By Crystal Harrell
Campus Life Editor
The COD theatre department has experienced new improvements and educational services provided for students this fall semester. Among these new additions include a now-available AA degree in the theatre curriculum, a new Stagecraft building, and the upcoming musical extravaganza The Rocky Horror Picture Show to kick off the 2014-2015 theatre season.
Now added to the College Catalog, the AA Degree in Theatre Arts introduces new courses students can take to further their understanding of the performing arts and the mechanisms behind it. An Associates of Arts (AA) or an Associates of Arts for Transfer (AA-T) are available degrees that require the same courses, but students who are not theatre majors can also take the new classes.
Added to the class list this semester are Introduction to Theatre, Acting 1 & Acting 2, Script Analysis, Stagecraft, Introduction to Design, Stage Makeup, and Play Production & Technical Production. New temporary faculty member Emily Heebner assists in teaching these classes, and has previous theatre experience. “Last year I directed The Diviners at Antelope Valley College’s Performing Arts Theatre. Currently, I’m directing A Wilde Holiday for the Isis Theatre Co. to be performed on December 13 at the Rainbow Inn in Idyllwild,” said Heebner.
With support from the COD Foundation, a new Stagecraft building has been constructed behind the Theatre Too building on campus across from the football stadium. The Stagecraft building houses a brand new dressing room and backstage area for the actors, a makeup design classroom, costume workshop and storage, a scenic design shop, scenic storage facility, and rehearsal rooms for music students at COD.
“The students are extremely excited about this new building and the opportunities it brings with it. They have already begun working in the design studios and workshops. We’ve spent the past two years making sure the facility would provide our students with the education and skills they need to move on to a four-year program and beyond,” assistant theatre professor Russell Tres Dean stated.
To start the 2014-2015 theatre season, the COD Performing Arts will present The Rocky Horror Picture Show on October 24-November 2 at Theatre Too, with a special midnight showing on the 31st. Based on a musical stage production written by Richard O’Brien and a feature film of the same name in 1973, The Rocky Horror Picture Show follows a newly-engaged couple as they stumble across the castle of Dr. Frank N. Furter, a transvestite scientist from Transsexual, Transylvania, who creates a monster named Rocky—acting as a tribute to the science fiction and “B” horror films of the mid-20th Century.
The musical is choreographed by Shea New, with musical direction by Scott Smith, and directed by the theatre department’s own Russell Tres Dean. “I would be lying if I didn’t say I was extremely excited about The Rocky Horror Picture Show. We have never produced a show in the fall since I’ve been here and this show is truly a challenge. It brings an iconic following along with it and expectations are extremely high,” Tres Dean explained.
The actors starring in the production are also anticipating performing the musical with such a large cult following. Adam Genesta, who portrays Dr. Frank N. Furter, appreciates the homages to old science fiction and horror movie tropes, and describes the production as “crazy, full of energy, and just a blast to watch.”
“I enjoy working with all my fellow actors and also being able to try out something new. Wearing high heels is murder on my feet, but I do feel very sexy wearing them,” Genesta said. Starring alongside Genesta is Briana Taylor as Janet Weiss and Alden Dickey as Brad Majors, the heroine and hero of the musical.
The Rocky Horror Picture Show is recommended for mature audiences. To purchase a ticket, call (760)773-2565 or go to www.collegeofthedesert.ticketleap.com. “This year, students can expect a ton of laughs throughout the season as we have loaded the season lineup with comedies, but they can also expect truly wonderful theatre-going experiences that I would put up against anything else they could find here in the valley,” Tres Dean stated.