Limelight on 2016 Senior Art Thesis Art Exhibition

By Bobby Costanzo

IMG_0640The spring 2016 Senior Art Thesis Exhibition opened Thursday, April 21, highlighting nine works of senior that reflect the knowledge and technique gained in four years working toward their Visual and Performing Arts degree.

At the Exhibition’s opening night in the Mary Cosgrove Dolphin Gallery in the Ghosh Science and Tech building, the excited, yet nervous buzz could be felt throughout the building as many friends, family and lovers of the arts came in and viewed the captivating collection. The artists attended and answered questions from the crowds with grace and maturity, explaining their motive for each piece of work and the detail in the techniques.

One piece in the exhibit that really stood out because of its size, placement and visual impact was by Rebeca Ruiz expresses the troubles of boarder walls and how they separate families. Words written in red on the gray surface of pieces of concrete blocking laying at the base of the wall express feelings families face trying to get to their desired country. The words express hopelessness and fear. The wall is a symbolic barrier for many future immigrants and those who may never enter the country where they want to start a better life.

From cut paper collage, to this expressive block wall, each piece in the gallery explains a story with deep meaning that can be felt by looking at it. Just sitting in the gallery, looking at the beauty, it must be an amazing feeling for each senior to know to see their pieces and recognizes how much they’ve grown during their four years at Worcester State.

The Gallery is open until May 13 on Tuesdays through Fridays from 11-5 p.m. and on Saturdays, 1-5 p.m.

With these seniors ready to graduate, it will be their last undergraduate work displayed, so make sure to visit the Gallery.

Limelight on CitySpeak: CitySpeak Sparks Interest from the Media

complete stageBy: Bobby Costanzo

The Interdisciplinary event CitySpeak, created by students and faculty from multiple departments of Worcester State University, has been the buzz of the city, after articles were published in several Worcester sources.

The Worcester Telegram and Gazette’s Bonnie Russell interviewed the Visual and Performing Art’s department chair and director of CitySpeak, Adam Zahler. Also interviewed was an actor and Worcester local Eddie Sanchez who expressed the goals of the event to Russell.

Another article came from Worcester Magazine and was written by Joshua Lyford.  Lyford got in depth with director Adam Zahler, talking about how CitySpeak was pieced together, included creativity from the students involved and how the devised piece worked as whole.

The importance of CitySpeak is the conversation. Opening the doors to interaction between those who live in a city and those who run the city. The coverage from Worcester Magazine, Worcester Telegram and Gazette, WSU News and the New Worcester Spy form just the beginning of the conversation.

Zahler’s schedule with the media looked similar to that of a movie star, especially when he added his third interview with Noah Goldfarb, a member of the New Worcester Spy. Goldfarb interviewed Zahler and Department chair for the Urban Studies Department, Thomas Conroy. Conroy and Zahler worked side by side, along with VPA Professor Sam O’Connell, throughout the development of this production, guiding the production toward completion and ensuring the use of the arts as a way to tell the story of the city.

In addition to the podcast, Mike Dery, writer for the New Worcester Spy, added his voice to the CitySpeak media buzz with “CitySpeak Catches Fire.”

Through hard work, collaboration and a TON of creativity, this theatrical piece created a fistful of buzz in the Worcester media and on April 7. 8, 9 and 10, the audiences will leave with ideas and plans to fix problems in their communities and overall make their communities better.

Make sure to see CitySpeak April 7-9 at 8 p.m. and April 10 at 2 p.m. Purchase tickets in advance by contacting the Box Office at 508-929-8843 or at VPABoxOffice@worcester.edu. Tickets are also available at the door.

Lancer’s in the Limelight: Jon Bethel in his final WSU performance CitySpeak

IMG_4251By Bobby Costanzo

Nearing the end of his fifth performance at Worcester State University, senior Jon Bethel is ready for this last collegiate appearance on the Fuller Theater stage.

Bethel, a passionate performer since the age of 16, brings a dynamic energy to any cast and moves a crowd to laughter whether he is on or off stage.

At 16, Bethel landed the position of understudy to the lead in his high school play, and, when the lead became unable to perform, Bethel jumped into his first leading role. The young but confident Bethel simply said, “Bring it on.”

