A QUARTERLY PUBLICATION OF THE WALLA WALLA COLLEGE COMMUNICATIONS DEPARTMENT
Greg Lehman Photography
The Communication Department drama program engages students and audiences in life-changing performances in a newly remodeled church and in a new black box theater space.
Why minor in drama? Two students reveal their reasons for studying drama.
What they say Former students reďŹ‚ect on the inďŹ‚uence of drama in their careers and lives.
Village Hall Makeover Venerable Village Hall provides a warm setting for drama productions.
Drama on a Christian Campus? The artistic director of wwcdrama shares why you should consider drama.
2 Why minor in drama? Two students reveal their reasons for studying drama.
Melissa King playing the lead role in “The Diary of Anne Frank.” ■ In my very young search for fun in my life I found drama, or should I say drama found me. It was my mother’s idea to get me involved with the nearby civic theater. My ﬁrst play was “The Best Christmas Pageant Ever” where I played the snooty, yet loveable, Alice Windilkin. I loved it! After that ﬁrst taste, nothing could separate me from my new found love. I went on from there to lead my high school drama team.
After high school, I knew what college I wanted to attend. It had to be Walla Walla College because they offered a drama minor. I was incredibly excited to audition my ﬁrst year. I auditioned for everything. Then ﬁnally it happened. I got a part in the play, “The Diary of Anne Frank.” I worked hard, memorized my lines, painted the stage, and sewed the couch together. After one really fun performance, a lady walked up to me and hugged me. She felt comfortable around me, and she felt as if she knew me. It was then that I realized what I can do with drama. I can share Christ through drama. ■ I learned to love acting at Walla Walla College. My ﬁrst day here, I snuck into a wwcdrama rehearsal and watched from the balcony of Village Hall. After that, I was hooked. I’ve been ﬁshing for lines onstage ever since. Walla Walla College is an extraordinary place to learn acting, because of the combination of excellence and a Christian environment. I can grow here as an actor and feel pushed to develop my skills to their maximum potential.
Andrew Cockerham plays the role of Hal in “Proof.” Right now, I’ve just ﬁnished directing my ﬁrst play. It’s quite the experience. There are few things so difﬁcult or so rewarding as watching talented actors grow through the rehearsal process and then letting them go. I feel a bit like I’m a parent raising a child. Oddly, being off the stage for the ﬁrst time in awhile has given me one of the most important beneﬁts of acting: the ability to look at the world through others’ eyes, to understand life from their point of view, and to appreciate what they do. Sounds like what God did for us.
Adam Lombard, a 2003 graduate, presented the one-man show “An Evening with Mark Twain,” in the Donnie Rigby Blackbox theater. dramatic works of Centlivre, with the goal of producing both scholarly and stageable editions of her plays.
LUANN VENDEN has taught at Walla Walla College for the last ﬁve years. She received her M.A. and Ph.D. in English from the University of North Texas. Her dissertation fell somewhere between English and theatre history studies in its examination of early 18thcentury playwright Susanna Centlivre (1667-1723) and the performance history of her extensive body of work. Venden’s areas of academic interest are eighteenthcentury drama and women novelists, Victorian novels, and classical drama. She is currently editing the
LuAnn enjoys all aspects of theatre. Her ﬁrst on-stage role was as The Old Lady in a ﬁrst-grade production of “Stone Soup,” and she has been acting and directing in one way or the other ever since. She serves as Co-Artistic Director for wwcdrama, and in that capacity directs at least once a year, acts occasionally, and teaches History and Development of English Drama, and Play Direction I, the introductory theory course for student directors. Directing credits at WWC include: “Resurrexio Domini
Nostri” (a medieval mystery play); “The Gamester,” “Triﬂes,” and “Proof.” When she isn’t teaching or directing plays with wwcdrama, she enjoys spending time with her husband, David, and her son, Mark, who is seven and a half years old—and who recently played the part of Member of Rahab’s Family in a ﬁrst grade production of “The Fall of Jericho.”
WALLA WALLA COLLEGE COMMUNICATIONS DEPARTMENT
what they say We came to believe in our abilities, and into the art of the possible. —JIM BOCK, Sales Manager and Marketing Consultant, KUJ-AM Radio
My involvement in the drama program at WWC with Donnie Rigby was pivotal in shaping my ability to communicate on all levels as an adult. Learning to communicate different moods and in different characters in front of an audience imparted critical self-conﬁdence to meet and deal with a plethora of challenges and opportunities in my professional life. —GINA MARIE LINDSEY, Executive Vice President, McBee Strategic Consulting, LLC, Washington, D.C.
…I came here to Walla Walla for one reason, and one reason alone, and that is because I had heard that Walla Walla had an incredible engineering program…But I’m afraid that I was captured by the drama program here. I went to my ﬁrst drama tryout because there was a very beautiful girl trying out and I found out. But I ended up getting hooked into the drama program, and I have fallen deeply in love with the theater. —ADAM LOMBARD, 2003 communication graduate.
