PittCulture

  • Mesmerizing show

    Students get charged up at annual hypnosis show

    | Caitlin Martin reporter |

    Fryendz Wallace spent his night on Wednesday playing the role of a member of the Laughter Police by the name of Officer Laughs-a-Lot.
    With a serious demeanor, he handed out tickets to members of Terry DaVolt’s audience who showed even a hint of laughter at the High Voltage Hypnosis Comedy Show in the Overman Student Center.
    The Student Activities Council hosted DaVolt’s self-proclaimed “energizing, electrifying, and amazing” show in the nearly full Crimson and Gold Ballroom.
    After coming out of the hypnosis, Wallace, freshman in psychology, said that he felt great.
    “It was just nice,” he said.
    The show began with DaVolt, clad in a bright purple suit jacket, choosing around 30 students to join him onstage and become the stars of the show. While under hypnosis, the participants acted out seeing a funny movie, becoming a jockey in the Kentucky Derby, relaxing and sweating on their favorite beach, and even freezing in a blizzard in Alaska.
    DaVolt also made the participants see things that were not really there such as their favorite ice cream, a pet bird on their finger, and a voodoo doll that led participants in a series of dance moves.
    “There were a lot of the same things in it, but with different people it’s always a different show,” Ashley Keller, sophomore in math said.
    DaVolt has been putting on hypnosis shows for 15 years, but has been performing for nearly twice that long in shows such as the Ringling Brothers Circus. DaVolt attended clown college and then moved on to other endeavors such as developing a Wild West variety show and touring with country music group Brooks and Dunn in their Neon Circus and Wild West Show.
    “My favorite part is seeing the reactions,” DaVolt said. “Every show is different … We can do the same, what I call daydreams, skits, but we’ll have different people and get different reactions and have different fun.”
    Throughout the show, DaVolt puts an emphasis on his volunteers feeling relaxed during and after the show.
    Adam Townsend, senior in commercial graphics who was hypnotized at the event, said, “I feel loose.”
    SAC puts on events like hypnotist shows solely for the entertainment of students.
    “I think it’s wonderful,” said Sarah Nistler, junior in math education, “especially for the new students because it really gets them involved and gives them lots of opportunities for all their different interests instead of just keeping it to sporting events where if you don’t like sports then you don’t have an option to get involved.”
    But DaVolt says the real entertainment comes from the actions of the participants.
    “The volunteers are the stars of the show,” said DaVolt. “The show’s not about me; it’s about all of my volunteers.”

  • Diversity social brings students of all backgrounds together

    | Daniel O’Rear reporter |

    A large circle was formed in the Balkans Room on Tuesday, Aug. 26, of the Overman Center as new inductees of Hispanics of Today (HOT) memorized existing members’ names.
    HOT has several activities planned throughout the year to bring awareness and potentially attract even more members.
    Club secretary Emely Flores, senior in broadcasting, has been a member of HOT for three years. She says the club will be hard at preparing for Hispanic Heritage Month.
    “The middle of September is considered the start of Hispanic Heritage Month,” she said. “It goes to mid-October.”
    Flores was born in Puerto Rico and moved to Independence with her family in 2008.
    “It was a drastic change,” Flores said. “The people, the culture, everything was different.”
    Other student organizations at the diversity social included the Native American Student Association (NASA).
    NASA says it is focusing on rebuilding membership this semester.
    “For the last three years we have worked hard rebuilding our membership,” said Nikki Stone, senior in communication and president of NASA.
    Stone is a member of the Cherokee tribe and a native of Oklahoma. Like Flores, she also has been involved with her club for three years.
    NASA has a fry bread sale scheduled for Wednesday, Sept. 10., in the Oval from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
    Kimberlee Fields, senior in psychology and president of the Black Student Association (BSA) says she is proud of her organization’s membership numbers and quality.
    “Last year we got most improved organization,” Fields said, referring to the annual campus awards.
    The organization holds debates, fashion shows and other activities throughout the school year, especially during Black History Month in February.
    A diversity barbecue is scheduled for Wednesday, Sept. 3, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Oval.
    The adviser for the three organizations, Maria Thompson, assistant director for the office of student diversity, says she is impressed by the student commitment to the multicultural organizations on campus.
    “Yes, they have grown a lot,” Thompson said. “A lot of them have grown into leadership roles in the organizations. HOT has the goal to be most improved organization this year.”
    Meetings for the organizations are held biweekly on Wednesdays in room 316 in Hughes Hall. NASA meetings are at 4 p.m., HOT at 5 p.m., and BSA at 6 p.m.
    All students are welcome and encouraged to attend meetings to learn more about each organization’s cultures.

