Janelle Aguirre and Ray Holston III are among the student performers who bring life to "Xtigone." (Photo: Aldrin Bulayo)
For the second time in two years, a Cal State East Bay Theatre and Dance production has been selected for the Regional Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival (KCACTF) that will take place in mid-February at Humboldt State University.
To prepare for that honor, “Xtigone,” a new adaptation of the ancient Greek tragedy “Antigone” by Sophocles from contemporary playwright Nambi E. Kelley, will perform once more on the Hayward Campus. That will be at 8 p.m. Feb. 12 in the University Theatre, 25800 Carlos Bee Blvd. – three days before it is performed in the regional competition.
Darryl V. Jones, director and associate professor of theatre and dance, attributes its recognition to a strong ensemble production in a new play that raises important questions.
“I know that the set design by Regina Cate (professor of theatre and dance) was mentioned by the KCACTF responders as outstanding, as was Laura Ellis's choreography,” said Jones.
“I think we were asked to show the production at KCACTF because our production incorporates African ritual with spoken word, hip-hop, and elevated text to re-tell an ancient tragedy in a modern setting where the tragedy is repeated daily in the streets of America and that is the gunning down of young people in endless gang warfare.
“The playwright incorporates many styles in the play as if she were walking through the streets of Chicago and listening to the hip-hop on one corner, the blues coming out of the barber shop, the salsa blaring from an open car window, the boy on the corner 'talking smack' to his girl,” said Jones.
“I'm not surprised that the festival keeps recognizing us for being at the forefront of college theatre in the US because we keep doing challenging literature in creative, inclusive ways,” said Thomas Hird, professor and chair of theatre and dance.
“I think KCACTF is looking for shows that speak to current issues and portray them with an authentic voice. That's ‘Xtigone’ in a nutshell,” said Hird.
To some who have seen the production evolve, wording is more understandable now and the feel of some scenes is more violent and threatening – making this a new play from what was performed in November.
Tickets to the CSUEB performance are $15 for general admission; $10 for discounted tickets; and $5 for CSUEB students with an ID. Tickets may be purchased at the University Bookstore, or reserved online at http://class.csueastbay.edu/theatre/Ticket_Reservations.php or by calling 510-885-3118.
Campus parking is $2 per hour at meters, or $5 per day per vehicle from 5 p.m. Friday to midnight Sunday.
CSUEB welcomes persons with disabilities and will provide reasonable accommodation upon request. Please notify the event sponsor in advance at 510-885-3118 if accommodation is needed.
KCACTF is conducting regional competitions in eight geographic areas of the country. Judges will select four to six of the best and most diverse regional festival productions to be showcased in the spring at the annual noncompetitive national festival at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.