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Thursday, April 18, 2024

Santa Fe College performs student plays at Take 5 festival

‘Take 5’ show featured five student performances

<p>Santa Fe College student actors line up to bow and receive applause after the ‘Take 5’ festival on Friday, Jan. 26, 2024.</p>

Santa Fe College student actors line up to bow and receive applause after the ‘Take 5’ festival on Friday, Jan. 26, 2024.

As the curtains rose, the lights dimmed to black, transporting the audience into the realm of ‘Take 5’ — a series of five, 10 minute plays, performed and directed by Santa Fe College students Jan. 26. 

The ‘Take 5’ festival unfolded with five distinct plays, each delving into themes of overcoming hardships and featuring no more than two actors. 

Matthew Lindsay, SF professor of theatre since 2015, has led the group as its faculty advisor for two years. 

“It is not easy to navigate your way through a solo piece,” he said.

The festival’s title reflects Lindsay’s fascination with the jazz composition “Take 5” by Dave Brubeck, he said. In between each play, a jazz band played to create a “lounge vibe” and contribute to the overall audience experience.

“The goal of that, of course, is to collaborate with another department within the Fine Arts department,” he said. “It’s one of the things we strive to do, to have that sort of sense of collaboration.”

As curtains rose on auditions last November, Lindsay found himself amid a wave of ambition, he said, with “well over twenty people” trying out for a part. Lindsay handpicked his student directors and cast. 

“I’m always impressed by our students at Santa Fe, and there is something magical,” he said. “There really is no other way of saying, just watching the process go from organized chaos to cohesion.”

Following the casting process and the selection of student directors, Lindsay, in collaboration with the cast and student directors, selected the cast, designed costumes and organized props. Primarily, Lindsay said his presence guides the student directors. 

“The student directors can observe me giving notes to actors,” he said.

The first short play, “Tirade,” centered around the theme of jealousy — a green-eyed monster — that inevitably leads to the main character’s downfall. 

Kirsten High, who plays main character Tootie Perkins, took the stage dressed in a vivid traffic cone-colored orange jumpsuit and her hands bound by handcuffs. “Playing the character was hard at times,” she said.

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“I described it like a rollercoaster going up slowly, slowly, slowly, but it combusts at the top,” she said. “It just explodes, which is just her breaking point of insanity.”

Following ‘Tirade,’ a live jazz band took the stage before the next play began.

Next, David Stephenson and Laurie Spivey, actors from “Please Have A Seat, Someone Will Be With You Shortly,” directed by Sophie Torri, took their places under the spotlight. 

The play unfolded in a therapist’s office, featuring a young woman and a man who musters up the courage to tell her he likes her. 

It was followed by “Choices,” featuring a prospective client meeting a debt counselor, played by Pascal Coulibaly and Julia Vega. The two dealt with a dilemma: erase $240,000 in student loan debt but live only twenty more years, or continue living with significant debt.

The fourth play was “Jeffery Slugworth: Ex-Embalmer” directed by Zachary Sopko and performed by Jimmy Latsko. Embodying Jeffery Slugworth, a recovering alcoholic, Jeffery spoke directly to his former employer’s tombstone. 

Playwright of “Jeffery Slugworth: Ex-Embalmer” Ari Roth, traveled from Washington, D.C. to watch the performance of his work. 

Roth noted the importance of an actor having to “be really brave.”

Closing the performance was “Chocolate,” directed by Camerone Varvei, in which a character armed with a gun was pitted against one with a chocolate bar, signifying the act of letting one’s guard down.  

During a question and answer session after the performance, a woman in the audience said, “I immersed myself into wherever you were taking me,” regarding the performance as a whole. 

Contact Ariel Rademeyer at Follow her on Twitter @ArielRadem55889.

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Ariel Rademeyer

Ariel Rademeyer is a journalism major and Santa Fe Reporter for the Alligator. In her free time, she enjoys watching Gilmore Girls, going to coffee shops, and listening to Taylor Swift.

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