Theater department deals with closure

Yellow wildflowers are a mute audience in the seats of the Bakersfield College outdoor theater.

Keith Kaczmarek, Reporter

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With the Speech and Music Building locked down for repairs, the theater department and Theater Club are left without the stages and workrooms needed to perform and practice new plays. In fact, they have only one play scheduled this semester instead of their usual two.

“We’re hoping to have another show,” said Kimberly Chin, advisor for the Theater Club and director of theatrical productions.

Acting classes have been moved to the gym until repairs on the Speech and Music Building are completed.

“We have to bring chairs in and strike them after the class,” he said.

“It’s been an inconvenience, but everyone is making it work. The students have been great,” said Chin.

Since the gym floor was recently resurfaced, the theater students also have to be especially careful to wear the correct shoes to avoid marking the new floor.

Chin is hopeful about putting together a second production.

“We are hoping to do a spring show that’s an outside show in a found space,” she said.

Found spaces are outdoor locations that are converted into stages for productions.

“If I do a show in the fall, I’ll need to do an indoor show because of the weather,” she said.

The theater department has been coordinating with the Empty Space Theater and their artistic director Bob Kempf to put on the current crop of productions. The Empty Space Theater has been keeping the box office receipts from the plays, but has not been charging BC for use of the theater.

The next play will be the Ten Minute Play Fest held on May 11 and 12. This event will feature six plays written, directed, and produced by students at BC.

Tyler Steelman, 22, is a Theater Club member who wrote a play for Play Fest about a young man caught in a compromising position with his girlfriend while living in his parent’s house.

“It’s very strange. I’ve been doing auditions for professors on campus, but it’s a change of pace,” he said when asked about how he feels about seeing his play being performed instead of being in someone else’s play.

Audraey Marie, 21, is another Theater Club member who has a play in the Play Fest, but her production involves a young mother and father trying to have a romantic evening despite a crying baby.

“It’s been difficult, but we’ve been able to manage it and do what we wanted to do,” she said about the changes to production this semester.

The Theater Club has also been inconvenienced by the closing of the Speech and Music building since it makes it hard for them to find practice space, and they have been using the Fireside Room when it’s not being used for other events.

Kimberly Chin has also been active in getting both the club and acting classes more involved in performing off-campus, starting a children’s performing group and planning to bring in a puppet master to teach his craft, a clown teacher to address performing for kids, and partnering with a local school to put on performances.

The Theater Club will also be performing theater games in front of Daddy O’s Yogurt and Gelato Shoppe in the Albertson’s shopping center on Mount Vernon on Thursday, March 29, from 5 -9- p.m., and anyone purchasing yogurt or gelato will help the club.

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