Live theatre returns to Pellissippi State Community College this November in a play the director calls “one-third screwball comedy, one-third murder mystery and one-third farce.”
“The Musical Comedy Murders of 1940” by John Bishop will be performed at 7:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays Nov. 5-6 and Nov. 12-13, as well as at 2 p.m. Sundays Nov. 7 and 14.
Capacity in the Clayton Performing Arts Center on the college’s Hardin Valley Campus is capped at 250 for each show to allow for social distancing, and audience members will be required to wear masks.
“Coming off what has been a very difficult year, I wanted to choose something light, fluffy and fun that would make people laugh,” said Theatre Professor Charles Miller, who is directing the play. “We all need some laughter right now.”
It’s the first live theatre performance at Pellissippi State since 2019, as the college’s Theatre program shifted to radio plays in fall 2020 and a livestreamed performance in spring 2021, due to the pandemic. Sixteen Pellissippi State Theatre students and recent graduates have roles on stage, backstage or as part of the production crew.
“Comedy is very difficult to do, and we hadn’t done one in a while, so this is a good opportunity for our students to learn,” Miller said. “There are a lot of things I’m trying to teach them – physical comedy, punchlines, throwaway lines. It’s not easy to teach, and it’s not easy to perform.”
“The Musical Comedy Murders of 1940” opened on Broadway in 1987 and features blizzard conditions, secret passageways and an isolated mansion in a slapstick whodunit. To prepare for the play, students were assigned to watch black-and-white films from that era, including “Bringing Up Baby” starring Katharine Hepburn and Cary Grant and “The Hound of the Baskervilles” starring Basil Rathbone as Sherlock Holmes.
“There are references you’ll get if you watch old movies,” Miller noted, who added that the play is similar to the popular 1985 movie “Clue,” “but crazier.”
Tickets are free, but please obtain one at www.pstcc.edu/tickets, as seating is limited to half capacity due to COVID-19.
Watercolor and acrylic. Folded paper and found objects. Digital prints and woodcuts.
Pellissippi State Community College’s newest art exhibit has a little something for everyone.
“The Indispensables,” on display until Oct. 22, features the work of Pellissippi State’s four adjunct visual art instructors: John Allen, Anna Halliwell Boyd, Marty Komorny and Tatiana Potts — their works, processes and investigations as varied as they are.
“The exhibition is a survey of our underrecognized colleagues’ talents and hard work and spans many mediums,” said Associate Professor Herb Rieth. “Drawing, painting, sculpture, installation, photography and printmaking are all explored here, often in thought provoking and striking ways.”
John Allen earned his Bachelor of Fine Arts in Drawing from Clemson University in 2010 and his Master of Fine Arts from University of South Florida in 2014. His work spans various media including drawing, sculpture, photography and printmaking, and is often focused on process, especially aspects that are experimental, meditative or imaginative. His work on display at Pellissippi State includes “Case Studies I-IV,” silver gelatin pinhole prints in converted found objects such as old luggage.
Anna Halliwell Boyd is a mixed media artist who earned her Bachelor of Fine Arts in 2D Studio Art from the University of Tennessee in 2008 and her Master of Fine Arts in Painting from Savannah College of Art and Design in 2018. Her recent works explore themes of loss and how the past is recollected, with photographs she took growing up resurrected to convey lost connections with others and the distorted nature of memory. The original printed photographs are sanded, erased and painted on with the intent of creating separation between the figures and the viewer, just as they are now separated from the artist. Another installation redacts details from the artist’s old school notes, with the blank spaces she created in them serving as lapses in memory.
A native of Cleveland, Ohio, Marty Komorny received her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Printmaking from Southern Illinois University, as well as a Master of Arts in Philosophy. She spent a motivational year picking fruit in the great Northwest, living out of a blue van, before returning to school to study Printmaking at the University of Tennessee. She continues to garden and make drawings, watercolors and prints from her home in Maryville.
Tatiana Potts is a native of Slovakia who received her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Printmaking from the University of North Carolina, Asheville, and her Master of Fine Arts degree in Printmaking from the University of Tennessee. Potts incorporates images, artist books and paper installations into a world that reflects her experiences and perspectives living, traveling and studying in Europe and the United States. Images are printed with printmaking processes such as screen print, intaglio, relief and lithography and then folded piece by piece and composed into one installation with glue, magnets and Velcro.
