Lone Star College-Montgomery Theatre Production Student Body Honored with Kennedy Center

By: Travis Bryant
| Published 07/15/2020

Lone Star College-Montgomery Department of Theatre receives multiple awards at the Kennedy Center College Theatre Festival

THE WOODLANDS, TX -- The Lone Star College-Montgomery Department of Theatre's production Student Body received two national awards at the 2020 Kennedy Center American College Theatre Region 6 Festival. The production, which premiered as part of the Fall 2019 Theatre season, was presented with the Kennedy Center Citizen Artist Award. The cast and crew were named as an Outstanding Production Ensemble. The cast performed the play at the Region 6 Festival in February, and awards were announced on June 17, 2020.

The Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival (KCACTF) is a national theater program involving 18,000 students from colleges and universities nationwide and has grown into a network of more than 600 academic institutions throughout the country.

The play, written by Frank Withers, examines the controversial topic of sexual assault on college campuses.The protagonists in the story come across a video found at a party that depicts sex acts that may or may not be considered consensual. The group's friendship and integrity are challenged. Student Body frames an act of sexual assault from the point of view of the society surrounding it.

'From the beginning of working on Student Body, I felt we had something special with this production,' said Chase Waites, Professor of Theatre for Lone Star College-Montgomery. 'The message and circumstances of the play resonate strongly with our students. Normally, the process I take when directing a production is to plant seeds of character development and movement with the actors and guide them through the process. With Student Body, I asked the students to start from scratch and see what happens. They created all of their own movement, developed detailed characters with depth, with real wants and goals, and let the
play develop around them.'

According to the Kennedy Center's announcement, the Citizen Artist Award recognizes 'programs in higher education using theatrical production to promote long-term societal impact through artistic, empathetic exploration of our complex cultural and physical world, and advocates for justice on campus and throughout the world.'

The Outstanding Production Ensemble Award recognizes the collaborative work of the entire production team of Student Body. In recognizing the special significance of the award, Professor Waites said, 'We strive for excellence in the theatre department. To be recognized by peers and colleagues from across the nation as having some of the best work is truly an awesome and humbling experience. I am so proud of what our students have created with great heart, persistence and determination.'

Professor Mead McLean, Chair of the Department of Arts and Humanities, attended the performance and praised the student's work. 'The students performed it absolutely perfectly, with particular attention to becoming a cohesive ensemble cast,' McLean said. 'On that day, the audience was completely enthralled with them--laughing, crying, expressing shock, talking back, and after a few moments of shocked silence, stood up for the most immediate standing ovation I've ever seen. '

Cast members also remarked on the unique message of their work. 'The story behind Student Body struck a chord with me, and I'm sure there are many people who would feel the same way,' expressed student actor, Matthew Young. 'Sexual assault is still a problem on college campuses across the country. Now that this show will be premiering at a festival, a handful of schools will be put in the same room and hopefully continue the conversation. This puts Student Body in the position to be a powerful educational tool.'

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