Since studying at Worcester State, Bethel, who is a communication major, still puts his love for the stage in his busy schedule. Taking many VPA courses such as stagecraft, Acting II and Stage Combat, Bethel’s lists of skills has grown in a variety of directions. The depth of classes offered at the University allows budding theatre professionals, like Bethel, to improve their performances in all aspects.

Being at this University for four years, Bethel feels a part of the Worcester community and immersed in its culture. Being a part of CitySpeak, a production that stems from that community, gives a chance for Bethel and the others in the performance to raise awareness about problems people who live in a city experience.

And, for Bethel’s last performance, it is a way to say good-bye to the city he spent the last four years in.

CitySpeak is a joint project between Urban Studies and VPA.  In the fall, an Urban Studies class, linked to a Devised Performance class, interviewed “humans of the city” to hear concerns, and listen to their stories and experiences. The students of both classes analyzed the interviews with eyes on both the research and the performance. The VPA students and faculty then breathed life into these stories, giving these humans voice through a devised theatre production. The production presents real stories, opening the conversation for change to address issues that face the city.

As devised theatre, the stories, dialogues and themes stem from the original work of Worcester State’s Visual and Performing Arts students and faculty. Listen to the stories and you’ll hear about the lives of real people and how they face everyday strife.

CitySpeak presents real stories in a light-hearted way, opening an avenue for conversation to begin about issues that face people who live in cities. Taking place in the fictional city of “Trennenburg,” the residents of the city explain their grievances to the city officials.

CitySpeak premieres on April 7-9 at 8 p.m. in the Fuller Theater in the Shaughnessy Administration Building with a matinee on April 10 at 2 p.m. Purchase tickets in advance by contacting the Box Office at 508-929-8843 or at BoxOffice@worcester.edu. Tickets are also available at the door.

When it comes to CitySpeak, Bethel is enthusiastic about the whole project. When asked, what do you think drives you to work so hard to be ready for this play, Bethel said, “We use the people’s voices and stories for inspiration.”

Having a serious topic, but presented with humor, Bethel’s believes his roles in the performance should be some of his best. He said the audience should watch for his favorite character, the city official who hears complaints.

Limelight On Unplugged Orchestra

2016-03-08 unplugged orchestraBy Bobby Costanzo

On Tuesday, March 8, Worcester State University’s Unplugged Orchestra filled the Student Center with beautiful music, playing in the exhibit area of the busy building .As they played their instruments, many students passing by, stopped and watched the live performance, which could be heard throughout the building.

Led by VPA Professor Christie Nigro, the group is part of the Visual and Performing Arts course, MU226, which meets weekly for practice. The Unplugged Orchestra consists of 11 players and seven instruments. Having only organized for the first time this past January, the Orchestra already boasts a polished repertoire of music.

The performance was a surprise to many passing students, as live music in the student center doesn’t happen every day.

The different VPA courses offered this semester fill up the practice rooms with beautiful music and with more and more performances on campus. For example, the Choral sang for Valentine’s Day and will also perform March 31 at El Basha for “Spotlight On Broadway.”

To join the Unplugged Orchestra, students sign up for the Chamber Orchestra course which is also being offered in fall 2016. Students who want to join the vocal performances, sign up to join the Chorus or Chorale.

VPA also offers voice and instrument lessons. Auditions for spots with VPA instructors takes place on April 11. Sign up in LRC 325, VPA headquarters.

Other spring events include, the Fauré Requiem performance at All Saint Episcopal Church in late April, and CitySpeak, which begins April 7 in the Fuller Theater on campus. Another big event to look out for is Extreme ART-ery, which opens April 25 and offers 11 days of art exhibits, music and theatre put on by students and faculty in the Visual and Performing Arts Department.

For more information on future events, go to the Visual and Performing Arts website at http://www.worcester.edu/VPA

Limelight on the Gallery: The 2016 Student Art Show is a Must See inside the Science and Tech’s Hidden Gem

by Bobby Costanzo, VPA PR and marketing intern

Walking into in the Ghosh Science and Tech Center, many peek into the windows of the Mary Cosgrove Dolphin Gallery and wonder what’s inside. First, the Gallery assistant offers a warm greeting, then turning around the eyes delight in viewing a collection of such diverse and miraculous pieces, all done by students.

