor in Theater and English Jean St. Pierre. Instructor in Theater Billy Murray teaches classes on costume and lighting design. He holds a B.A. degree in theatrical arts and classical studies and an M.F.A. degree in fine arts education from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. He has created costumes for many shows done at PA. His credits include costume and lighting design for Misanthrope, The Crucible, Elixir of Love; scenic design for the National Opera, Gianni Schicchi, M Schicchi, Evita, La Boheme, Street Scene, University of North Carolina, Conservatory of Music; and cutter/draper for Julius Caesar, The Matchmaker, The Dybik, As You Like It, North Carolina Shakespeare Festival. Jean St. Pierre, the most senior member of the Andover faculty, teaches English in Bulfinch, as well as theater in George Washington Hall. Ms. St. Pierre has been teaching at PA since the union of Phillips and Abbot, where she had been teaching since 1963. Ms. St. Pierre has served as the chair for both the English and Theatre departments and has directed one play production course every year. These productions have included Master Harold and the Boys, Death of a Salesman, The Importance of Being Ernest, and last year’s smash hit All My Sons. Instructor in Dance Mark Broomfield has worked with AileyCamp in Boston. He was the resident choreographer for Dance Theatre Santa Fe for Santa Fe Community College in Florida and holds a B.A. degree in communication from the State University of New York and an M.F.A. degree from the University of Michigan. Judith Wombwell, who danced for many years with the Ballet Memphis in Tennessee, where she served as the ballet mistress, is the head of the Dance Department at Andover. Not only has Ms. Wombwell choreographed full length productions of Alice in Wonderland and Cinderella, she also has founded and co-directed the modern dance company Motion and has designed multiple programs that bring professional dance into city schools. This past spring, she directed a group of PA students in the show Rhinoceros, which they took to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in Scotland over the summer. Ms. Wombwell will be on sabbatical for the duration of the 2003-2004 year. Last, but certainly not least are the student leaders for this department: the Drama Lab Producers, Ali Schouten ’04, Jenny Byer ’04, and Lydia Wallace ’04. “The producers,” as they are referred to on campus, work with the theatre and dance faculty to supervise student directors and shows running in the theatre department. Each has had a plethora of experience working with drama program here on campus and, as Schouten ’04, has said, “we hope to get many more students involved with the already strong theatre program at Andover.” Supporting Schouten’s idea and expressing the confidence she has in their group this year, Byer ’04, commented, “I believe in [the producers] we have this year and I think the three of us will work well together; our interests are diverse and our differences with compliment one another’s.” Their first project will be the orientation show this coming Saturday, and campus theatergoers look forward to the rest. Whether you’re interested in dancing, acting, directing, costuming, light design or anything else, you’ll find the perfect mentor to help you develop your skills. With such a wonderful program, it is a great time to be involved in Andover theatre and dance, so audition and do not doubt yourself, because as Shakespeare once wrote, “our doubts are traitors and make us lose the good we oft might win by fearing to attempt.”