GCC’s “Splitting Issues” Provides Side-Splitting Comedy

After a Valentine’s Day filled with overpriced chocolates and forget-me-nots, it can be easy to become momentarily blinded by the silly issues brought on by even the dearest romantic relationships.

A comedic glimpse at the absurdities and trivialities of human relationships was brought to Glendale Community College courtesy of the Theatre Arts department’s production of “Splitting Issues (And Several Other Noteworthy Concerns)” this Feb. 22- March 2.

Written by Sam Brobrick and directed by GCC’s David Seitz, this comedy included nine short scenes varying in degree of romance, hilarity and outlandish situations.

From a frustrated couple arguing over the prominence of dip at a dinner party, a restaurant server flustered at the presence of a greedy ex-wife to a not-so-gentle-man who dwells in art museums to pick up women—this series of vignettes brought many issues to the eyes of audience members.

The cast was comprised of  fifteen GCC students who took on multiple roles, playing drastically different characters.

Actor JJ Hansen played the role of Wayne, a tricky neighbor, in “Dinner With Friendly Neighbors” as well as the role of Richard inside of a dimly-lit bar scene called “Purgatory.”

“My favorite scene to be in was  ‘Dinner with Friendly Neighbors.’ I got to play an outrageous, over-the-top Texan cowboy, so that one was really fun for me,” said Hansen.

One scene that stood out in its intelligent wit and humor was “Bingo-Bango,” which was a brief interaction between a woman who goes to art museums to admire the work and a man who scouts museums for attractive, single women. The interactions between the characters of Rosalind and Fred, played by Bailey Hall and Jared Queen, were quick-witted and surprising with each exchange of dialogue.

“My favorite scene to watch was ‘Bingo-Bango.’ Jared was amazing in that and so was Bailey; they worked that script to their fullest advantage,” said Hansen.

Having the same actors play multiple roles provided a variation of characters to be entertained by while seeing familiar faces. Often, noticing the same actor go from one colored wig to another became just as exciting as the new personality traits presented onstage.

“You get to experience everyone’s acting on a wider scale. Everyone pulls together a bit more because they are in more than one scene. It’s more of a team effort,” said Hansen.

For Hansen, “Splitting Issues” was not only entertaining; it was a learning experience.

“One of the good things about community college theatre is since its educational, our director will point out to us when we’re improving. It’s good for us to see the difference between opening night and closing night. We just constantly improve,” Hansen said.

The youngest members of the audience consisted of college-aged students, who remained most responsive throughout the comedic events within the play. With a hint of suggestive jokes and raunchy humor, “Splitting Issues” presented itself as a play for mature audiences.

Since the scenes within “Splitting Issues” did not follow one specific plotline, some audience members found it challenging to enjoy.

“People weren’t quite sure what to think because they are not used to vignettes. Some were thrown off by the whole thing, but other people found it really creative and great,” said Hansen after hearing some of the audience’s reactions.

The play took place within a small stage space, similar to the up-close, personal approach of a black box theater. One unique aspect of the set design was the digital background used throughout the play. Along with furniture and props, each vignette had a different background to enhance the atmosphere of the scene.

“Since we’re a community college, we have a lower budget yet we’re still able to make the best out of it with that budget. We can be creative with the stage set-up, and all the designers were able to adapt to it,” said Hansen.

In “Bingo-Bango,” a digital image of an art museum hallway was used to create a hyper-realistic portrayal of the environment. For not having opulent, large sets, this minimalistic approach worked very well in letting the audience focus more on the comedic interactions between characters.

“Some people were inspired by the fact that even though we had a small space and low budget, we were still able to put that much work into it and bring it to its fullest potential. Overall, the audience was really impressed with us,” Hansen said.

“Splitting Issues” presented everyday human interactions in a successful way by letting the audience see how absurd and comedic relationships can be. With vignettes, the audience was able to see a variety of situations, all with the same common thread of laughable instances that people can relate to.

Altogether, “Splitting Issues” granted the audience two hours of being able to laugh at common eccentricities and imperfections—making it a successful comedy based on the absurdity of relationships in the human experience.