  • What happens in Sin City should stay there

    | Jay Benedict reporter |

    “Sin City: A Dame to Kill For” has a bad case of “The Matrix Syndrome.”
    The original “The Matrix” movie was well-reviewed by critics and audiences came out in droves to see the Wachowski Brothers’ dystopian futuristic flick. It even won Oscars. The film was praised for its original and interesting plot and the groundbreaking technical and special effects, in spite of Keanu Reeves’ bland, emotionless delivery in the lead role. It’s the movie that gave Hollywood bullet time.
    The team reassembled and churned out two sequels to “The Matrix,” but neither film approached the bar that the first had set. That’s partly because the concept and technology simply got old and partly because the writing was nothing special. Now, “The Matrix” is still quotable and recognized as an impressive piece of art and its sequels are an afterthought.
    This is what is going to happen to Frank Miller and Robert Rodriguez’s “Sin City: A Dame to Kill For.” The original overshadows this film for the same reasons described above.
    Rodriguez’s “Sin City” brought Miller’s graphic novels to life in a way that large audiences had never seen before.
    Its highly stylized use of black and white with splashes of color gave the whole movie a comic book feel and stayed incredibly faithful to the source material. It still stands out as a beautifully done film with dark plot lines and themes.
    “A Dame to Kill For” does the same thing, except it’s not new anymore. The style is still stunning and looks even sharper than the original, and the cast is even more loaded this time around. The film features four interconnected stories and includes several characters from “Sin City.”
    It’s really the story of a bar. Each of the individual arcs starts or has a portion of the story in a dive bar in a bad part of town. It’s here that Nancy (Jessica Alba) dances, Marv (Mickey Rourke) acts as the resident enforcer and tough guy, Johnny (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) and Roark (Powers Boothe) play their poker games, and Dwight (Josh Brolin) and Ava (Eva Green) reunite.
    The patrons of this bar take turns on screen having their conflicts play out. Marv is very much the center of this film. He plays a part in every storyline, though some are more minor than others. Rourke isn’t asked to do much more than be physically imposing, and he carries that off well.
    Eva Green is easily the highlight. She plays the central character in the film’s longest and most fleshed-out plot line. Green shows what she can do with very little. In a film full of caricatures, Green manages to play both victim and villain as a greedy sociopathic seductress. In a film where every female character is either a stripper or a prostitute, Green bares the most skin. It feels like nearly half of her screen time is spent in the nude.
    Gordon-Levitt brings his suave, wise-cracking schtick to the gambler Johnny. He performs admirably, but his story feels tacked on. It has almost nothing to do with the events of the rest of the movie, save to villainize Roark even more. The plotline pops up between more relevant stories and seems like it’s only there to break up the action and extend the film.
    Nancy’s story ties directly into the events of the first “Sin City.” It’s the only plotline that offers any closures, but it’s also the shortest and is tacked onto the end.
    Noir tropes dominate “A Dame to Kill For.” Character voice-over drives most of the narrative. Roark uses “boy” at the end or beginning of almost every sentence. Most transitions between scenes involve the characters driving somewhere and explaining their motivations.
    Honestly, these stories don’t need to be told. The film brings nothing new to the table. It feels like a sequel for the sake of making one. The tone is dark and gritty and the characters are almost all unsavory.
    “A Dame to Kill For” is a comic book come to life. It’s cool to see it happen, but these characters aren’t worth investing in, nor do they have the capacity for that. Check it out if seedy, static characters are your thing, or you’re a fan of Eva Green. Otherwise, go see “Guardians of the Galaxy” again.

