Students write original plays for upcoming Fringe Festival
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Every year, the Westmont Fringe Festival offers students of all years and majors the opportunity to create original theatrical work for both the Westmont and larger Santa Barbara communities. With this year’s Fringe production team pushing for more student-written work, several students have written short plays that will appear in this April’s festival.
Senior English major Danee Kaltenbach has written plays for creative writing classes before, but her short, stream-of-consciousness style play “Little Worlds” will be the first time her work will be performed. Utilizing painting as a central metaphor, Kaltenbach’s semi-autobiographical play explores the voices that influence identity and what it means to learn to be okay with one’s self. “I’m excited and nervous and scared about creating something new,” Kaltenbach admits, “I want to make something beautiful, and I’m excited to make art with people.” Describing her artistic ethos, Kaltenbach says, “Every time I write something it ends up being a bit autobiographical. I use art as a way of taking things that I’m dealing with outside of myself and looking at them from a distance through my art.” Kaltenbach will direct her own piece, making “Little Words” her directorial debut as well.
Juniors Caleb Rodriguez and Logan Foltz and third-year senior Hannah Krieshok are also making their playwriting and directorial debuts at the festival with “A Dose of Potassium,” an absurdist dramedy about “a banana living in a man’s world.” Rodriguez is a biology/English double major, Foltz is a chemistry major, and Krieshok is an English major pursuing the credential program. Their piece, co-written and directed by all three students, follows the central character--a Banana--through the heartbreaking, hilarious, and otherworldly experiences of its life. “Hopefully, as the audience follows this Banana through its life, they will be surprised and entertained,” the directors say, “And perhaps they may find themselves relating more than they thought they could to a simple fruit trying to make its way in a world dominated by mankind.”
Tackling selfhood through a different lens, third-year senior English/theatre major Leslie Duggin was inspired by questions about her own identity to write her short play “Do Lesbian Robots Dream of Rainbow Sheep?”. The play features a robot named Lydia questioning her sexuality through PowerPoint, and thematically examines the nature of love, the discovery of sexuality, and what it means to be human. “I’m so excited to see my characters brought to life,” Duggin says, “But because it’s so personal, I have a lot of strong images in my head of what things look like, so I’m going to have to practice allowing a different artistic vision to take over.” Duggin’s play will be directed by alumnus Leah Monica.
These and other new works will show at the Fringe Festival on April 19-22. Fringe auditions will take place in Porter Theatre at 7pm on March 5, and all students are encouraged to participate. Students can earn up to two credits of TA-050 or TA-060 for participating in Fringe.