Actors get opportunity to perform at prestigious festival

UNA’s production of “Master Harold … and the Boys” was invited last week to perform and compete at Daytona State College at the 2012 Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival. The prestigious festival hosts the best theater productions from across the country.

This is the first time a play from UNA has been asked to compete in the festival, and the results for the competition won’t be released for several weeks.

Professor Charlton James is the director for the play and said the cast and crew have accomplished a lot this year.

“When we started, our goal was to be invited to the KCACTF, and everybody committed to the show,” he said. “We have a wonderful group.”

“Master Harold…and the Boys” is a one-act play by Athol Fugard. The play is set in 1950 South Africa and explores themes of racial inequality and hope for a different way of thinking via the relationships between Master Harold and his mother’s tea shop workers, Willie and Sam. UNA students Spencer Cantrell, Kelvin Jones and Michael Baldwin portrayed the character roles.

This is Baldwin’s fourth time being invited to the festival, but his first with a full production. He said this invitation was a landmark event for the department and is confident the play will be well received.

“All the productions are very good,” he said. “We feel complimented to be asked to compete against them.”

He said he is grateful to UNA for the grant they received to be able to travel to Florida and said the convention has been eye-opening and exactly what theater students need.

The production crew members are also excited about the invite.

“It’s really amazing to be here with our first production at KCACTF,” said Luke Hunter, an entertainment industry technology major and sound operator for the play. “You are making connections along the way.”

The benefits of performing at this festival include networking possibilities, but also the chance for UNA students to win scholarships, internships, grants, and awards for actors, directors, playwrights, designers, stage managers, and critics at both regional and national levels.

If UNA’s “Master Harold…and the Boys” places at the regional level, the students will travel to Washington, DC to accept awards and perform at the national level.