  • Back to the Future

    1994: A 20 Year Retrospective

    | Jay Benedict reporter |

    Two decades ago, the world was treated to one of the best years in entertainment ever.
    Most freshmen at PSU, however, were born after this wonderful year. So, here’s an education on what you missed and for us older students, prepare to bask in nostalgia. If you don’t remember it or are unaware of just how great it was, here is a retrospective of the entertainment industry in 1994.

    Film

    Film was the strongest that year and many of the releases have become classics. Some of the greatest examples of cinema include the likes of “ Forrest Gump,” “Pulp Fiction” and “The Lion King.” It was a great year for comedy, drama and kids’ movies.
    The under-18 crowd was treated to a smorgasbord of classic movies, the best of which is easily “The Lion King,” one of Disney’s last, great cartoon-animated movies. The year also saw “Blank Check,” the visualization of every kid’s dream, where a jerk wrecks a kid’s bike and gives him a blank check to cover the cost. Macaulay Culkin’s “Richie Rich” is in the same vein.
    “D2: The Mighty Ducks,” another fantastic underdog, feel-good story that made hockey relevant in states that don’t border Canada. “3 Ninjas Kick Back” was the sequel to a movie that got inspired kids on playgrounds all across the country to perform made-up karate moves, and was the last movie in the franchise that wasn’t terrible. “Angels in the Outfield” and “The Little Rascals” stole hearts and provided laughs simultaneously.
    The year really belonged to Jim Carrey. He put out three of the highest grossing movies of the year, and they’re all still pop culture references today: “The Mask,” “Ace Ventura: Pet Detective,” and “Dumb and Dumber” are not great movies, although there are plenty who would argue that point. dumb_dumber_movie-2014
    It’s hard to say which one was the most ridiculous, but credit to Carey. He really found his schtick, stuck with it and took it all the way to the bank. There’s even a “Dumb and Dumber” sequel on the horizon after a long, 20-year wait.
    Action and drama fans had plenty to ogle at in 1994 too.
    Tom Hanks’ played the title character in “Forrest Gump.” It won Best Picture and him Best Actor trophies and was one of the first movies I remember as being better than the book. (Yes, there’s a book.) Arnold Schwarzenegger and James Cameron rode their “Terminator” success and more explosions to another box office blockbuster in “True Lies.”
    Audiences were also treated to “Speed,” Brad Pitt and Kirsten Dunst out-acting Tom Cruise in “Interview with a Vampire,” “Four Weddings and a Funeral,” the bull riding tearjerker “8 Seconds,” cult-classic “The Crow,” western comedy “Maverick” and the list goes on. Plug “1994 in film” into Google and be amazed. There’s enough quality there to keep a movie watcher entertained for weeks.

    Music

    The year in music is marred by the world losing Nirvana’s lead singer Kurt Cobain.
    However, this year was still a listener’s dream. It was a time when alternative rock went mainstream, contradictory to its roots, and the rap/hip h0p/R&B scene produced acts with enormous staying power.
    The noise that had been growing in regions became a national radio powerhouse. Green Day dropped “Dookie” on us. Alice in Chains released “Jar of Flies.” Cake made its debut along with OutKast, Weezer, Ben Harper, Aaliyah, Nas, Todies, Oasis, Usher, Notorious B.I.G., Bush and Dave Matthews Band.
    The Cranberries released “No Need to Argue.” Nine Inch Nails, Soundgarden, Stone Temple Pilots, Live, Pearl Jam, The Offspring and Hootie and the Blowfish all released multi-platinum albums. There are Spotify playlists and Pandora radio stations based entirely on this year; go find them.

    Television

    A discussion of television in 1994 cannot be had without including O.J. Simpson. He and his driver led the Los Angeles Police Department and the nation on a 50-mile slow speed chase. During this time, 95 million people tuned in, more pizzas were sold in LA than ever before and it interrupted Game 5 of the NBA finals. I still remember watching both on NBC’s split-screen coverage. One of America’s most loved athletes fell from grace, the white Bronco became a cultural icon and an obsession with reality TV was born.
    In other news, this year saw Ellen DeGeneres start her sitcom and subsequent rise to the culture-changing force she became. “Friends” was NBC’s newest hit. “Sister, Sister,” “The Magic School Bus,” “Space Ghost Coast to Coast,” “My So Called Life,” “The Secret World of Alex Mack,” Aaahh! Real Monsters” and “All That” premiere for kids. Elsewhere, “Chicago Hope” premiered and “ER” became a breeding ground for talent with the likes of George Clooney and Julianna Margulies.

