|Todd Ristau (left), Ernie Zulia of Hollins.|
Those in this region who know anything about live theater fully understand the vital contribution Hollins (behind leaders Ernie Zulia and Todd Ristau) makes at every level and presentations like this show how the students develop. Close to five dozen students took part in this showcase, which was an education for those of us who've never taken a theater class.
I think it is important that the program for the plays did not list cast (as many as five actors, as few as two) for any of the nine plays, but concentrated on the director and the crew. I also found it interesting that Susan's and my favorite plays were by Roanoke students Emma Sala (a junior) and Anna Holland (sophomore).
Neither of us knew which play was directed by whom until after we'd made the decision. Both these young women are from theatrical families (actor/director Ed Sala is Emma's dad and Miriam Frazier, co-owner of Off the Rails Productions is Anna's mom) and have extensive local acting experience.
The quality of the writing throughout last night's production was quite high last night--as you'd expect at Hollins--and the development of the works was impressive.
I think I enjoyed the students' unguarded reactions as much as I liked the plays. It was like being in an African-American Baptist church on Sunday morning. The audience became part of the play. This was obviously an audience of young feminists whose sexuality is in the developmental stage and whose enthusiasm for life and theater know few bounds. In another setting the crowd might have been intrusive, but not here. It was pure delight.