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Audition for “Working”

Auditions for singing and non-singing roles are being held 10 a.m. – 1 p.m., Friday, Feb. 3 at the Glendale Community College Performing Arts Center for “Working,” from the book by Studs Terkel, adapted by Stephen Schwartz and Nina Faso. Songs are by Craig Carnelia, Micki Grant, Mary Rodgers, Susan Birkenhead, Stephen Schwartz and James Taylor. Callbacks will follow at 2 – 5 p.m. “Working” will be onstage April 13 – 21. For more information, contact David Seitz by email at david.seitz@gcmail.maricopa.edu.

“Working” is the 1970’s nonfiction book that tells the stories of Americans with jobs in fields ranging from acting to gas meter reading. Studs Terkel is a Pulitzer prize winner for his writing and the play adaptation is sure to delight!

Men and women ages 18 and older should bring a picture and résumé. Singers should prepare a one-minute a cappella song. Actors may prepare a one-minute monologue or cold read from the script. A perusal script and possibly a reference recording are available at the GCC Library Circulation Desk.

Screenplay Search

Are you looking for your big break? This summer, you can have the movie you scripted come to life with the help of other Glendale Community College students.

GCC’s Theatre and Video Production Technology departments have teamed up to produce at least two student-written screenplays. The screenplays will be produced with film acting student actors by the video production advanced directing class.

In order to have your screenplay considered, follow these guidelines:

1. Scripts must be submitted before the end of Spring Semester and may come from any interested student.

2. Scripts must be submitted in Film Format.

3. Scripts should be from 10-20 pages and they must tell a complete story.

4. The script would be best with no more than two leads and several supporting roles that can be played by either sex.

5. Limit locations, one is best. For example: in and around a house or the school stadium.

6. Content should be acceptable to the administration, suitable for YouTube, and MCTV – meaning PG-13 in relation to sexual issues, R-for language (though PG-13 would be best). Graphic or gratuitous violence is not recommended.

7. Scripts should be submitted with a cover page with the writer’s contact information. Judgment of the scripts will be blind, so the header on the script itself should contain only the title and page number. Scripts with identifying information will not be submitted for consideration.

8. Final selection will be made before start of summer classes. If nothing suitable is submitted, we will shoot something selected by the staff.

Scripts should be emailed in Microsoft Word format to David Seitz david.seitz@gcmail.maricopa.edu or James Brandt brandtmedia@yahoo.com.

Registering for the following classes is not required, but you may want to consider it for the full production experience!
THP210 – Acting for TV & Film
VPT206 – Producing & Directing

Professor Shineman Play Selected by Natl. Group

GCC Professor Kirt Shineman’s play, “The Pornographer” has been chosen as one of 50 to be presented from more than 400 national entries in the 2011 Great Plains Theatre Conference PlayLabs in Omaha, Nebraska. The plays are being paneled by GPTC featured artists including: Tony- and Pulitzer-nominated playwright Lee Blessing; Obie-winning dramatist Mac Wellman; United States Latina playwright, translator, lyricist and editor Caridad Svich; and acclaimed playwright Constance Congdon. The Conference PlayLabs run concurrently from May 28 – June 4. A director and cast rehearse the plays prior to a public reading. A panel of theatre professionals, academicians and the audience provide public feedback about the reading.

Playwright Shineman describes “The Pornographer:” When the young artist Egon Schiele is charged with raping and kidnapping a young girl as well as immoral and depraved behavior, he fights against the authorities. His ordeal places art and artists’ lifestyles on trial. We question who should decide what we and our children see. Egon was one of the most influential painters to emerge from Vienna at the turn of the century. He was as controversial then as Robert Mapplethorpe, Georg Baselitz and Madonna are now. This is a timely play with the social crisis of sexting, government surveillance and the recent Miller et al. v. Skumanick, a child pornography case. The play asks: can a government legitimately prohibit citizens from publishing or viewing pornography, or would this be an unjustified violation of basic freedoms? “The Pornographer” paints a portrait of how institutions determine who and what we see.