Author: Robbie X. Pierce

The Secret Life of Girls enlightens and entertains

The UVU/Noorda Theater Summer Youth Camp provided the opportunity for hundreds of local youth of all ages to learn from great teachers and to use what they’ve learned. The kids put on three different shows at the end of the camp, including The Secret Life Of Girls, the show put on by the older girls of the camp. The script by Linda Daugherty tells the story of a group of teenagers who struggle against themselves and each other to climb the social ladder and find security in their world. The dialogue is frank and shocking. Several issues pertinent to today’s girls were covered, including gossip, peer pressure, cliques, sex and boys, eating disorders and self-abuse. The audience was made aware that these problems are prevalent and that something needs to be done for our girls. In the end, the message was one of empowerment and moving beyond victimhood. What really sold the message was the girls themselves. This play could not have been performed with adult actors. The teenagers who played the girls seemed so real because they were real. Baylee Dodge seemed particularly unaffected as the main character, Abby. Dodge didn’t seem like an actor; she seemed like a girl really confronting the harsh criticism of the other girls in the play. There was a tenderness in her performance that seemed like it could be a weakness, but...

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Local production of “110 in the Shade” brings national stars to Orem

110 in the Shade, which opens June 28, may be one of the biggest events to ever happen at the Hale Center Theatre in Orem. The show is being headlined by big stars and features a phenomenal local supporting cast. 110 in the Shade is the musical version of The Rainmaker, which is set during the dust bowl of the Great Depression. Four-time Tony Award winning actress Audra McDonald is reprising the role she brought to life in 2007’s Broadway revival of the play. McDonald may be more commonly recognized as Dr. Naomi Bennett, from TV’s Private Practice. This time, she is coming to Utah to play Lizzie, a spinster who is forced to choose between two men. One is a responsible, upstanding citizen, the other a traveling charlatan who claims to be able to sell the community’s rain for a hundred dollars. But Lizzie’s choice is more than just between two men; it’s a choice between two ways of life. The charlatan in question, Bill Starbuck, is being played by Tony Award-nominated actor Will Swenson. He played the same role on Broadway and has somewhat of a cult following among aficionados of LDS cinema, after having starred in Sons of Provo and the Singles Ward films. To have such big names and such widely-recognized talent playing here in Orem is remarkable. The stars will be playing a two-week...

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Noorda Summer Theater Camp puts on shows

UVU is about to showcase theatrical talent from a group of local youth. As part of the first ever Noorda Summer Theater Camp, three productions begin on June 29. The camp was set up to help kids to not only learn about the theatrical arts, but also to get them directly involved. The camp participants will be putting on three shows, which were cast based on their age range. The older group will be performing The Secret Life of Girls, a story about girls and cliques and bullying. Another group of older participants is performing High School Hamlet, a mashup of Hamlet and High School Musical. The youngest kids will be performing Superstudent and the Case of the Water Pistol. The show is a classic superhero story set in an elementary school. Superstudent is double cast, so audiences can see either the very youngest or the next group up perform it. UVU professor Katie Farmer, who oversees the camp, is directing Superstudent. UVU student Alex Ungerman is directing The Secret Life of Girls. Finally, High School Hamlet is being tackled by local musical theater guru Jeremy Showgren. “It’s been great seeing the way the kids learn and grow and build confidence with themselves and make connections with each other,” says Ungerman. About 60 kids total from kindergarten to high school age are in the casts. The camp’s staff of...

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Theatre department’s summer workshop begins

Many members of the campus community have seen performances in the state-of-the-art Noorda Theatre, completed in 2009. What not everyone might know is that funding for the theater was only part of a larger program with an emphasis on helping youth. When Tye Noorda made a generous, university-matched donation to the Department of Theatrical Arts, the Noorda Center was created. The Noorda Center focuses on helping youth through exposure to, opportunities to participate in, and education about great theater. With that goal in mind, the UVU Noorda Theater Summer Camp opens June 7. Emily Bell, executive coordinator of the camp, says the camp “provides local youth with an opportunity to attend workshops with master practitioners in theater, speech, dance and storytelling.” The camp has the capacity for about 500 youth, but classes will be small, consisting of eight to twelve students per class, with dance classes capping off at twenty. This will maximize the personalized instruction each student is given. For this reason, the staff comprises around 70 people, many of whom are students. Professionals will also be part of the staff. “We’re bringing in so many great instructors with real solid training,” said Christopher Clark, coordinator of the camp’s acting program. “The children will experience a lot of fun and amazing training.” The workshops are one week long each with a total of four sessions, the last ending...

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Grassroots Shakespeare company tours with Romeo and Juliet

The Grassroots Shakespeare Company’s Romeo and Juliet is likely different from any Shakespeare performance its audiences have seen before. This troupe is composed of thirteen actors and that’s all. There’s no director, no stage manager, no costume designer. “The greatest part of Grassroots Shakespeare is that there is no one director,” says company member Jessamyn Svensson, who is performing with Grassroots for the first time this summer. “We all just kind of take turns filling that role, which can be a challenge, but also is what makes the performances so great.” These actors are responsible for their own costumes and their own blocking, in addition to administrative duties such as booking performances. Even the casting process is done democratically, with the actors auditioning and voting amongst themselves. The Grassroots Shakespeare Company began last summer, when their touring company put on Much Ado About Nothing. During the school year, the company then hosted various workshops wherein actors would meet each other and begin rehearsal mere hours before the performance. Lines were to be memorized and ideas come up with in advance. This year’s touring company is hoping to continue in the tradition of excellence set forth by last year’s team. The actors were each required to research some aspect of “original practice,” the concept of keeping rehearsals and performances close to how they would have been done in Shakespeare’s time....

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