I took classes in theatre because they were fun—my motives were not much more sophisticated than that. It turns out those courses are quite practical, too. Practical, because acting on the stage energized my speech delivery, increased my vocabulary, and improved my selfconﬁdence— elements of success in any career. Practical, because organizing and directing plays with my peers proved to be terriﬁc leadership training. Practical, too, because immersing myself in great ideas from other times and cultures helped me understand my own background and chart my own course. —DAVID P. LENNOX, Lecturer, Managerial Communication, School of Hotel Administration, Cornell University
Village Hall improvements
I was able to be involved in so many different areas of theater: acting, directing, writing, etc. That generalized background has given me a wide range of practical experience to draw from as I study theater in more depth. —BRADLEY NELSON, graduate student in drama, The Ohio University.
Studying drama showed me that when I face real dilemmas, I need to face them with digniﬁed honesty. —MARK ROBISON, associate professor of English, Union College.
Village Hall, a tremendous old building with a great character and heart, has been the performance space for wwcdrama productions since the early 1970s. Upgrades this year include theater-style seating and new ﬁre detection and electrical systems that make viewing plays even more enjoyable and safe for audiences. With each production, the Village Hall stage takes on a new face as audiences are transported beyond its ivy-covered walls and stained glass windowpanes.
on another show, “Focus On Living.” In 1987 Marilynn relocated to Sydney, Australia and for the next ﬁve MARILYNN LOVELESS is artistic director of the drama program at Walla Walla College. She received her Ph.D. from Grifﬁth University in Australia in 2004 for her ﬁctocritical narrative, including historical and theoretical support, for how Mrs. Shakespeare was able to acquire the necessary education, experience and opportunity to write the works appropriated by her husband, William. She has directed a number of productions including “The Importance of Being Earnest,” “The Crucible,” “The Great Divorce,” “Mass Appeal,” “Eleemosynary,” and “The Diary of Anne Frank.” Marilynn is also involved as a regional adjudicator for the Kennedy Center American Colleges Theatre Festival.
years she worked as a writer and eventually as the series
Marilynn’s previous career in the media began in 1984 when she was hired as a researcher for “Lifestyle Magazine,” in Southern California. After two years she was offered a contract in New Zealand to work
In,” which was short-listed for inclusion in the 2001
producer of more than 135 half-hour television shows in Australia. In what some of her colleagues have described as the worst case of dissertation avoidance they have ever witnessed, Marilynn wrote a feature-length screenplay, “Weighing Sundance feature ﬁlm program.
Why study drama
at WWC? By Marilynn Loveless, wwcdrama artistic director ■ If you’re looking for the place to study drama in a Christian setting, you’ll ﬁnd it at Walla Walla College. Who gets involved in drama? When I last checked, there were engineers, mathematicians, pre-med, pre-dentistry, pre-law, biology, biochemistry, theology, religion, music, psychology, French, Spanish and English majors. Why do such a diverse group of students get involved in drama? Because of what they learn about life, about themselves, and about seeing the needs of others with new eyes. Drama, indeed, plays a unique role on a Christian campus. When a friend of mine learned that I was going to teach
drama at a Christian college, he jokingly remarked, “Well I guess you won’t be directing ‘Inherit the Wind’ any time soon.” He thought that a play based on the 1925 Scopes Monkey trial where religious fundamentalism confronted scientiﬁc Darwinism wouldn’t play well on a Christian campus. I won’t be directing that play anytime soon, but not for the reasons he thought. Why? Donnie Rigby already staged it here, in 1983. A pioneer who laid fresh tracks in the snow during her 30-year tenure as a professor of communication, Rigby remains a woman of strong convictions and a visionary who sees both the need for and the potential of an academic drama program
especially in a Christian liberal arts college. The power of a narrative to effect change is something Jesus understood. His parables started a revolution that continues to transform the world. His stories also made the authorities so angry that they cruciﬁed him. In 1961 Rigby produced the ﬁrst play at Walla Walla College, planting a seed that would provide the college with a rich drama heritage. Since 1971 Village Hall has been the main stage for our drama productions, and I can think of no other place more appropriate for a theatre program on a Seventh-day Adventist college campus than a former church
Artistic Director Marilynn Loveless shares her vision for drama at Walla Walla College with former director Donnie Rigby.
with the exquisite stained glass windows serving as a continual reminder of why we are here. Our newly relocated and reﬁtted black box theatre— appropriately named The Donnie Rigby Stage—will help to support this burgeoning academic program, providing much needed performance, rehearsal and classroom space. Like Donnie Rigby, I remain committed to a policy of integrating academic and artistic rigor into both our secular and sacred drama programs at Walla Walla College, providing a catalyst for growth and renewal
because just when we think we’ve got things ﬁgured out someone always seems to come along and discover that the earth isn’t ﬂat after all, and if women were meant to ﬂy they wouldn’t necessarily need to have wings—an airplane or a space shuttle will sufﬁce. Drama is a discipline that reﬂects the polarity, the contradictions, and the everyday tensions that are a part of realworld work. WWC is grounded in Christian values and life skills such as collaboration, selfconﬁdence and empathy. WWC teaches an understanding of aesthetic, complex, and at times contrary ideas.
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improv WWC students Bryan Cafferky, Clark Bassham, and Scotty Ray warm up the audience at Improv Church, a ministry of the WWC Church. A dozen students, including students from the Communications drama program, share their enthusiasm for Christ with other young people who attend the twice-monthly event in downtown Walla Walla. “Improv Church is a user-friendly, non-threatening way to invite people who are far from God into our community of faith,” says Karl Haffner, WWC Church senior pastor.
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