Theatre Department to take part in college festival

By Cecily Arambula

For the first time in 20 years, Cal Poly Pomona’s Theatre
Department will take part in the Kennedy Center American College
Theater Festival in Los Angeles on Feb. 12, with its rendition of
Harold Pinter’s love-triangle drama, “Betrayal.”

KCACTF is a national student theater program, created in 1969 by
the Kennedy Center’s chairman, Roger Stevens, with the hopes of
increasing the quality of college theater productions in the United

The Kennedy Center has co-produced award-winning works such as
“Annie,” “The King and I” and “Titanic.” The KCACTF has reached
17.5 million theatergoers, students and teachers across the

CPP’s Theatre Department first introduced its performance of
“Betrayal,” directed by Robert Gilbert, at its on-campus Studio
Theater in October, where KCACTF judges determined that it would go
on to the prestigious festival.

“When I found out we were going [to KCACTF], I was actually kind
of blown away,” said Theresa Dunipace, stage manager of “Betrayal.”
“Even though I was proud of the show and thought it was fantastic,
being a show entered into KCACTF was, in my mind, a long shot.”

“Betrayal” revolves around an affair between a woman and her
husband’s best friend, concentrating on all of the troubles,
emotions and tragedies that come with it.

The dramatic play, set in England and Italy during the 1970s,
focuses on three main characters performed by fifth-year Theater
student Devin Calderone (Robert), fourth-year Theater student
Nathaniel Akstin-Johnson (Jerry) and fourth-year Zoology and
Theater student Daniela Tarankow (Emma).

After being critiqued by those involved in the Theatre
Department, the cast and crew of “Betrayal” were faced with
numerous issues to improve upon, such as set design and character

“It could be that when we were receiving the criticism from our
department, they were looking at it from an educational point of
view and how to make us grow, as opposed to the judges who were
looking at how entertained they were or how connected they were to
the characters,” said Dunipace, a second-year theater student.

The festival requires that each performance be as close to what
the judges saw in the original production ” such as set design and
stage direction ” in order to advance to the next level, which is a
performance at the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C.

With only four hours to prepare prior to performance time, the
theater department will face a new set of challenges for its
production of “Betrayal” at the KCACTF.

Because the festival performance venue is different from the
department’s Studio Theater, adjustments such as set size and
lighting will have to be made in order to accommodate the new

The triumph has been a long time coming for CPP’s Theatre
Department. When Theater Department Chair Bill Morse died last
July, the department struggled to make up for the lack of

“When we lost Bill, a lot of things kind of got jumbled around,
and there was a lot of picking up the slack we didn’t necessarily
intend to have to pick up,” said Dunipace. “It definitely means
that we have a far stronger acting program and technical program
than we originally thought.”

The credibility of the department could benefit with the
performance at KCACTF.

“It’s a great opportunity to present a meaningful and realistic
piece of work a lot of people can connect to,” said Calderone.
“[The festival] will validate what we’re doing as a program and
show that we are capable of putting on legitimate and high quality

Ideally, the importance of this performance will spark some
interest from the rest of the CPP community.

“I’m hoping we put on a good performance, attract a slew of
people and make a name for ourselves,” said Akstin-Johnson.

KCACTF also offers those nominated, as well as those who pay the
entry fee, a chance to participate in workshops such as learning
how to read Shakespeare, how to audition and how to set up

Despite setbacks and challenges, this tight-knit department has
found strength and guidance in each other and after a number of
successful productions, has been chosen to take part in this
nation-wide festival.

For more information about location and ticket prices, visit

Theatre Department to take part in college festival

File – Daniel Nguyen / The Poly Post

Theatre Department to take part in college festival

Theatre Department to take part in college festival

File – Daniel Nguyen / The Poly Post

Theatre Department to take part in college festival

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