“Like most programs and, indeed, the College as a whole, we would not function without our adjuncts teaching many of our classes,” Reith said. “They are not paid nearly enough, put in long hours and undergo rigorous training, and yet they often receive very little recognition for what they bring to the classroom: professionalism, caring and a high degree of skill and thought in their chosen field of research. We find them to be indispensable.”
“The Indispensables” is free and open to the public 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday until Oct. 22. The Bagwell Center for Media and Art Gallery is located on Pellissippi State’s Hardin Valley Campus, 10915 Hardin Valley Road, Knoxville.
Masks are encouraged in indoor spaces.
For more information about The Arts at Pellissippi State this season, visitwww.pstcc.edu/arts or call 865-694-6400. To request accommodations for a disability at any campus event, call 865-539-7401 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mezzotint prints created by artist Jacob Crook are on display at Pellissippi State Community College through Sept. 24, and the public is invited to enjoy the show.
The free exhibit is open 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Friday in the Bagwell Center for Media and Art Gallery on the college’s Hardin Valley Campus, 10915 Hardin Valley Road. Pellissippi State encourages the wearing of masks in indoor spaces.
Crook, assistant professor of art and printmaking coordinator at Mississippi State University, works primarily in the intaglio printmaking technique of mezzotint, invented in 1642. This process achieves tonality – a range of tones in a work of visual art – by roughening a metal plate with a metal tool called a rocker. The rocker has a beveled, serrated, curved edge with many tiny teeth that create innumerable tiny indentations and burrs that hold ink during the printing process. Ink is rubbed into the varieties of textures and the excess wiped away, gradually revealing the image.
“The fully rocked areas that are left alone produce a rich, velvety blank print, and areas that are scraped and burnished to varying degrees of smoothness will hold less ink, producing lighter value,” Crook explained. “Essentially the image is created in a reductive manner by ‘erasing’ the roughened areas to create areas of light.”
Crook’s works have been exhibited nationally and internationally at the Yekaterinburg Museum of Fine Arts in Russia, the Fort Wayne Museum of Art and the Museum of Fine Arts Boston, among others. His works also are displayed in academic institutions and private collections.
“The quality of light cast into a space has the potential to bring poetry to the prosaic, magic to the mundane and beauty to the banal,” Crook said. “The light spilling through these nocturnal landscapes and vacant interiors serves as a sort of spotlight, transforming the scenes into empty stage sets, either soon to be entered or perhaps long abandoned, suggesting the possibility of untold narratives that are just out of reach.
“My intent is not to tell a story directly, but to set the stage in such a way that viewers are compelled to consider the moments before and after the one presented based on their own associations with the imagery,” he added.
To request accommodations for a disability for this event or any Pellissippi State event, call 865-539-7401 or email email@example.com.
Pellissippi State Community College is ushering back art exhibits with the work of students who took Painting: Methods and Materials in June.
The show is on display until Aug. 6 in the Bagwell Center for Media and Art Gallery on the college’s Hardin Valley Campus, 10915 Hardin Valley Road. Everyone is invited to view the exhibit for free 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday.
Painting: Methods and Materials focuses on oil and acrylic painting on canvas with an emphasis on personal content through expanded methods and mediums.
“This is a very creative and eclectic group, ranging from realist still-life to broken glass and gold leaf abstractions to strange and wonderful painting/sculptural explorations,” said Associate Professor Herb Rieth, who taught the class.
Pellissippi State’s Hardin Valley Campus is fully open, with no COVID-19 screenings or masks required. The college does encourage those who are not vaccinated to continue to wear masks to protect themselves and others.
For more information about Pellissippi State, visit www.pstcc.edu or call 865-694-6400.
A global pandemic may have canceled his opportunity to perform in Scotland in 2020, but Pellissippi State Community College studentEthan Turbyfilldidn’t let that stop him from following his dream of musical theatre.
Instead, the Maryville native asked his parents for a tripod and ring light for Christmas, knowing he was likely going to have to record himself for future auditions as COVID-19 raged on.
The Christmas gift paid off, as Turbyfill’siPhone-recorded auditionlanded him top prize at the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival’s Music Theatre Initiative competition for Region 4, which is comprised of college students from Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, southern Virginia, Puerto Rico and Virgin Islands.
“I didn’t actually hear my name because my mom jumped up and started screaming,” laughs Turbyfill, who watched the regional competition at home with his parents and younger sister because it took place virtually this year.