    While these works and events are older than many people who are reading this, there’s little doubt that they’re well known, or that they at least sound familiar. The year produced so many movies, films, songs, bands and personalities that became mainstays or milestones for popular culture. There may be other years with some better overall quality, but it’s hard to compare to 1994’s quantity of quality.

  • Campus protest to echo ‘Slut Walk’

    | Marcus Clem editor in chief |

    Jessica Crabtree says she’s taking an idea that’s seen global success and applying her own twist to it. This may seem like conventional innovation, until one learns her inspiration: The Slut Walk.
    Crabtree is rebranding the international movement for her demonstration, the Strut Your Stuff event, set for 2 p.m. Saturday, May 3. It will follow a southern route around campus from the Oval.
    The concept is basically the same as a Slut Walk; a group of scantily clad people marching to protest the trope that a provocatively dressed person is inviting sexual aggression.
    “That idea is preposterous,” Crabtree said. “I should be able to stand somewhere naked and not be raped or assaulted. The only invitation for sex is an actual invitation.”
    Strut Your Stuff is meant to make it easier for people to get involved in this idea.
    “I wanted to put my own spin on it,” she said, “to organize it along the same lines but with my own take.”
    Slut Walk events, such as the protest that occurred at Pittsburg State last fall, are typically open to all. Crabtree says she hopes to focus the event on inclusion.
    “We want to maximize turnout,” she said. “I’m hoping that the result will be a greater reaction on campus.”
    Crabtree says that the ideas that inspire Strut Your Stuff are a key way to improve awareness of how people perceive a form of dress at, for example, a party.
    “Sexual assault is a problem everywhere,” she said. “It’s underreported; victims are too scared to talk, or perhaps the morning after, they don’t remember everything.”
    Crabtree and event volunteers will hold a fundraiser in the Oval on Friday, May 2, in support of Safehouse, a shelter in Pittsburg that supports victims of domestic violence, located at 669 S. U.S. Hwy 69.
    For more information, call Safehouse at 620-231-8692.

  • Summer music preview

    | Jay Benedict writer |

    Summer entertainment is known for its blockbuster movies, TV repeats and songs that encapsulate the spirit of the season. They’re songs that sound best while driving with the windows down, with the volume pumped up and belting them out shamelessly until you’re stuck at a stoplight and people start giving you looks.
    Last summer saw hits like Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines,” Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky,” Imagine Dragons’ “Radioactive” and Macklemore’s “Can’t Hold Us.” Hits from established acts will be popular, but undoubtedly some newcomers will make a splash as well.
    Here’s a preview of albums that have been announced that might just contain the singles that will be overplayed on the radio and listened to at pool parties, bonfires and bars.
    Next week, Chris Brown, Lil Wayne, Lily Allen and Atmosphere are dropping albums. This will be Atmosphere’s sixth studio album. This one may make a little more of a mainstream splash because of the success that Mackelmore and Ryan Lewis saw last year. Atmosphere channels that same sound but has been doing it longer.
    The week of May 12 will see Rascal Flatts and The Black Keys, among other artists, with releases.
    The Black Keys achieved a more mainstream following after “Gold on the Ceiling” was used as the theme song to the 2012 NCAA basketball tournament. The duo holds a secure place in the blues-rock strata and is coming off their best-reviewed album. Expect a solid follow-up.
    The following week sees a release from folk-country-turned mainstream-country singer Brantley Gilbert.
    His early career isn’t mentioned much, but his best music was made prior to his last album when he added more Southern rock to his compositions and a lot of gravel to his voice.
    Coldplay also releases “Ghost Stories” this week. The first single, “Magic,” is already very popular.
    Jimmy Fallon’s house band The Roots and Jam-rockers O.A.R. also have a release this week.
    June kicks off with 50 Cent, Miranda Lambert, and Yiddish rapper Matisyahu releasing albums.
    50 Cent has been wallowing in mediocrity since the last 2000s but still gets airtime.
    Country superstar Lambert churns out hit after hit and her new album “Platinum” should be no different.
    Matisyahu made a splash in 2006 with “Youth,” but has released several albums since then relatively quietly. This new album may be a true return to form, though.
    The week of June 10, Jack White’s follow-up to the mostly good “Blunderbuss” will be released. White can be hit or miss, but can be relied on to generate discussion between rock fans. Count on “Lazaretto” to be loud and inevitably catchy.
    Jennifer Lopez, Linkin Park, Sia and Ed Sheeran have new music dropping as well.
    This represents only a fraction of what is being released in the next month. Undoubtedly, hits will come from other artists and the highlighted artists are just some of the most well-known that are putting out new music.
    Album announcements become spotty after mid-June.
    Some release dates haven’t been locked down or official announcements haven’t been made yet. So far, the pop and country genres seem to be underrepresented. That will surely change and the songs you’ll be humming for days will probably be one of those.

