Every year, eight regional theater competitions nationwide determine which university and college theater students will participate in the prestigious national American College Theater Festival. Competition is always rigorous.
Jay Amuka (C’12) was one of four nominees from the College chosen to compete at this year’s festival. Each was selected based on his or her performance in last spring’s musical production of A Tale of Two Cities and/or this fall’s Pericles. Hunter Hoffman (C'12) competed with partner Jordan Zwick; Kendra Scott (C'11) with partner Kyle Whitney; Ben Frederick with partner Dana Gaubatz (C’12); and Jay Amuka with his partner, Lila Morse.
All four nominees and their respective partners performed scenes in the first round, competing against 300 college actors from Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, and Wisconsin. Jay and Lila made it to the second round of 32 competitors, during which they performed two scenes—one from Neil LaBute’s Some Girls and the death scene from Shakespeare’s Othello. From there, the duo moved on to the final round of just 16 nominees, making Amuka Principia’s first finalist in the ACTF regional competition! In the finals, they repeated the scenes and Jay performed an additional monologue from Charge by Eric Kaiser, presenting a full six minutes of dramatic material.
What was the highlight of being a finalist at this prestigious competition? Amuka shared, “One of the judges said I reminded him of a young Sidney Poitier. Now, that was amazing!”
Principia College Students Ben Rowe, Alice Stanley (C’10), and Kirsty Rivett were selected to compete by festival representatives who viewed the students’ performances in last spring’s musical, Wonderfultown, and last fall’s play, Summer Brave.
Along with their scene partners and Director and Associate Theatre Professor Trish Brown, the performers traveled to Kansas City for the regional competition. Although the Principia performers did not advance past semifinal competition, Brown considers the week a success. “All our students received very positive feedback in one-on-one conversations with the judges, and one of our students, Alice Stanley, was given an interview with The Actor’s Theater of Louisville as a result of her work.”