The Catholic University of America

Oct. 30, 2015

Drama Graduate Students Perform Poe Tribute

  M.F.A. candidates from the Department of Drama during a recent program at the Metropolitan Club in Washington, D.C.

Graduate students from the Department of Drama celebrated Halloween early this week with a night of theatre adapted from the works of Edgar Allan Poe.

The performance, which consisted of two original 20-minute pieces, took place Oct. 28 at the Metropolitan Club, one of Washington’s oldest private clubs founded in 1863.

The two pieces were written, directed, and performed by 16 students as part of the graduate course Performance Studio, taught by Catholic University Professor of Drama Gary Sloan. As part of this project, the students split into two groups. Each team then had to come up with an original idea and work together to stage the production over the course of three weeks.

“Misery is Manifold” included aspects of several Poe works, including “Shadow: A Parable,” “The Raven,” “Morella,” “The Bells,” “The Black Cat,” and “Premature Burial.” Together, the pieces told the story of a mourning lover’s search for resolution. The play was directed by Carl Randolph and adapted and written by Lindsay Adams, Tearrance Chisholm, and Lauren Jane Redmond. It starred Danny Beason, Dylan Fleming, Shawneen Rowe, and Danielle Scott.

M.F.A. acting candidates perform in "Misery is Manifold" Oct. 30.  

“Kingdom by the Sea” was a retelling of Poe’s poem “Annabel Lee.” It was directed by Kristin Shoffner and written by Rebecca Dzida, Liz Maestri, and Garret Milton. The cast included Amanda Hopkins, Desiree Chappelle, Scott Cummings, and Kevin Boudreau.

The Production Studio course, which includes the entire graduate company for the drama department, takes place every three years. Sloan said the purpose of the course is to give students hands-on experience collaborating with a creative team.

“The point of the class is the process,” he said. “This increases their cooperation skills, highlights their talents, and challenges their particular techniques in each of their disciplines. It requires everyone learning how to have a voice. Nobody is just waiting to be told what to do. Everybody is engaged for the success of the trip.”

Sloan said he enjoyed watching the students perform in such a prestigious venue — both President Barack Obama and Henry Kissinger were recent guests of the club. Following the show, he heard positive reviews about the students and their work.

“It’s good to have a performance venue at the end of a project and have that challenge of the venue,” he said. “The Metropolitan Club is a longstanding and impressive place in the upper echelons of Washington, D.C. society, so it was nice to have CUA drama invited there and esteemed.”




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