From Tuesday, March 1, through Saturday, March 5, in the Wright Theater of the Redfern Arts Center, ten Keene State College undergraduate students, along with three KSC alumni, lit up the stage as well as the hearts of everyone in the audience with their performance of the show Light Up the Sky, written by Moss Hart.
According to the description on the Redfern Art Center website, the show is a “classic 1940s stage comedy.”
The description goes on to state, “It’s an affectionate backstage look at the foibles and frailties of an obsessive group of show folk on the night when their new ‘artistic’ production opens in Boston on its way, hopefully, to Broadway.”
Director of the show, KSC professor of theater and dance Dan Patterson, said that this production’s cast was a group of natural-born comedians.
“It’s a great cast. They all knew a lot about comedic timing,” Patterson said, “They’re practically funny standing still.”
Matthew McGinnis, a music education major at KSC, was one audience member who agreed with Patterson.
“I was laughing through most of the show,” McGinnis said.
The KSC sophomore said that he was originally drawn into the Wright Theater to see the show because he had so many friends performing in it.
“A lot of my friends are theater majors, and I just like to support the department in general,” McGinnis explained.
“I would absolutely recommend that other KSC students come out to the Redfern to see shows,” McGinnis said, “I can’t believe that most of these actors are just undergrad students. It’s honestly amazing.”
One such undergrad student was Megan Pereira, a senior theater major with a specialization in acting.
Pereira, who has taken part in four KSC productions, described her role in Light Up the Sky as a larger-than-life kind of girl, like many of the other characters in the show.
“My role is the wife of Sidney Black, the producer of the show within the play. My character, Frances, decided to invest some of her own money into the show and she is definitely not happy when it turns out the show is a complete disaster,” Pereira explained.
Pereira, who originally came to KSC as a psychology major, said, “I didn’t begin acting until my second semester freshmen year of college…I have always had a love for performing so I decided to take an intro acting course my freshman year, taught by Doug Wilcox.”
Pereira continued, “Perhaps he doesn’t know it, but I suppose I owe a great deal of thanks to [Wilcox] for making my first acting class help me realize I couldn’t just pursue acting as a hobby.”
Pereira explains Light Up the Sky as a play that is “essentially about the people of the theatre, and how all the overblown ridiculous characters such as the, money loving producer, the over dramatic director, and the diva of a leading actress, react when they feel as though their show was a complete bust.”
While Pereira is about to graduate and begin her career in the real world, Patterson’s 37 years at KSC are coming to an end.
“It’s a little sad to be doing my last show,” Patterson explained, “It’s been thirty-seven years…That’s more than half my life!”
Of his post-KSC plans, Patterson said that he intends to keep working.
“I’m not necessarily onto bigger and better things,” Patterson said, “Just different things.”
As for what he’ll miss most from his time at KSC, he said, “I’ll miss the students…They’re what keep you young.”
Jill Giambruno can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.