My Fair Lady Charms Its Way Onstage

Bryan’s Hilltop Players recently closed a weekend production of My Fair Lady, featuring the largest cast in a Bryan production since 2010. Over thirty actors brought the beloved show to life under the direction of Alexis Landry. Vaughn Cardona and Bernie Belisle served as music and technical directors, respectively. Jess McCuiston acted as director of choreography.

Lerner and Loewe’s My Fair Lady is a musical adaption of the original play by George Bernard Shaw, which was adapted in turn from Gabriel Pascal’s Pygmalion. The story centers around Eliza Doolittle, a Cockney flower girl who takes speech lessons from professor Henry Higgins, a phoneticist, in order to pass as a lady. What begins as a bet between Higgins and his houseguest beings to blossom into something more.

Senior Isaac Hendrix, noted that, “The show breaks so many stereotypical conventions of what might be considered shallow, fairy-tale like storytelling. Don’t get me wrong, I do appreciate fairy tales, Disney, and all those types of stories as well. But I love how much more probing and contemplative such a show like this causes the audience (and the storytellers, for that matter) to be.”

Director and Instructor of Theater Alexis Landry reflected on the main character (played by freshman Theater major, Sophie Jaeger:

When I think about the story of My Fair Lady, the image that comes to mind is a small bunch of violets, simple and pretty. That’s it. You might be confused by that connection – but for me, this little bouquet represents something incredibly powerful: the way in which Eliza Doolittle changes everyone she meets. If you pay attention, the violets tell the story. Every principal character that crosses paths with Eliza is ultimately changed in some way.

Congratulations to the production crew and cast of My Fair Lady on a successful performance!


Fine Arts Department Presents ‘The Marriage of Figaro’

The Bryan College Fine and Performing Arts Department recently completed a weekend showing of The Marriage of Figaro by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Lorenzo da Ponte. The traditionally Italian opera was performed in English under the direction of Dr. Kimberly Keck. Dr. Vaughn Cardona served as the orchestra conductor.

The opera tells the story of servants Figaro and Susanna and their attempts to marry, despite the attempts of their philandering employer, Count Almaviva. Isaac Mullet (‘20) and Rebekah Runner (‘19) played the roles of Figaro and Susanna, respectively. William Darby played the role of Count Almaviva, with Alexis Reese (‘19) in the supporting role of his wife, the Countess Almaviva.

A continuation of The Barber of Seville, the 18th century opera is based on a stage comedy written by French playwright Pierre Beaumarchais known as La folle journée, ou le Mariage de Figaro (“The Mad Day, or The Marriage of Figaro”). The show takes a playful romp through a day of misadventures and deception as the two servants work to foil the Count’s attempts to woo Susanna.

Reflecting on the experience of playing Susanna, Runner commented that the character was “delightful to play because she is smart and very emotional… Her love for Figaro is her constant source of joy and protection throughout the opera, which was a fun character trait to explore”.

When asked about a fond memory from the performance, she said:

I think one of my favorite parts of the opera was the times when I got to “beat up” Figaro (played by Isaac Mullet). Any kind of stage fighting has to be carefully choreographed so that is looks real from the audience’s perspective and yet causes no harm to the actors. Isaac and I spent a lot of time working on the sections of the show when I would slap or hit him. Our hard work paid off when the audience reacted to it with such big gasps!

Congratulations to the Fine Arts Department on another wonderful performance!

For more information about Bryan’s Fine Arts Departments and for information about future performances, visit www.bryan.edu/life-at-bryan/performing-arts-season/ .


Hilltop Players Capture Audiences With ‘Almost, Maine’

Bryan College’s Hilltop Players recently completed a two-week run of John Cariani’s Almost, Maine, a series of scenes featuring characters in different stages of love and heartache. In addition to the familiar faces of seniors Isaac Hendrix and Teagan Hughes, the show featured an impressive array of freshman talent. Carlos Portillo, Dillon Melvin, Sophia McCosh, and Katrina Ingalls all made their Hilltop debut. The show also saw performances from Larissa Carroll (‘21), Seaton Dasher (‘21), and Alyssa Swann (‘20). Behind the curtain, Kristen Lawrence served as Props Mistress, Savannah Bitterling as Stage Manager, and Teagan Hughes as Costumer. Bernie Belisle acted as technical director. Austin Marsh was the Assistant Director.

Dillon Melvin and Teagan Hughes in the scene “This Hurts.”

The show was a fresh approach to theater not previously seen on the Hill. When asked why Almost, Maine was chosen over a more traditional show, Director Alexis Landry stated:

I was very drawn to the raw honesty portrayed in the relationships between characters in Almost, Maine. John Cariani does an incredible job of writing dialogue that sounds and flows exactly like we talk in real life with one another. It doesn’t feel like a script; most of the time it feels like you’re listening to a conversation you’ve had with someone in your own experiences. It’s a type of story that the Hilltop Players have never told before, and I think that contemporary dramatic literature is just as important to expose our students/audiences to as the classics with which we’re so familiar…

I believe in the importance of doing theatre that makes you think. I also believe it is necessary to perform theatre which reflect the brokenness of humanity… Almost every character in Almost, Maine is hurt, scarred or troubled by something: abandonment, heartache, loneliness, anger, defeat, or insecurity. Who can honestly say they have never been plagued by one of these struggles? No one. And that’s why I love this play, because everyone can relate to these broken people and what they’re going through…
I hope that the audience walked away having been connected to the relationships displayed onstage, and perhaps they were reminded of similar situations that have happened in their own lives. I hope that they enjoyed seeing an honest portrayal of life as it is, and that they were able to see that, as followers of Christ, we have been saved from a life of loneliness, despair, and regret through His grace, forgiveness and love.

Carlos Portillo and Katrina Ingalls in the scene “Where It Went.”

The show experimented with light, music, and time throughout the production, creating a seamless flow between scenes. Audience members were immersed in the show the moment they entered Brock Hall — the first scene was already staged and underway as the crowd took their seats. On the uniqueness of the show, Ms. Landry said:

It is a style of theatre that’s never been done here before. The way we set the atmosphere in the room before the audiences walked in, the playlists of acoustic love songs we compiled, and the silence between scenes were all theatrical tactics that our regular audiences were extremely unfamiliar with. I was excited to see how people reacted to the change, and how willing they were to embrace the unfamiliar and get caught up in the stories unfolding before them in a new, fresh way.

This is the Hilltop Player’s second production under Ms. Landry (‘13), who returned to Bryan as an Instructor of Theatre this past fall.

Their next production, My Fair Lady, will run April 11th-13th.


Hilltop Players to Present Agatha Christie’s Mousetrap

January 19, 2018 – The Hilltop Players will be presenting Agatha Christie’s acclaimed murder mystery The Mousetrap on January 25-27 and February 1-3. This dessert theatre production will take place in the newly renovated Brock Hall with doors opening at 7 P.M. each evening.

This classic mystery includes a group of strangers stranded in a boarding house during a snow storm, one of whom is a murderer. The suspects include the owners of the boarding house, a spinster, and architect, a retired army major, a strange little man, and a judge. Into their midst comes a policeman, and he no sooner arrives and the judge is killed. Two down and one to go. To get the rationale of the murderer’s pattern, the policeman probes the background of everyone present and rattles a lot of skeletons. Attendees should come expecting a famous Agatha Christie finish!

Reserve Your Ticket Now!

Tickets are available in the Box Office (Rudd 114) Monday-Friday from 11 A.M. to 4:30 P.M..

  • Non-Bryan Students: $8
  • Adults: $11

Call the Box Office with any questions at 423.775.7500.


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