From small intricate wood block prints, to a life-size group drawing and a variety of sculptures, the various works interest even the first time viewer.

The pieces are hung up on white walls and stands, which make the work pop out at the viewer. And, the spotlights add a slight gleam as if the sun soloed each piece. This layout it easy to walk around and see everything in one continuous loop. Plus, the spaciousness keeps the traffic flowing while still allowing visitors the time and space to view and absorb each piece.

The best part of this Gallery is that the work comes from various students who are VPA majors, VPA minors, and people from a variety of majors who still enjoy the prospect of working in the arts. The idea that only art majors create art or have their work recognized is not the case at Worcester State. The simple act of taking one of the many classes offered by the Visual and Performing Arts Department gives every student chance to create a beautiful piece, have it hang in the Gallery and let others enjoy it.

If you’re a fan of the arts, visit the Gallery; if art is not of interest to you, still come see it! The variety of pieces meant at least one will interest even the most non-artistic eye. Who knows, visiting the Gallery could spark an interest to try out an art class for an upcoming semester.

The 2016 Student Art Exhibit is open until Feb 25. Regular Gallery hours are Tue.-Fri. 11 a.m. until 5 p.m. and Sat. 1-5 p.m.

Lancers in The Limelight: A Hard-working Senior Biotechnology Student Who Still Makes Time to Create Masterpieces

By Bobby Costanzo

Senior Danica Germain is on her last leg of her tough pursuit of a bachelor’s degree in Biotechnology. With intense classes on her mind along with working nights, most students in her shoes would just spend their minimal spare time to do nothing. Well, that’s not Danica.

Starting as early as kindergarten, Danica recognized her artistic talent, finding more enjoyment from art than the ordinary child. For multiple years, her artwork was displayed at the Worcester Art Museum in a special section for her school in West Boylston.

“It just always came naturally,” said Germain as she expressed her passion for. Germain first applied her natural abilities to fashion design, drawing her clothing ideas and designs in pencil.

Germain’s piece in the 2016 Student Art Exhibit opening Feb. 11 – 25 in the Mary Cosgrove Dolphin Gallery is a Mandala; made with a sharpie, acrylic paint, and oil pastels. The vivid coloring coming from the sun in the center represents creative and positive energy, something that makes you smile and feel energized.

The one piece Germain created in her art class for the 2016 Student Art Exhibit stands out enough, but what she does on her own time is also special to see.germain oustide project

When this May comes around, Germain will earn that biotech diploma she worked so hard for. The biotech degree is not Germain’s only story. Reaching the main goal, tells part of the story, but omits that special part. The part that’s behind the scenes and outside the classroom like jobs and hobbies. Those accomplishments, done on top of the task at hand, make a diploma that much sweeter.

Visit the gallery on the opening night on Feb. 11 at 5 – 7 p.m. for the opening reception of the 2016 Student Art Exhibit. See more works like Germain’s. The runs until Feb. 25. Gallery hours are Tues. – Fri. 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. and Sat. 1 – 5 p.m. Visit the Gallery’s Facebook at /WSUGallery or go to www.worcester.edu/VPA to learn more.

Lancers in the Limelight: How WSU’s Art Classes Refreshed and Revealed Gwendolyn Callahan’s Artistic Passion

Some people spend a large portion of their lives focusing on one craft, with the goal of mastering it. Worcester State University student Gwendolyn Callahan mastered her theatre craft and yearned for something new.

She had earned her undergraduate degree in theatre and implemented her skills, premiering in plays and in movies with big time actors like Betty White. Callahan did a lot with her degree but going back to school at Worcester State opened new artistic doors for her.

“Worcester State and its art program saved my life,” said Callahan, in an interview at the Mary Cosgrove Dolphin Gallery in the Worcester State Science and Tech Building where her work will soon be exhibiting as part of the 2016 Student Art Exhibit that opens on Feb. 11 with a reception from 5 to 7 p.m.

Callahan’s work in the Gallery highlights a collection of sculpted pieces titled, The Legend of the Purple Moon. The collection started when she took apart an old vacuum cleaner with her professor in her Mixed Media class. What she found was unique ways to create something of her own from the dusty cleaning machine.

