CUI’s theatre program has enjoyed annual success in the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival, and this year was no different as the show I and You was selected to appear in full production.
“Since 2010, pretty much every year we’ve had a show or a scene invited, which is extraordinary,” says professor Lori Siekmann, theatre department chair.
I and You, with just two cast members, is about two high school students, one of whom is homebound and needs a liver transplant. A fellow student shows up to do an English project with her, and the play explores their growing relationship—and includes a plot twist at the end which requires demanding scenic elements.
“The big reveal scenically needs to be amazing to pull it off,” says Siekmann. “We were able to make that theatrical moment really perfect. It worked really well.”
CUI competes in a region with 127 schools generating a vast number of productions each year. Of those productions, only seven to ten full productions are invited by KCACTF to the regional festival each year. In the past, CUI has sent scenes, pieces and productions of Still Life with Iris, For Those Who Cannot Speak for Themselves: Silence, The Drowsy Chaperone, Beau Jest, The Cover of Life, Hamlet, The Foolish Proposal, Medea, and Cabaret.
After the show this year, the past chair of Region 1 (New York) and the current national chair met with Concordia’s cast and crew to offer feedback.
“It was cool how positive they were about our show,” says Siekmann. “They gave a lot of excellent feedback about how we handled the big reveal, how the actors did, and the different design elements. It was nerve-racking but fun.”
CUI also did well in the Irene Ryan Scholarship Audition process, landing two pairs of students in the semi-final round, and one in the top 16, out of 315 pairs.
“In Concordia’s history we have only had four pairs, including this year, make it to the finals in the Irene Ryans because of how stiff the competition is,” Siekmann says. “We may be smaller than some other programs in this region but it doesn’t mean we can’t do excellent work. For us, this year is a huge validation that with faithfulness and excellence we can use what God has given us to make good art and make God proud of what we do.”
Behind the Scenes of I & You at KCACTF