Turbyfill, who graduated from Alcoa High School in 2019 and will graduate from Pellissippi Statein May, had finished in the top five of the regional competition in 2020, before the pandemic hit. Normally students submit three songs, but those who auditioned in 2021 were limited to only one.
Turbyfill decided to go a completely different direction, choosing “I Miss the Mountains” from theTony- and Pulitzer Prize-winning musical “Next to Normal.” The song is performed by the female lead, who is grappling with worsening bipolar disorder and being medicated for it.
“I wanted to showcase emotion this time because I knew that auditioning on video meant the camera would be close to my face, as opposed to singing on stage, and I wanted to give a more nuanced performance,” Turbyfill explained. “It also was an unexpected song for a musical theatre tenor, and because I’m not a middle-aged woman, I gender-bent it. That took away some of the pressure of sounding like someone else.”
It was a struggle, in a house with his family and four dogs, to get everyone quiet at the same time, and the perfectionist in Turbyfill wanted to perform the song over and over again – but his voice wouldn’t let him.
“I was having a lot of vocal issues that week – I eventually had to go on voice rest – so my third take was the one I chose,” he noted. “That taught me about both stamina and being in the moment.”
The audition piece got Turbyfill through three rounds of virtual competition. It wasn’t until he sat down to watch the competition with his family, however, that he realized he was the only male singer of the six finalists.
“They played everyone’s performances, then they announced third place and then second,” Turbyfill remembered. “When I realized I hadn’t heard my name, I realized, ‘Wait! I did it!’”
In a “normal” year, Turbyfill would be headed to the KCATCF National Festival in April, but this year it’s been postponed until August due to COVID-19.
But that timing could work out for the best for Turbyfill, who underwent a tonsillectomy earlier this month to clear up the issues he was having when he recorded his audition in January.
“Thankfully my vocal cords are healthy, and the doctors said this would help me in the long run, as far as my voice is concerned,” he said.
Turbyfill won’t let a pandemic or a tonsillectomy slow him down. While his voice is recovering from the surgery, he’s serving as assistant director for Pellissippi State’s upcoming production of “Love and Information,” which will stream on the College’s Facebook and YouTube pages April 16-18.
“Ethan is one of those rare students who truly puts in the work to become a stronger performer,” said Associate Professor Grechen Wingerter, who is directingthe play next month.“He challenges and pushes himself out of his comfort zone. Plus,he’s quite simply one of the nicest people I know. I’m proud to have been his professor these past two years.”
For Turbyfill, who recently turned 20, putting in the work to become a stronger performer is something he’s been doing his whole life.
“I’ve always known what I wanted to do,” said Turbyfill. “I’ve been singing since I could talk. I used to sing ‘God Bless America’ at Smokies (baseball) games when I was 2 or 3, the precursor for whoever was singing the national anthem. I played Michael in ‘Peter Pan’ at the Oak Ridge Playhouse when I was 7 or 8, and I performed with the Knoxville Children’s Theatre from 12-18. I want to be on Broadway, telling these stories to such a wide audience.”
Weathering a pandemic during college, however, has helped equipTurbyfill with perspective and creativity. For example, afterPellissippi State’s trip to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in Scotland was canceled in summer 2020, the Theatre program pivoted to performing radio plays during fall semester.
“I have continued finding ways to make art during COVID, and I want to do anything I can in the realm of art,” Turbyfill said. “I want to move to New York and see where life takes me.”
Theatre companies across the country have had to get creative during the coronavirus pandemic, performing plays overvideo communicationplatforms or in open outdoor spaces.
But when brainstorming how Pellissippi State Community College could give its Theatre students the experience they need while still adhering to social distancing protocols, Professor Charles R. Miller didn’t look to the future of theatre.
He looked to the past.
“Why re–invent the wheel?” asked Miller, who serves as Theatre program coordinator for the College. “Radio drama has been around for 100 years.”
Pellissippi State will present a double feature of two short radio plays — “The Lone Ranger Redux” and the science fiction piece “Think Like a Dinosaur” — at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 17, and 2 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 18.
The plays will be performed back-to-back by Pellissippi State students, broadcast live on the College’s YouTube channeland recorded for later listening by Pellissippi State’s Audio Production Engineering faculty and students.
There is no fee to listen.
