A scene from the spring production of “Spoon River Revival,” an adaptation of Edgar Lee Masters’ Spoon River Anthology. (Photos by Lee Pellegrini)
For his innovative spring production “Spoon River Revival”—which capped a year of unprecedented challenge in the presentation of live theater, albeit for virtual audiences—Associate Professor of the Practice and Theatre Department Chair Luke Jorgensen has won the Outstanding Creative Ensemble Award from the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival.
Pandemic restrictions influenced Jorgensen’s decision to adapt and direct Edgar Lee Masters’ Spoon River Anthology. The style of presentation—a collage of monologues—lent itself to safe distancing on stage. “Spoon River Revival” was presented in one act with live bluegrass music.
“When COVID canceled our ability to do a full musical we needed to either give up or get creative; we got creative,” said Jorgensen, who also won the KCACTF honor in 2008 for his BC production of “Metamorphoses.” “This award means a great deal to me, as it recognizes this tremendous group of Boston College students who were careful, thoughtful, and relentless in their approach to making a show during a pandemic.
“We took so many precautions—masks, rubber gloves, temperature checks, disinfectants—that it seemed at times that we were producing a medical drama! I am truly fortunate to have been able to lead this experience with these wonderful students,” he added.
Four cast members also were honored by KCACTF for excellence in acting: Olivia Sheridan ’22, Nick Rossi ’24, Grant Whitney ’23, and Ezekial Coleman ’24 were chosen to participate in the Irene Ryan Acting Scholarship competition. The award provides recognition, honor, and financial assistance to outstanding student performers for the further pursuit of education.
The Outstanding Creative Ensemble Award came as no surprise to Jacob Kelleher ’21, who served as stage manager. “Perhaps more so than any cast I have worked with over the last four years, the cast of ‘Spoon River’ truly worked in unison. With Luke’s guidance, they managed to take these separate pieces and weave them into a cogent story. For me, the most striking part of ‘Spoon River’ is the way it parallels real life. This group of 14 characters couldn’t be more different, yet they are united by their connection to Spoon River and the love, hate, laughs, and other experiences they shared.
“In many ways, that is how we theater students see ourselves. We, too, are people with vastly different histories who have vastly different experiences, but we remain connected and united through our connection to BC theater.”
KCACTF is a national theater program which involves 18,000 students annually from United State colleges and universities. Jorgensen will receive the award at next year’s festival.
Rosanne Pellegrini | University Communications | 2021