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Monmouth makes dramatic entrance

February 10, 2012

Courtesy of Janeve West

Monmouth College thespians brought home several awards for their previous work at the college and performance at ACTF

As many students were still enjoying their holiday break, 17 thespians from the Monmouth College theater department attended the Kennedy Center’s American College Theatre Festival hosted by the University of Illinois. From Jan. 3-9, students participated in a variety of events and attended numerous workshops which ranged from comedy to stage combat courses designed to strengthen their abilities in production and acting.

“It’s basically like a monstrous theater track meet,” said Professor Janeve West, who attended the festival along with Professors Bill Wallace and Doug Rankin and served as the mentor and coach for the actors. What was most memorable for the students, however, came as a surprise on the final day of the festival when Monmouth College received two awards and an honorable mention for its efforts in three different competitions.

“The students have a love-hate relationship with artistic competitions,” said West. “In a way, it eliminates some of the purpose of performing to begin with, but it also brings out the best in people, and that is exactly what happened.”

Monmouth students competed with undergraduates as well as graduate students from some of the largest schools in the area including University of Wisconsin-Madison, University of Michigan, and the University of Illinois. 

“I am absolutely proud of each one of those students,” said West. “What they lacked in resources they made up for in tenacity. Three-fourths of the battle is fearlessness, and those students showed so much of that.”

Monmouth left the festival with an award in the Design Storm Competition with Courtney Jonsson, 10 Minute Play Student Director competition with Mary Bohlander and an honorable mention for the work done with the production of Marisol with Mike Miller. Sophomore Courtney Jonsson, a Monmouth representative in the Design Storm Competition, was shocked.

“I really didn’t expect to win anything, especially because it was my first time attending the festival,” said Jonsson. “I felt really strongly about my team, but after seeing Mike Miller’s team receive the honorable mention I felt as if Monmouth had achieved its goal and I had no idea that there were two more awards to come after that.”

The students who attended the festival were chosen for their involvement in the 2011 performance of The Tempest as well as Dog Sees God. Professor West affirms that “This is the first time in at least six years that Monmouth has been represented in this theater festival. It’s amazing that we have been able to put together an award-winning group in only the three years that we’ve been a department.” The honors earned by the theater department will surely make in impact in the future, and Courtney Jonsson states that “Our success at the festival will really open doors for our department. I believe that we set the benchmark this year and proved that we can compete against the larger schools with limited resources. The theater students next year will really have to step up their game.” 

Nick Olson
Contributing Writer


A brief synopsis of the awards won by students

-Sophomore Courtney Jonsson received first place for her work in the Design Storm Competition
-Sophomore Mike Miller received an honorable mention in the same category
-Junior Mary Bohlander received first for the 10 Minute Play Student Director Competition
-Merissa Lewiston made it to the final round for her work in the Tempest
-Many of the students were chosen to attend the festival by regional representatives for their previous work in both “The Tempest” and “Dog Sees God”

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