“In the past six months, we have seen a lot of Zoom theatre, and sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t,” Miller said. “But radio dramas use the power of imagination.”
“The Lone Ranger Redux” is one of the original radio broadcasts of “The Lone Ranger” from 1933, with some updating by Miller and his Theatre students.
“There will be some socially aware commentary in it, in that the characters will step out of the play to remark on current events, but in a humorous way,” Miller explained.
For example, the character of Tonto, the Native American companion of the Lone Ranger, will react to outdated stereotypes and racial slurs in the script. Miller described the updated Tonto as “quietly, morally outraged in a way that’s also funny.”
The second radio play, “Think Like a Dinosaur,” is based on the award-winning science fiction novelette by James Patrick Kelly. Set in the far future and centering on alien technology and alien races, the play resembles “an episode of a sci–fi series, but self-contained,” Miller said.
“This play is a little more dramatic and thought provoking,” he added.
It’s the first time Pellissippi State has produced radio plays, Miller noted, and they are challenging the College’s Theatre students in new and different ways.
“You don’t have the distractions of the set, the costumes and the facial expressions, so everything you’re doing with your voice, your breath – that’s what the audience is getting,” he said. “It’s all you.”
Because of restrictions on having guests on campus during the coronavirus pandemic, Miller limited participation in the radio plays to Pellissippi State students instead of opening them up to the community. Twelve students will be acting in the plays, two will be providing sound effects and two will be working on the audio recording.
During technical rehearsals and performances, actors will be spaced 15 to 20 feet from each other around the perimeter of the Clayton Performing Arts Center on the College’s Hardin Valley Campus, Miller stressed. The additional distance between students addresses thatactors and musicians can spread respiratory droplets farther than those who talk without projecting their voices, he said.
“Doing it live creates the kind of energy that is important to actors, but we will record it so that it can be enjoyed later by those who are not available to listen to it live,” Miller added.
To tune in to “The Lone Ranger Redux” and “Think Like a Dinosaur” live,visit youtube.com/PellissippiStateat 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 17, or 2p.m. Sunday, Oct. 18.
A new art exhibit at Pellissippi State Community College focuses on the human figure and celebrates that which makes us human.
The Figurative Impulse, the first offering in The Arts at Pellissippi State for spring 2020, is showing in the college’s Bagwell Center for Media and Art Gallery on the Hardin Valley Campus until Friday, Jan. 31, with a closing reception 3-5 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 30.
The Gallery, located at 10915 Hardin Valley Road, is open 9 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday through Friday.
This regional survey of contemporary paintings and drawings includes 12 artists from Tennessee, North Carolina, Alabama, Louisiana and Georgia.
“There is a diversity of mediums, messages and outlooks embedded within the work and quite a bit to take in within such a small format,” said Associate Professor Herb Rieth, who curated the exhibit. “The artists come from diverse backgrounds, generations, impetuses and are at many different points in their careers, yet they hold in common their concern for their fellow humans. That lens can be sympathetic, ironic or sardonic, but is used to focus on the motivations and machinations of other people, which in turn can act as a mirror of our own selves.”
Rieth, who has work included in the exhibit, had the idea for the Figurative Impulse two years ago, he said, as a reaction to the increasingly shrill and acrimonious debate between people on social media and in person.
“My thoughts at the time balanced between, first, ‘We are all human and, thus, why can’t we just get along?’ and second, ‘The human condition is endlessly fascinating in its attempt to plumb our own and other’s motivations,’” Rieth explained. “As the Technological Revolution has started to eclipse our humanness, I believe that we should redouble our efforts to celebrate that which makes us human.”
Artists who have works included in the Figurative Impulse include Randy Arnold, Tamie Beldue, Aaron Carroll, Virginia Derryberry, Samuel Dunson, Mira Girard, Jed Jackson, Vitus Shell, Denise Stewart-Sanabria, Jason Stout, Tom Wegrzynowski and Herb Rieth.
The Figurative Impulse is part of The Arts at Pellissippi State series. For more information on upcoming visual arts, theatre and music events, visit www.pstcc.edu/arts.
To request accommodations for a disability for this event or any Pellissippi State event, call 865.539.7401 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Pellissippi State Community College will wrap up its fall 2019 Arts at Pellissippi State series with its annual concert featuring all of the college’s instrumental ensembles and choirs.
The hugely popular Holiday Spectacular is a perfect time to catch performances of the musicians you may have missed earlier in the season.
