(December 18, 2008)

Contact: Rick DelaHaya, Centenary News Services, 318.869.5073

Centenary Play Headed for Kennedy Center Festival

SHREVEPORT, La.—Centenary College's fall production of "Metamorphoses" gained entry into one of eight regional competitions for the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival. Students, faculty and staff will travel to Texas State University in San Marcos on Feb. 23-28 to present their work.

"We have a great theater program that needs to be recognized," said Emily Heugatter, assistant theater professor and director of "Metamorphoses." "Our production was one of seven productions selected from a few hundred entries in our region to compete."

Seven productions — selected from colleges in Louisiana, Texas, Arkansas, Oklahoma and New Mexico — will compete against one another for a chance to advance to nationals in Washington, D.C. The festival's national winner — chosen from the eight regional winners — will stage their show at the Kennedy Center.

 Three Centenary theatre majors and "Metamorphoses" cast members — senior Nate Wasson, and juniors Lorna Dopson Scott Gibbs — also earned a chance to compete for regional Irene Ryan talent scholarships, valued at $500 each. If they win, they can compete for $2,500 national prizes. Each will have to prepare two scenes and a monologue for the competition.

The play is an adaptation of Ovid's Metamorphoses, by Mary Zimmerman, an assistant professor of performance studies at Northwestern University in Chicago. It was originally developed as a school project and dramatizes several of the well-known myths and characters by Ovid, including a few that are well known - King Midas and his golden touch, Narcissus and his reflection, and Orpheus and Euridice. The play subtly mixes the ancient stories of pathos and tragedy with contemporary language, humor, and thought, all enacted in and around a large pool of water in the center of the stage.

On Feb. 6-7, Centenary will present fundraiser performances of "Metamorphoses" at the college's Marjorie Lyons Playhousebeginning at 8 p.m. each night. Tickets are $10.

To pay for the Texas trip, Heugatter said her department aims to raise at least $7,000 to defray travel, lodging and food costs for 20 students. If they raise more, money will be used to cover expenses for four faculty and staff members. 

"It's going to be an expensive trip," Heugatter noted. The department must truck the production's signature set-piece — a large pool — to Texas along with a complex set. 

Heugatter hopes the students gain from the experience, and she's been glad to hear the campus buzzing about the festival.

 "It's a huge honor not only to the department but also the entire college," Heugatter said. "I've been overwhelmed by the amount of support we've gotten."

Started in 1969 by Roger L. Stevens, the Kennedy Center's founding chairman, the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival (KCACTF) is a national theater program involving 18,000 students from colleges and universities nationwide which has served as a catalyst in improving the quality of college theater in the United States. The KCACTF has grown into a network of more than 600 academic institutions throughout the country, where theater departments and student artists showcase their work and receive outside assessment by KCACTF respondents.

About Centenary College of Louisiana

Centenary College is a private, four-year arts and sciences college affiliated with the United Methodist Church. Founded in 1825, it is the oldest chartered liberal arts college west of the Mississippi River and is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. Centenary is one of 16 colleges and universities constituting the Associated Colleges of the South and is regularly rated as one of the top colleges in the South. In 2008 Centenary College celebrates 100 years in Shreveport and Bossier City.