As long she’s learning something new, Callahan loves taking different classes from art to writing. By taking variety of classes, Callahan finds herself becoming a renaissance woman —  which appears in her collection, as she using her creative writing and incorporates it into her sculptures.

“Everywhere I look, I see art,” said Callahan when asked where she finds inspiration for her work. Her long time passion for the arts has opened new doors and her skills flourish as she learns from each new class.

Attend the Gallery opening night on February 11 at 5 p.m. to experience The Legend of the Purple Moon. The show remains open until Feb. 25 during regular Gallery hours: Tue – Fri 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. and Sat. 1 – 5 p.m. Free Admission. Connect with VPA on Facebook /VPAatWorcesterState /WSUGallery, on Twitter @WSUVPA, and on Instagram @WSUVPA.

Lancers in the Limelight: Jon Bethel on the Psychedelic Showcase Goodnight Desdemona (Good Morning Juliet)

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While it may not be his first venture onto the stage here at Worcester State University, Jon Bethel believes that Goodnight Desdemona (Good Morning Juliet) will definitely be a special experience.

“The show is very psychedelic,” said Bethel.  “There are many different special effects that we use, and even one of the characters, chorus, is an interpretation of Tim Leary, the famous college Professor that experimented with Psychedelic drugs.”

Bethel also brought up the fact that nearly everyone in the cast plays multiple roles, and that they have gelled together nicely as a productive unit.

“Lisa has been great as a director,” he said.   “She is really involved in all aspects of the play, including the set design. It is great working with her. We are slowly but surely finding out what is working and what is not. By the time opening night happens, we will have a very fun and exciting show to watch.”

When asked about the trials faced in the production of the play, Bethel mentioned that the challenges really lie within the fact that there are many character changes throughout the show, and the copious amount of costume changes adds to the overall experience.

“The hardest part of play is playing multiple characters,” he said.  “I have to make sure that my movement is different for all of my characters. Also the costume changes are very difficult. Some actors only have about 30 to 40 seconds to get into a different costume.”

One of the characters Bethel will be portraying is Romeo, and when comparing their personalities, he sees both similarities and differences.

“We are similar in the way that both of us are passionate people,” he said. “We differ in how we show our affections. For example, I would not dress like a women to impress a crush. I like Romeo because of all the shenanigans he gets into.”

Bethel also sees Goodnight Desdemona (Good Morning Juliet) as a breath of fresh air for WSU Theater, and something everyone can enjoy.

“This play is the first comedy we have done here in a while,” he said.  “And the comedy involved goes beyond word play, it also involves slapstick humor which you don’t really see in every production.”

Tickets for Goodnight Desdemona (Good Morning Juliet) by Ann-Marie MacDonald are on sale now at the Fuller Theater Box Office, at the student center information desk and at the door. The show runs in Fuller Theater at Worcester State on Nov. 19 at 8pm. Additional shows take place on Nov. 20 and 21 at 8pm and again on Nov. 22 at 2 pm. Tickets also are available by emailing BoxOffice@worcester.edu or calling 508-929-8843.

Lancers in the Limelight: Erick Lindenberger Takes on His First WSU Production

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By Bobby White, VPA blogger

            Goodnight Desdemona (Good Morning Juliet) opens on Nov. 19, and for some members of the cast it is their first venture onto the stage as Worcester State Lancers.  One such student, freshman Erick Lindenberger, begins his journey into WSU Theatre by falling down the rabbit hole that is Goodnight Desdemona (Good Morning Juliet).

“I’ve never acted at WSU before; but I’m happy that I have now, it’s been a blast,” said Lindenberger.

While Thursday’s opening will be his first performance in the Fuller Theater, Lindenberger said that he does bring stage experience to the table.

“I have acted in sixteen shows throughout middle school and high school, so I’ve had a decent amount of experience, but this play really is different from anything I’ve ever been a part of,” he said.

Lindenberger will be playing multiple roles, like many other performers in the play, including Tybalt from Romeo and Juliet, Professor Claude Knight, and a nurse; the latter characters being unique to this show.