There will be two performances of the Holiday Spectacular, which is themed “Winter Wonderland” this year: 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 5.
Both performances will be held in the Clayton Performing Arts Center on the college’s Hardin Valley Campus, 10915 Hardin Valley Road.
Tickets are free and available at the door on a first come, first served basis.
The Holiday Spectacular will feature religious and secular selections performed by
Variations, Pellissippi State’s audition choir;
Concert Chorale, the college’s non-audition choir;
Jazz Band and Bluegrass Ensemble, both audition groups;
Brass, Guitar and Percussion Ensembles; and
Among the selections this year will be familiar Christmas carols such as “What Child Is This?” and “God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen” as well as pop culture classics like “Christmas Time is Here” from “A Charlie Brown Christmas” and “The Grinch.” And not only will audiences hear “Snow” from “White Christmas,” but the concert will end with falling snow, a perfect way to get into the holiday spirit.
Plan to arrive early to the performance of your choice to get a complimentary ticket, as seating is limited to the first 495 guests per show. While the performance is free, donations are accepted at the door for the Pellissippi State Foundation on behalf of the Music Scholarship fund.
The Holiday Spectacular is part of The Arts at Pellissippi State series. For more information on upcoming visual arts, theatre and music events, visit www.pstcc.edu/arts.
To request accommodations for a disability for this event or any Pellissippi State event, call 865.539.7401 or email email@example.com.
Racial justice – or lack of it – in the United States is at the center of “Blood at the Root,” a play at Pellissippi State Community College this fall.
Written by Tony Award-nominated playwright Dominique Morisseau, “Blood at the Root” was inspired by a 2006 incident in Jena, Louisiana, in which six black students were charged with attempted murder for a school fight after nooses were found hanging from a tree on campus – while the white students involved in the fight received three-day suspensions.
“Here we are, almost 20 years into the 21st century, and we are still having these conversations about valuing people – or devaluing people – based on skin color,” said Associate Professor Grechen Lynne Wingerter, who is directing the play for the Arts at Pellissippi State. “Of course it makes us uncomfortable, but it comes down to those of us who have privilege need to be listening to those who don’t. And theatre is the one way I know how to talk about difficult subjects.”
Audiences will have six chances to see “Blood at the Root” at Pellissippi State: 7:30 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, Nov. 8-9 and Nov. 15-16, and 2 p.m. Sundays, Nov. 10 and Nov. 17. There will be nightly talk-back sessions after each performance.
All performances are general seating in the Clayton Performing Arts Center on the college’s Hardin Valley Campus, 10915 Hardin Valley Road. Seating is limited, and advanced reservations for tickets are strongly encouraged.
Tickets are $12 for adults, $10 for seniors and $8 for Pellissippi State students, faculty and staff. They can be purchased atwww.pstcc.edu/tickets.
While “Blood at the Root” is inspired by the true story of the Jena Six, the plot is multi-layered, Wingerter noted. One fictional student involved in the fight gets outed as homosexual, for example, while eyewitnesses all have different perspectives of what happened.
“The heart of it is still the inequity of the justice system in America and how our systems were set up from the beginning for this kind of inequity,” she said.
The play centers on three black students and three white students, as well as the principal of the school and the district attorney. Wingerter has cast 14 Pellissippi State students – non-named characters are members of the ensemble – while five Pellissippi State students and one Austin-East Magnet High School student join Pellissippi State faculty, staff and alumni as members of the artistic production team.
“I’ve always wanted my students to understand the power of theatre and art in general and to recognize the need for everyone to truly have a voice and be seen,” Wingerter said. “Theatre has the ability to do that.”
Wingerter hopes audiences will take away from “Blood at the Root” the courage to talk about the things that make us uncomfortable.
“The last couple of years in this country have pointed out all the things that divide us,” Wingerter said. “The only way to move forward is to be willing to be uncomfortable for a bit, to admit, ‘I haven’t lived these experiences, but I can see that that is difficult.’ It is easy to pretend that if something is not happening to us, it’s not happening. But until we talk about it, nothing is going to happen.”
The Arts at Pellissippi State is an annual arts series that includes music, theatre performances and fine arts exhibits. For more information, visit www.pstcc.edu/arts or call 865-694-6400.
To request accommodations for a disability at this event or any campus event, call 865-539-7401 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.