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News and Headlines: CWU Theatre Arts Receives Top Honors For 'Cloud Tectonics'

CWU Theatre Arts Receives Top Honors For 'Cloud Tectonics'

December 19, 2001

ELLENSBURG, Wash. - Top honors were awarded by the American College Theatre Festival/Kennedy Center (KC/ACFT) to several members of the Central Washington University theatre arts department for their work, on and off stage, in the recent production of "Cloud Tectonics."

"It's rare to receive one or two Certificates of Merit for a given production," says Derek Lane, CWU theatre arts professor and production manager. "We are extremely proud of everyone who worked on this production."

Three cast members were recognized with Irene Ryan nominations. As nominees, they will compete for scholarship money at the Northwest Drama Conference in February 2002 and a chance to participate in the national competition at the Kennedy Center in New York.

Cast members included:

Delondra Johnson, a junior theatre arts/performance major, was awarded for her role as Celestina del Sol. Johnson, a native of Mattawa and graduate of Waluke High School, has also been seen as the spunky waitress, Teresa, in "Italian American Reconciliation," and was also a chorus member in last season?s "Oklahoma!" She is the daughter of Don Johnson and Delcine Mesa of Mattawa.

Andres Rodriguez, a senior theatre arts/performance major, was awarded for his role as Anibal de la Luna. A native of Brooklyn, N.Y., Rodriquez graduated from Yakima Valley Community College after a stint in the U.S. Navy. He has appeared in the CWU Youth Theatre Tour of "The Odyssey," "Caucasian Chalk Circle," and in the original student films "Chute, Shoot, Chut" and "Rex Masters (Comma) Private Dick," as well as several one-act plays. He is the son of Lucy Rodriguez of Brooklyn, N.Y.

Victor Velazquez, a senior theatre arts/performance and theatre management major, was awarded for his role as Nelson de la Luna. Velazquez appeared in "The Caucasian Chalk Circle," and the student production "Hi, Abe!" and has also worked in costuming and make-up for several productions. A prolific playwright, Velazquez has had two plays produced at CWU, "The Gentleman's Bet" and "The Wicked Game." He is the son of Victor and Manuela Velazquez of Forks.

Certificates of Merit also were presented to several members of the design team.

Paulette Bond, costume shop supervisor, and Sigga Hazen, student design assistant, received honors for costuming, particularly for the latex pregnancy suit that Johnson wore through most of the play. Hazen, a sophomore theatre arts/design and technical theatre major, was both a stage manager and actress in last year's Dr. Betty Evans Original One Act Play Festival. A graduate of Chimacum High School, she is the daughter of Haukur and Sylvia Hazen of Poulsbo and Jeanette and Paul Boatman of Point Hadlock.

A Certificate of Merit was also presented to David Barnett, theatre arts technical director, for his lighting design. Barnett's set design work at Central includes the productions of "Quilters" and "Colored Museum." As a technical director, Barnett has built dozens of stage productions, including CWU's productions of "Romeo and Juliet," "Dracula," and "Peter Pan." Last summer he served as technical director and set designer for his second season with Village Theatre Summer Stock, designing "Rags," a musical about Ellis Island immigrants. He supervises the theatre department scene shop, technical production, McConnell Auditorium, and teaches scene technology and production lab.

Special Mentions were also given to Barnett and Maureen Eller, student sound designer, for the integration of lighting and sound on the production.

Eller, a junior theatre arts/performance major, has appeared in the student production "Law of Relatives," directed the one-act play "The Gentleman's Bet," and served as sound designer for last season's touring production "The Honorable Urashima Taro." Eller serves as the president of Central Theatre Company, the department student club, and is the co-president of Mayhem Central, a professional student improvisation troupe of which she is one of the founding members. Eller is the daughter of Suzanne and Ray Konecny of Burien.

Lucas Hoiland, a junior theatre arts/performance major, received Special Mention for his work as student technical director. Hoiland has appeared in "Beauty and the Beast," "Caucasian Chalk Circle," "Entertaining Mr. Helms," "Mud," and various roles in several student-written original one-act plays.

An employee of the theatre arts scene shop, Hoiland will serve as technical director for the CWU Youth Theatre Tour production of "Jungalbook" this spring.

Professor Lane and student assistant Mieko Sassa gained Special Mention for their set design and the harmonious integration of the technical crew and actors the setting provided. Lane has received five previous meritorious Design Awards from KC/ACTF, as well as a meritorious Directing Award for his production of "Ubu Roi," which was presented at the KC/ACTF second annual Fringe Festival. He has also designed for regional and national television programs including "Renegade" and "Silk Stalkings."

Last season, his first at CWU, Lane designed the sets for productions of "Oklahoma!" and "The Honorable Urashima Taro," and designed the set for this season's opener "Laughter on the 23rd Floor," while working simultaneously on "Cloud Tectonics."

Sassa, a senior theatre arts/design and technical theatre major, has worked as a crew member on several productions and will also be the assistant set designer for the Youth Theatre Tour production of "Jungalbook" this spring. She is the daughter of Hiroji and Michiko Sassa of Miyagi, Japan.

Guest director Leticia Lopez was also recognized with a Special Mention by KC/ACTF, as was the entire cast for ensemble acting.

The entire production is under consideration to be one of only four plays from the region that will be presented at the Northwest Drama Conference, KC/ACFT annual regional conference in Bellingham in February.

"Having a play considered for participation in the conference is a great honor and we would be proud to represent both CWU and the region at the conference," says George Bellah, department chair. "However, whether or not the play is chosen for production in February, we are extremely proud of the work our students and faculty did both on- and off-stage in this quarter. We look forward to more high-quality theatre here at CWU this season."

Contact: Leslee Caul (509) 963-1760


Central Washington University is a master's degree-granting institution with approximately 10,000 students and 1,500 faculty and staff. More than 160 undergraduate and master's degrees are offered. Founded in 1891, the Ellensburg campus is located in the heart of Washington State, nestled between the Cascade Mountains and the Columbia River. Since 1975, CWU has served the needs of placebound students at six university centers throughout the state. CWU is an AA/EEO Title IX Institution.

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