by Dick Kerekes & Leisla Sansom [email protected]
The Episcopal School of Jacksonville is celebrating its 50th Anniversary all year long in 2016. On April 28, they continued their celebration by presenting “Fine Arts Honors Showcase” in the Munnerlyn Theatre on its Southside Campus. The two-hour show featured students in band, theatre, dance, chorus and visual arts.
The evening started at 6 pm with the Senior Art Exhibit in the Berg Gallery, located in the theatre. The very imaginative work displayed included drawings, paintings, photographs, clay sculptures, and ceramics.
The Eagle Ensemble, with ten participants, featured mainly wind instruments along with piano and drums. Four selections were chosen for this performance; our favorites were Beethoven’s “Egmont Overture” and Eric Whitacre’s “Seal Lullaby.” The latter also seemed to be the audience’s favorite, probably because the technical crew used their skills to show off the state-of-the art features of the Munnerlyn’s wonderful performance space. Creative lighting and the dynamic use of fog machines made the experience seem like an early Fourth of July celebration.
Episcopal has an excellent theatre program and six short scenes were chosen and directed by Theatre Director Katie Black; the scenes were mixed with dance presentations. As the Dual Critics, we devote our time almost exclusively to reviewing plays, and we found the theatre selections interesting and well executed. A scene from “Museum” by Tina Howe featured Trento DiFilippo, Kate He, Kimberly Hogan, and Erica Mackaness.
After a dance selection, “A Cello for Two” directed by Katie McCaughan, we enjoyed a scene from Tina Howe’s “Approaching Zanzibar” with Sarah Cumella, Trey Spratling-Williams, Kaley Vontz, and Jack Whelan.
Other theatrical presentations included a monologue from “The Primary English Class,” by Israel Horovitz, performed by Katie Haverty; a scene from “Children of a Lesser God, “by Mark Medoff, with Trenton DiFilippo and Kaiden Ketchum; and a monologue from Sylvester Stallone’s “Rocky” featuring Jake Osgard. The final theatre offering was a scene from Eugene Ionesco’s “The Bald Soprano,” which appeared to be the crowd’s favorite, probably because of its humor, portrayed by Alice Bodge, Cody Lee, Kaley Libera, and Matt Porter.
The four dance scenes, all finely executed, were well-performed visual and musical gems. The Visual Arts Presentation, with stage to ceiling slides, featured the art work of twenty-one senior visual artists.
The showcase concluded with a large chorus of over sixty students under the direction of Mary Helen Solomon and Assistant Director Carolyn Tuttle. We were impressed with the five songs that this wonderful chorus presented. We were particularly intrigued by “Sorida,” a Zimbabwe greeting, and “Shine on Me,” a traditional spiritual. And as theatre fans, we loved the closing number, “No Day but Today,” from “Rent.”
We have attended a number of Episcopal events, and always look forward to productions at the Munnerlyn Theatre, which is one of the finest venues in Jacksonville. Congratulations go to Episcopal for fifty years of excellence in education and contributions to the arts.