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Student work earns its wings at Taking Flight

By Jason Herring, March 29 2015 —

With another school year drawing to a close, the University of Calgary’s School of Creative and Performing Arts (SCPA) is presenting Taking Flight: Festival of Student Work.

In its 11th year, the annual festival features a variety of plays, presentations and stage readings. The works are all created by students, giving them an opportunity to bring what they’ve learned in the classroom to the stage.

According to the festival’s artistic director, Dawn McCaugherty, Taking Flight gives students a chance to bring a piece to the stag and lets the public see what students in the SCPA have been working on.

“There’s such a variety of things that are going on, from a more traditionally structured play to more off-the-wall things,” McCaugherty  says. “Whenever you go to a theatre festival, you never really know what you’re going to walk in to.”

Lizzy Evashkevich and Brett Tromburg, two undergraduate students with a passion for directing, will be among those showcasing plays during the festival.

Evashkevich is directing The Real Inspector Hound, written by Tom Stoppard, an absurdist play that examines the balance between art and life while following the exploits of two theatre critics. The third-year drama student says it should have audiences cracking up.

“It’s a farce comedy, and it’s just a great roaring time,” Evashkevich says. “When I’m sitting in rehearsals I’m laughing my face off every night.”

Tromburg, a fourth-year drama student, is directing playwright Bryony Lavery’s Stockholm, a more serious play that explores the themes of love and loss in a disintegrating relationship. He says the audience will relate to the story.

“It’s just about two humans who are struggling with something that I think we all go through at this point, with a lover, a friend or even a thing,” Tromburg says. “That struggle can be detrimental and heartbreaking. It’s a really universal play.”

Evashkevich and Tromburg are both enrolled in DRAM 510, an
advanced directing course which accepts a handful of students a year. These pieces are their final projects for the class.

The festival also features a pair of comedies by Shakespeare that students have condensed into under an hour, as well as a production by the class of Peter Balkwill, a member of Calgary the theatre group, The Old Trout Puppet Theatre.

In addition to these plays, the festival will showcase a series of original pieces by U of C graduate students as staged readings.

Evashkevich encourages students in all departments to come down and experience some of the work.

The festival is part of the SCPA’s Claim Your Seat program. Like all SCPA performances on campus, it’s free for students with valid student ID.

“It doesn’t cost you a thing, and it’s a great night,” Evashkevich says. “It’s great that in one night you get to see completely different kinds of theatre.”

Taking Flight: Festival of Student Work runs from March 31 – April 11 at the Reeve and F.R. Matthews Theatres on campus.

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