“My favorite out of the three is Professor Night because he is manipulative, charming, and ever so slightly seductive. It’s just a blast to play him,” said Lindenberger.

When talking about his character Tybalt, Lindenberger brought up the different personality he has to portray on stage Thursday night.

“Tybalt and I are very different from each other,” he said. “Tybalt is completely controlled by anger and his sense of honor. He loses control of his anger very often throughout the course of the play, which leads to some problems for Constance (the lead role). I’m a bit more mild mannered and tend to not be so easily angered. It’s fun playing someone so different from me.”

When asked about the production process itself in these final days, Lindenberger commented on the connection and valuable experience he has had with the director, Dr. Lisa Kramer.

“The production is going wonderfully,” he said. “The cast and crew are all incredibly hard working and are striving to make the production great. Lisa is a great director, and without her the production would not be heading in the interesting and fantastical direction that it has headed in.”

Lindenberger also spoke about how special Goodnight Desdemona (Good Morning Juliet) truly is, and highly recommended that people go see it, even people who haven’t been to the theatre before will find it a a unique experience.

“The play really is different from anything I’ve ever been a part of,” he said.   “It has a very trippy feel to it, and you feel as though anything could happen in it.”

Tickets for Goodnight Desdemona (Good Morning Juliet) by Ann-Marie MacDonald are on sale now at the Fuller Theater Box Office, at the student center information desk and at the door. The show runs in Fuller Theater at Worcester State on Nov. 19 at 8pm. Additional shows take place on Nov. 20 and 21 at 8pm and again on Nov. 22 at 2 pm. Tickets also are available by emailing BoxOffice@worcester.edu or calling 508-929-8843.

Lancers in the Limelight: Daryn Balance ’19 on the Uniqueness and Special Effects of Goodnight Desdemona (Good Morning Juliet)

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By Bobby White, VPA Blogger

For a freshman in college, the challenge of harmonizing theatre as well as other academics may be difficult, but for nursing major Daryn Balance ’19 Goodnight Desdemona (Good Morning Juliet), a world that rewrites the world of Shakespeare and uses various special effects, was an opportunity she couldn’t pass up.

“Being a nursing major and being involved in theater keeps me busy,” said Balance, “but I love acting and so far this play has been a very fun experience. So, I am glad that I am a part of it.”

Balance is playing Juliet and she said that this was her first time being part of the Shakespearean world on stage.

“I have been part of Shakespeare scenes in drama classes, but I haven’t done an actual Shakespeare production,” she said. “That being said, this play is not the usual Shakespeare.”

Goodnight Desdemona (Good Morning Juliet) is a play involving classic Shakespearean characters, such as Juliet, and weaves them into a unique story in which we see tragedies portrayed as comedies.

“This play has everything from sword fighting to love triangles,” said Balance.  “No one will be able to expect what they will see next, which makes the whole experience really enjoyable for the audience.”

One aspect of this play that Balance shed some light on without spoiling too much was the special effects that the play contains.

“One of my favorite special effects that we use is a ghost that is actually a puppet that will be on stage, voiced by Jon (Bethel),” she said.  “But there are a few more that are really cool as well.”

When comparing herself to her role, Balance said that Juliet is actually quite different than the famous female character.

“She’s nothing like me,” said Balance.  “She is very passionate about personal relationships, and puts them over making herself better, while I am the opposite.  I enjoy making friends, but would not put them above myself all the time like she does.”

While there is contrast between her and her character, Balance is still having an enjoyable time in the role itself.

“It is still fun to play a 13-year-old on stage though, while she has a little more maturity than most people her age, I still have to throw tantrums on stage, which is a unique experience,” said Balance.

Balance also brought up Goodnight Desdemona (Good Morning Juliet) strong sense of feminism.

“This play is definitely girl power all the way,” said Balance.  “It is girls helping girls find their inner selves in a discovery of self- empowerment.”

Come check out Goodnight Desdemona (Good Morning Juliet) by Ann-Marie MacDonald at the Fuller Theater at Worcester State on Nov. 19 at 8pm. Additional shows take place on Nov. 20 and 21 at 8pm and again on Nov. 22 at 2 pm. Purchase tickets at BoxOffice@worcester.edu or call 508-929-8843.