Fringe Fest and Dance Awareness bring performers out of the studio

Sara Petersen

Kent State’s performing arts came alive on campus last week with Fringe Fest and World Dance Awareness Day.

World Dance Awareness Day was Wednesday and dancers from assistant dance professor Alicia Diaz’s modern dance class flocked around Risman Plaza, the Student Center and the M.A.C. Center Plaza. The dancers had impromptu performances, played follow the leader games and danced while encouraging participation from the public.

Diaz said the point of the activities was to bring dance out of the studio.

“It’s about dancing and games and using your body,” Diaz said.

Brandon Hall, junior dance education major and organizer of the activities, said the dancers wanted to raise awareness about the dance program and that they’re different from the dance team.

“We want people to know what we do and why we’re here,” Hall said.

Freshman exploratory major Sarah Schindewolf watched the dancers from the second floor as they performed duets on the first floor in the Student Center.

“I thought it was pretty cool,” she said. “I wish I could do that.”

As part of the weeklong Fringe Fest, two students performed the play “Zoo Story” in Risman Plaza on Wednesday under the direction of freshman theater major Matthew Wheeler.

The play, written by Edward Albee, is about a man who tries to explain that humans don’t know how to love. Wheeler said the play takes place on a bench in Central Park, so it made sense to have it outside.

And it gave passersby an interesting diversion. One student stopped and watched the last few minutes of the play, but he didn’t have time to comment.

“I have five minutes to make it to math,” he said.

The play “Trojan Women” was performed multiple times in Heritage Park in downtown Kent for Fringe Fest. The play by Euripides is about what happened to the women after the Trojan War.

Junior theater major Kat Palcsak played the character Hecuba and said performing outside was very appropriate to the play.

“I thought it was awesome because you become so much more connected to what you’re talking about,” Palcsak said. “I would much rather do this play outside because of the effective atmosphere, because the Greeks would do it outside.”

The play contains what could be considered heavy material – rape, murder and war crimes – and the actors had challenges with the outside rehearsals. Palcsak said that during a rehearsal a few passersby were video taping and laughing at the play and stepped out of rehearsal to talk to them.

“I had to ask them, ‘Do you think rape and murder is funny?’ We had to kick them out of the space,” she said. “We had a lot of that, people walking by and yelling things at us.”

Taylor Bailey, freshman integrated social studies major, said she had a good experience with Fringe Fest. Bailey said director Molly MacLagan, senior theater major, was very open to the cast’s opinions and suggestions, which made it a more personal play for the actors.

“You don’t get that with the mainstage shows at Kent,” she said.

Contact performing arts reporter Sara Petersen at [email protected].