  • Street art

    Art Walk proves to be sucess

    | Gretchen Burns reporter |

    Several booths were set up last Friday, April 25, for the Pittsburg Art Walk, an attraction that brings local artists out to sell and showcase their talents.
    Photographers, caricaturists and other artists lined the streets, and work done by aspiring artists from local high schools was also displayed in various shop windows.
    Although the majority of the Art Walk comprised local artists, the Art Practices II: 3-D Visual Thinking class from Pitt State had an interactive display at the Markham Travel building.
    “It was fascinating,” said Ithaca Marlier, senior in art education. “Everyone had different ideas, but we came together like a family of Gorillas.”

    Seventh grader Laney Bevins paints a junk car at the Pittsburg Art Walk Friday, April 25.Seventh grader Laney Bevins paints a junk car at the Pittsburg Art Walk Friday, April 25.

    Seventh grader Laney Bevins paints a junk car at the Pittsburg Art Walk Friday, April 25.


    A fog machine and streamers greeted Art Walk-goers as they entered Markham Travel. Holiday lights covered by ping-pong balls lined the halls as well. The theme of the class project was “Celestial Dreams.” To help make the project interactive, cutouts were placed on a table and visitors were encouraged to write their dreams on a cutout and then attach it to a nearby streamer for others to view.
    “The idea is that you can come in, and by walking among the stars, you become inspired by everyone else’s dreams, and then you become inspired to go out and live your own dreams,” said Shandara Richardson, junior in art education.
    Throughout the planning of this exhibit, the class had separated into committees such as installation, signage, and design and construction. Each committee was in charge of figuring out what needed to be done and communicate with the rest of the class to discuss who could do what and when.
    “It’s not how we imagined it at first, but it all came together well,” said Tiffany Haase, freshman in art education. “It’s good to learn how to work together.”
    Robert Raio says the biggest problem the class ran into was communication, but that was to be expected in any group project.
    “I think there are problems with any group project but is a matter of how you work through those problems,” said Raio, senior in art.
    For this year’s Art Walk, a mural was painted on the side of 505 at Fifth and Broadway. The mural is designed to represent the life of downtown and show the community spirit.
    PSU alumna Elizabeth Cosby was painting her section of the mural during the Art Walk so passersby could see the work in progress.
    Cosby’s submitted idea involves theater, art, love and the beauty of life. She was asked by the committee who chose her design to let it flow, as if leading people to the downtown area. Her section of the mural was not the only one chosen, and she is working with five other artists to create the mural. There will be a filmstrip painted along the top to capture the spirit of Pittsburg.
    As a teacher of seventh- and eighth-grade art at Carl Junction, Cosby was able to have her students’ work displayed in one of the participating shops.
    The SEK Art Fest also had a booth allowing viewers to learn about the coal buckets that were decorated and displayed last year and showed a replica of the footballs that will be decorated and displayed at the June 20 Art Walk. The footballs will be displayed until the Pittsburg State University homecoming game.
    A total of 24 artists were chosen to decorate footballs based on designs that they submitted.
    “Some of the same artists have been chosen this year that were chosen last year,” said Leslie Harris, chairperson of the SEK Art Fest. “Three jurors who have art backgrounds chose the designs.”

