Broadwaywood analyzes stage, screen editions

By Emily Klingman

Rocky Horror Picture Show is one of the symposium topics being discussed by students, evaluating the transition from stage to screen.

Sweigart Auditorium is expected to be overflowing with film junkies during the 2014 Film and Media Studies (FMS)/Cinema Studies Symposium, “Broadwaywood: Intersections of Stage and Screen,” from March 5-6.

This symposium looks at plays that have been adapted from the theater to film, and vice versa.

“The idea came from a meeting between FMS students and faculty,” theater professor Miriam Mills said. “We chose it because we have never dealt with this topic previously and thought that it would be wonderful to bring together the art of theater with the art of film.”

This year, there will be two featured speakers. Dr. Gary Vena will be speaking on March 5 about the stage and screen productions of Eugene O’Neill’s plays. On March 6, the featured speaker will be Rider alumnus William Mastrosimone, ’74, playwright and screenwriter of Extremities and Bang Bang You’re Dead, who will discuss his professional experiences.

“We hope, at the very least, to get students to appreciate the process,” Mills said. “I am very excited that Bill will be visiting us and giving us his wisdom.”

Faculty members and students alike are looking forward to hearing the two speakers share their expertise and experiences, including Dr. Cynthia Lucia, director of FMS.

“I’m so pleased that they’ve agreed to be part of the symposium,” Lucia said.

After Mastrosimone speaks on March 6, the Student Film Festival and Competition will take place. Short films will be shown and awards will be given out to winners for best student paper, best student screenplay and best student film.

“Although I haven’t yet seen our entries this year, I can say that during past symposia it was a pleasure to see the range of films students have produced — from documentaries to comedy and drama,” Lucia said.

Jillian Belmonte, sophomore radio and TV major, is excited to discuss August: Osage County as well as her own topic about the musical Rent.

“I’ve chosen to do my presentation on Rent because it’s a musical that goes against the grain of the typical Broadway musical,” Belmonte said. “It brings attention to a lot of issues that were kept quiet or considered taboo, and does this in a way that is accessible for so many different audiences.”

Christopher Wallburg, senior English and cinema studies major, is also looking forward to the symposium and thinks the theme is original.

“Broadway is a unique topic that I think many people can find interesting, and I think it is even more fascinating to see how a Broadway play can translate to film and vice versa,” Wallburg said. “While I love Broadway shows and movies, I never had the chance to study musicals before, but I find it interesting to see the relationship between the two.”

The days begin with a screening, followed by student and faculty discussion panels, and end with the featured speaker of the night.

Specific panels are organized around the movies students have chosen to talk about. Movies that have certain common elements are grouped together.

Lucia hopes the knowledge that comes from the symposium will form a collective appreciation of film and theater and inspire students outside of the program to become interested.

“Our goal is to deepen our knowledge of the aesthetic and audience effects that are both similar and that differ when a work is adapted from stage to screen or vice versa,” Lucia said.

 

Printed in the 2/26/14 edition

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