This Thursday, nearly 20 memorable figures from pop culture will be on stage at Metropolitan Community College-Blue River in Independence.
Both veteran and beginner theater students from Blue River will showcase their stage talents by performing a wide spectrum of monologues from familiar plays, literature and movies.
And the public is invited to watch, while supporting a good cause.
“Monologues for Harvesters” has two performances on Thursday, Feb. 13 in Room 124 of Blue River’s Arts and Sciences building at 20301 E. Missouri 78 in Independence. The matinée performance begins at 12:30 p.m. while the prime time show starts at 7 p.m. Admission is $2 per person, or bringing in canned goods will substitute for the fee. All proceeds will support Harvesters Community Food Network.
Ranging from Scar, the villainous lion of Disney’s “The Lion King,” to Lt. Aldo Raine from the Quentin Tarantino movie "Inglourious Basterds," there is bound to be at least one monologue an audience member will enjoy.
“This is a chance to see a rising star,” says second year student Jesse Carleton, who will be performing a light-hearted rendition as Scar in one of the featured monologues. “We’re here to entertain as well as support Harvesters.”
There will be variety at Monologues for Harvesters, and even a musical selection.
“Playing music is the same as acting,” says student Boyd Wilson, who will be playing the instrumental piece “There Will Never Be Another You” on tenor saxophone. He explained that both playing music and acting on stage share the same qualities. “You’re making a statement on stage, whether playing an instrument or using your body. With music, it’s just without words. You’re speaking in notes rather than lines.”
But not only will the event be an opportunity to be entertained and support a cause, it also is the first time some students get to perform on stage.
“Some of these students don’t realize the natural talent they have,” says veteran student Jessica Andreas, who’s monologue is based on the popular “My Fair Lady” film starring Audrey Hepburn. “It will definitely be a great show.”
“This will also be a very good opportunity for first year students getting the practice to be on stage and in character,” added Carleton. “We need the public come out and support in what is a very anxious time for them.”
The Blue River Theater Program has been going on for 23 years, according to theater instructor Anne Mahoney. The monologues event scheduled this week is just one of several productions theater students participate through the course of the fall and spring semesters.
The program begins with students becoming versed in the world of theater by understanding how to market a production, the different styles of presentation and the history of theater itself, besides just acting on stage.
“Students really learn how a theater company works beyond the skills necessary to acting a role,” writes Mahoney.
Once students acquire the necessary knowledge, they proceed by performing in front of an audience at venues like elementary schools.
Some plays performed in the past were classics such as "Winnie the Pooh" or "Charlotte’s Web."
After they gain stage experience, the programs have a full three-act production of their own at Blue River. The productions are usually suited for a more mature audience compared to the children’s selections with past shows like “The Miracle Worker” or “An Evening with Shakespeare.”
“Hamlet is very introspective,” says student Jack Shawhan, who is performing the well-known “To be or not to be” monologue from his favorite Shakespearian work, "Hamlet."
“It’s very weighted,” he says about his monologue choice. “He’s debating whether to continue his life’s journey or end his own life where he can sleep to dream.”
And finally in the theater program, students have to earn a service learning credit. It’s a component where they have to perform at an off-campus venue.
“Students can either read in local libraries, appear on local radio programs or perform at area festivals. It gives students a chance to do what community colleges hope to do: Community outreach,” Mahoney wrote.
Mahoney has been with the theater program for all of its 23 years at the college, including at its former Blue Springs location, and hopes that it continues to thrive past her tenure.
For information about Thursday’s “Monologues for Harvesters,” contact MCC-Blue River at 816-604-1000.