Theatre Simpson students perform for first-year students

Jenny Wilkerson and Chris Williams in a scene about the tragedy that results from drunk driving.

Powerful, engaging theatre can be created with four actors, a bare stage, and some rehearsal furniture.  Last Saturday night first-year students at Simpson College attended a performance of Risqué Business directed by senior theatre major Meghan Vosberg.  The vignettes are an introduction to some of the issues the college students may face as they navigate their journey into college life.  Performed by four theatre majors, Risqué Businesshas become a tradition at Simpson since the late 90s.

Natalie Hining and Jenny Wilkerson

The students who performed this year find the performance to be a great way to introduce new students to topics that are sometimes challenging to talk about.  The actors see the performance as a conversation starter.  The scenes bring many issues (date rape, eating disorders, depression, and others) to life in front of the students in a safe and often lively performance environment.  Chris Wiliams, an actor in the project, thinks the performance is a very important step in the orientation process.  “The cards are laid on the table and what a good way to get thrown into something.”  Natalie Hining agrees with Williams.  I remember sitting in the seats of Pote as a first-year and watching Risqué Business, it left a huge impression on me and I’m glad to be a part of it this year. “

Clay Daggett and Chris Williams

To prepare the project the director and actors arrived to campus a week before classes started and rehearsed together for about 30 hours.   They were able to immerse themselves in the act of creating theatre.  This is just one opportunity for Theatre Simpson students this year.  Next stop: auditions for Women Beware Women and The Glass Menagerie.

Chris Williams, Jenny Wilkerson, Natalie Hinning.

Portrait of A.H. Blank

The A.H. Blank portrait hanging in the main lobby

The portrait of A.H. Blank has been relocated to the newly expanded lobby of Blank Performing Arts Center.  The college commissioned the portrait from New York artist Joseph Margulies (1896-1984) when the Performing Arts Center was first built.  The painting was unveiled in 1971 by Dr. Blank’s son, Myron N. Blank, during the dedication ceremony.

Thanks in part to a generous donation by the Myron and Jacqueline Blank Foundation the college was able to expand the Performing Arts Center, upgrade Pote Theatre and make the building handicap accessible.  The painting of Dr. Blank now hangs above the donor sign recognizing many of the individuals and organizations that helped make the project possible.

Preparations are being made for the “Love Letters. . .From Our New Home; A Grand Theatrical Celebration.”  The event is September 10 and reservations can be made at http://simpson.tix.com