  • F.A.M.E. to host annual fashion show

    | Kelsea Renz managing editor |

    Fans of fashion in Pittsburg need look no farther than down the street to find a fashion show of professional caliber.
    Pitt State’s Fashion and Merchandising Entrepreneurs (F.A.M.E.), along with Wax: Beauty and Barbour Factory, will conduct a joint hair and fashion show at Parrot Bey at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, April 26.
    “Dani contacted us around January and asked to pair up for the show,” said Alyssa Marsh, senior in fashion merchandising and F.A.M.E. president. “It will help to bring more people and makes the show longer.”
    Dani Pollard, owner of Wax, wanted to do her half of the show for publicity of her new salon and to bring as many people as possible to the event.
    “I’m obviously getting rewarded by getting to be creative and getting my ideas out there,” Pollard said. “And we were already going to do the hair for F.A.M.E.’s fashion show, so I figured instead of doing two small shows, we could have one large one.”
    The show, titled “Back to Life,” will feature 11 models for Pollard to showcase hairstyles and 11 models for F.A.M.E. to showcase fashion.
    The models for Pollard will start the show. They will be dressed all in white and have hairstyles that are colorful and wild.
    “I wanted to take that white and purity and collide it with the boldest and brightest and softest colors and hairstyles,” Pollard said.
    F.A.M.E.’s models will be dressed in a postmodern 1980s look with a twist theme and have simple, clean hair and makeup.
    “I got really inspired from the song ‘Back to Life,’” Marsh said. “I wanted to put together looks that went with that song but had a modern twist to them.”
    Marsh was focused mainly on the business side of the show but had a hand in choosing the looks.
    “Most of the looks were a group effort. We went through the F.A.M.E. closet, which has trends from the ‘60s through now, and put pieces together that worked with the theme,” she said. “And four of the looks are original designs by Darrel Holland.”
    The show will cost $5 at the door, with 60 percent of the proceeds going to the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. There will also be a silent auction to raise money for the charity.
    “This is the first year we will be doing the auction,” Marsh said. “We wanted to be able to raise even more for the charity.”
    Marsh also says this event has been very beneficial to the members of F.A.M.E..
    “This is a great thing to have on a resume,” she said. “It opens a lot of doors and it’s good for fashion students to know how to put on a fashion show.”

  • Solid last production, plot ‘phones’ it in

    | Jay Benedict reporter |

    “Dead Man’s Cell Phone” is the final production the Grubbs Studio Theater will hold. Strangely, its final show also features something the theater has never seen before.
    Local band Deadeye scored the play and performs the songs, as well as the sound effects, live. It adds something special to the experience. That’s a good thing because without this gimmick the play might have trouble standing on its own.
    At their cores, plays or any entertainment production seek to accomplish a goal. Plays are comedic for enjoyment, tragic and take the audience on a dramatic journey. They have a motive. Sometimes that motive is simply artistic and other times it’s to make a point.
    It’s hard to tell what “Dead Man’s Cell Phone” is trying to do. Part of it draws laughs, yet it feels like it’s trying to be dramatic, as if it’s trying to be a commentary on our dependence on technology. And then, it becomes a morality play. Throw in the live band and it’s a lot to take in.

    Breezi Hancock, freshman in communications education, pass out gifts during dinner in The Dead Man's Cell Phone on Monday April 21.

    Breezi Hancock, freshman in communications education, pass out gifts during dinner in The Dead Man’s Cell Phone on Monday April 21.


