December 26, 2012
ELLENSBURG, Wash. -- Central Washington University's Central Theatre Ensemble (CTE) production of Icarus: A New Noh in English was selected to participate in the 44th regional conference of the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival (KCACTF) to be held in Sacramento, California, in February. Icarus was one of only four productions selected for the conference, out 217 productions submitted by 64 colleges throughout the region.
Icarus: A New Noh in English, directed by CWU Theatre Arts Professor George Bellah 3, was created after several years of intensive training in the style of traditional Japanese Noh theatre. It premiered on March 1, 2012, on CWU’s Ellensburg campus, and was subsequently performed at the Asian Studies Development Program International Conference, in Seattle, on March 30, 2012.
Bellah was eager to fuse the Western myth and Eastern performance style together in a single piece of drama. He has studied the performance aspects of Noh, a form of classical Japanese dance theatre, with the Noh Training Project, in Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania, since 2008. He has spent considerable time in Japan studying with Noh teachers, including a month-long sojourn in Tokyo.
The play was written by Elise Forier-Edie, CWU theatre arts professor. She has won playwriting awards from the Columbia Entertainment Company, Artist Trust/Washington State Arts Commission, and others. Forier-Edie has twice been invited to develop her works at the National Playwright's Conference at the Eugene O'Neill Theatre Center in Waterford, Connecticut. Kevin Salfen, professor, University of the Incarnate Word, San Antonio, Texas, created a compelling score that deftly combines Eastern and Western musical motifs and provides a subtle counterpoint to the enduring themes of Icarus.
CTE last entered a production for festival consideration in fall 2007, and was invited to perform at the February 2008 KCACTF Region VII Festival held in Laramie, Wyoming. KCACTF Region VII consists of colleges and universities from Washington, Colorado, Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, Oregon, Alaska, northern Nevada, and northern California.
The goals of this national theater education program are to identify and promote quality in college-level theater production. Productions at the participating level are eligible for inclusion at the KCACTF regional festival and can also be considered for invitation to the KCACTF national festival at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, DC, and other awards, in the spring of 2013. Last year more than 1,300 productions were entered in the KCACTF involving more than 200,000 students nationwide.
CWU is the only state institution that offers a bachelor of fine arts in theatre and has 121 majors specializing in general studies, design and production, performance, and musical theatre.