NACOGDOCHES, Texas – The School of Theatre at Stephen F. Austin State University was honored by the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival with numerous awards and nominations for the school’s fall semester plays “Bootycandy” and “Ajax in Iraq.”
The KCACTF is a national theater program involving 18,000 students annually from colleges and universities across the country. Since its inception, KCACTF has given more than 400,000 college theater students the opportunity to have their work critiqued, improve their dramatic skills, and receive national recognition for excellence.
“We are truly excited and honored that our students have been recognized for their hard work,” said Cleo House Jr., director of the School of Theatre and director of “Bootycandy.” “I believe this is a record number of SFA students to be recognized by KCACTF in one semester. This speaks to the commitment of not only the students, but also to the dedication of our faculty.”
“Bootycandy” is being “held for consideration” for invitation to the regional festival in 2022, which means that it will be a part of a select list of plays and musicals from university productions across Texas, Arkansas, Oklahoma and Louisiana that will be reviewed, discussed and voted on by the regional committee. The committee’s goal is to select/rank the productions that represent “the best of what our region offers,” according to House. Only the top plays will be presented at the regional festival.
“It may sound corny, but it really is an honor just to be nominated, because some excellent theatre is happening in our region and across Texas,” House said.
The School of Theatre presented Robert O’Hara’s play “Bootycandy” for its first Mainstage production in October. The play is a satiric portrait of American life told through the lens of Sutter, a gay Black man on an outrageous odyssey through his childhood home, his church, dive bars, motel rooms and even nursing homes. O'Hara weaves together scenes, sermons, sketches and daring meta-theatrics to create a kaleidoscopic portrayal of growing up gay and Black.
Ellen McLaughlin’s play “Ajax in Iraq” was presented in collaboration with Panola College Theatre in November at the Community House in Center. The play was described as a mash-up of Sophocles' classic tragedy “Ajax” with the modern-day war in Iraq. The schools sought to help their students and communities gain a better understanding of the difficulties U.S. military members and everyone in their lives endure in dealing with war and its aftermath.
The KCACTF commendations are as follows:
“Bootycandy” – Beaumont junior Andr'e J. Hankerson, Irene Ryan Acting Nominee; Texarkana sophomore Daun (DJ) Whaley, Irene Ryan Acting Nominee; Longview freshman Jaz'Lyn Lewis, Irene Ryan Acting Nominee; Waxahachie sophomore Kiya Green, Meritorious Achievement in Acting; Nacogdoches senior Ty Carter, Meritorious Achievement in Acting; Katy senior Alexis Hargy, Meritorious Achievement in Assistant Directing; Cleo House Jr., Meritorious Achievement in Directing; McKinney senior Carson Cook, Meritorious Achievement in Lighting Design; Splendora junior Stephen Bradley, Meritorious Achievement in Properties Design; and cast of “Bootycandy,” Meritorious Achievement Ensemble.
“Ajax in Iraq” – Allen senior Sara Clark, Irene Ryan Acting Nominee; Katy freshman Astrid Maldonado, Irene Ryan Acting Nominee; Cushing junior Drake Willis, Irene Ryan Acting Nominee; Lufkin junior Chance Chunn, Meritorious Achievement in Stage Management; Houston senior Elizabeth Bobbitt, Meritorious Achievement in Stage Management; Ponder sophomore Connor Molen, Meritorious Achievement in Consent Forward Practices; and The Woodlands senior Dorie Bloodworth, Meritorious Achievement in Assistant Directing.
For more information about the SFA School of Theatre, call (936) 468-4003 or visit theatre.sfasu.edu.