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Diversity goes on display at student festival

The Diversity Festival kicked off on Sunday and five plays highlighted the shows on Monday in the University Theatre Center at Eastern New Mexico University.

The five plays on the second night of The Diversity Festival were Gnome Game, Dirt and Gasoline, The Sewing, Giving Up and Strings. These five plays will be showing again Wednesday at 8 p.m. The short plays range from 10 to 20 minutes, and ENMU officials project the festival to last about two hours each evening.

“I directed a show last year, but I developed an interest for it while I was here (ENMU),” Christi Bradshaw, an ENMU senior who directed “The Sewing” and “Strings.”

“My emphasis is on performance acting. I’m thinking about going to acting school in Dallas or getting my teaching degree.”

Bradshaw will be graduating with a theater degree in May.

William Curry, a junior at ENMU, directed two plays, “Dirt and Gasoline” and “Giving Up,” on Tuesday night.

“It’s more of a contemporary work, compared to the classical work directed by faculty,” Curry said. “It’s a lot different directing than acting. You can sit back and relax more when you are directing. We want to get the message across to the audience for each of the plays.”

Curry said “Dirt and Gasoline” is a play featuring abstract comedy. Two actors, John Moore and Jennae Pinnell, portray characters discussing death and perception, stemming from the death of man who dressed as Santa Claus.

“Gnome Game” is a short play about Bobby and Bobbie performing a practical joke on their friend, Steven. The joke shatters Steven’s mental state, leaving him shivering in fear about an imaginary gnome.

The Diversity Festival allows ENMU students to take their turn at directing and writing, Anne Beck, Assistant Professor of Theater for ENMU, said. Students act and design some of the other plays throughout the year, but those plays are written and directed by ENMU faculty, according to Beck.

“Most of the people involved in the plays are theater majors, but we also have people from the community audition,” Beck said. “Students in the shows are theater savvy. They are able to display their abilities to the audience.”

Beck said theater instructors use the high school drama festival, which took place from Feb. 26-28 as a recruiting tool for ENMU. Beck said there are auditions to see which students ENMU will offer theater scholarships as well.

“We rank them and get quite a few from the drama festival,” Beck said. “We also look for students who can design and perform other aspects of the theater, besides acting.”

Tonight will be the last night people can view three plays which were also shown on Sunday: Artificial Jungle, Werewolf and It’s Love. The first play begins at 8 p.m. with a cost is $3 per person. For information, call 562-2711.