    The main character, Jean (Breezi Hancock), picks up a dead man’s cell phone in a cafe because it won’t stop ringing and starts taking his calls. This leads her down a rabbit hole with no way out. Soon, she’s meeting with lovers and family members and making up stories to comfort them in their loss. She’s telling them nice, comforting things about a bad man she never met.
    She briefly falls for the dead man’s brother, Dwight (Logan Qualls) and sort of gets mixed up in an international organ-smuggling ring. Eventually, the dead man’s phone almost leads her to her own demise.
    The play’s liveliest parts are when its namesake “Gordon” (Austin VanBecelaere) is on screen. He delivers a powerhouse soliloquy just after intermission. His scene later in the play is also strong.
    Megan Reed plays Mrs. Gottlieb, Gordon’s mother. The character is definitely over-the-top and that’s the way she plays it. Catie Almond’s Hermia pulls off the grieving/scorned widow well. Hancock and Qualls play well off each other, too.
    Deadeye’s compositions are light, folky and catchy. The opening number is one of the best. Folk/red dirt country fans might recognize it as reminiscent of The Damn Quails’ “Fool’s Gold.” Watching the band perform its songs and create the sound effects adds something special to the performance.
    Logan Qualls, a junior in communications, and Breezi Hancock, freshman in communications education, hold each other in The Dead Man's Cell Phone on Monday April 21.

    Logan Qualls, a junior in communications, and Breezi Hancock, freshman in communications education, hold each other in The Dead Man’s Cell Phone on Monday April 21.


    The acoustic setting fits the mood and is a better sound for the band. Lead vocalist Megan McCoy tends to over exert during part of other live performances and reins it in here except for the song following intermission.
    The technical elements are pulled off well and the presentation is fun to watch. The glaring issue is the play itself. The premise is simple enough, but playwright Sarah Ruhl’s script is overly complicated and confusing. The characters are dragged back and forth through the convoluted story without much of an explanation for their motivations, and the denouement is abrupt and unsatisfying.
    Director Cynthia Allan surely saw something in this play that enticed her to bring it to Pitt State. Maybe others will see it, too. Fortunately, the biggest issue with the production comes from outside the university.
    The cast does well, the production is solid and the live music adds life to a stiff of a script.

  • Final Curtain Call

    | Andrea Hucke reporter |

    The simple act of answering a call isn’t usually a life-changing event. However, for the main character in tonight’s production of Sarah Ruhl’s “Dead Man’s Cell Phone,” picking up the phone does just that.
    Pittsburg State’s Department of Communication will be presenting the play at 8 p.m. Thursday, April 24, until Saturday, April 26, in the Grubbs Studio Theater. A final performance will be at 2 p.m. Sunday, April 27.
    The play, a comedy, depicts modern society’s fascination with technology in a surrealistic and quirky way.
    “It’s all about technology and how we can get caught up in it so easily,” said Cynthia Allan, chair of the department and director of the play. “It shows how we’re connected with more people than ever before, but at the same time we’re not in touch.”
    Ruhl’s piece demonstrates this connectedness by following the life of a woman who unknowingly becomes intertwined with the family and associates of a recently deceased man, all because she answered his cell phone.
    All of the play’s action will be accompanied by a new aspect of the performance: a live soundtrack provided by local bluegrass and alternative rock band “Deadeye.”
    “One of the most exciting parts of putting on this production has been collaborating with ‘Deadeye,’ which has written original music for the play,” Allan said. “They’ll also be playing music between scenes and providing sound effects to go along with the show.”
    The coordinators of the play first contacted Deadeye about writing the music last summer, when the piece was selected. Since then, those involved with the production have been hard at work.
    “It’s been in the works for at least the last 10 months,” Allan said. “Auditions and rehearsals started in early March, we had design discussions in January, and our last practices have been all about ironing things out and getting the timing down.”
    Apart from Allan and the local band, the cast features 11 students, majoring in various fields across campus. Students are also in charge of the lighting and set design.
    “It’s a completely student-run show because they’re involved in almost every aspect of putting it on,” Allan said.
    The upcoming performances of “Dead Man’s Cell Phone” are not only the last of the semester, but are also the final productions to attract audiences to the Grubbs Studio Theater.
    Beginning in February, the communication department’s presentations will be in the Center for the Arts.
    “I’m really excited to be moving over there and I hope everyone is too, especially the students,” Allan said. “With complete scene and costume shops, it’ll be a terrific learning environment.”
    Allan says she is confident that theater supporters in the community will attend this year’s final production of the department.
    “We’ve always had great audiences for our shows and I think that will only continue as we transition over to the Performing Arts Center,” she said.

Leave A Comment