From the Pulitzer Prize-winning play “Doubt” to a visit by Shakespeare in the Park with “Twelfth Night,” this year’s slate of seven shows and over two dozen performances is the drama program’s most vigorous undertaking in decades.
“Our processes in the Fine Arts Department are prime examples of learning-by-doing which is the cornerstone of Montana Western’s Experience One mission,” said guest instructor/director Brandon Branscum.
“In our drama program, faculty direct and design shows, but we put students into key positions as the year progresses. For example, in February, elementary and drama education senior Katie Bumgarner from Billings will direct “Proof,” a heart-breaking and heart-warming story about mental illness, mathematical genius, and ethics in academia,” according to Branscum.
Branscum, a Montana Western alum and Helena native, is now a New York City-based actor, returning for a second year to teach and direct. He has cast two plays for December that are billed as comedies, but offer serious insights. “Some Girl(s)” features a groom-to-be who visits five past girlfriends, in a narcissistic effort to understand the man he’s become. In “Orphans,” a brazen but sad-sack businessman is kidnapped, but eventually turns the tables on his sleezy young captors, teaching them to become a little bit more loving and respectful.
Long-time Montana Western instructor Larry Brazill will guide 25 student directed shows in October for the 15th Annual 10-Minute Play Festival. Tawsha Jones, another Montana Western alumnus, will again be guiding students through the year in costume and prop design.
“At large schools, there’s a sort of joke – but a truth – that undergraduates involved in theatre merely sweep the stage. Well, we all sweep the stage here, but our students work on stage, over the stage, behind the stage and with the audience to learn not just theatre skills but also life skills in cooperation, communication, time-management, risk-taking, and more,” according to drama program coordinator Judy Ulrich.
Bank of Commerce Performing Arts Series Season Schedule:
October 12-15: “The 15th Annual 10 Minute Play Festival”
November 8: “Shakespeare in the Park’s Twelfth Night”
December 14-18: “Orphans” and “Some Girl(s)”
February 22-26: “Proof” and “Doubt”
April 26-29: “Bag and Box Theatre”
All shows are performed on the Montana Western campus. Evening shows start at 7:30 pm, with matinee dates and times to be announced. Tickets are $5 and $8 at the door; Montana Western students are admitted free of charge. Season tickets are $40 and are available by calling 406-683-7101.
For more information, please contact Dr. Judy Ulrich, Professor of Fine Arts and Education, by calling (406) 683-7422.