Urinetown, the Musical

"Urinetown" is taking the stage on Thursday, April 2. As the production is closing the rehearsal process, it is prepared for a full house in Potter Hall. "Urinetown" is a satirical comedy musical written by Greg Kotis and Mark Hollmann. It is about a city dealing with a serious drought that has affected society by causing poverty. Business tycoons have made a fortune through bribery and monopolization of restrooms. All toilets have become property of a corporation. There is also a brutal police force that maintains order among the city. Tee Quillin is directing "Urinetown," which was selected by the department. Quillin explains why "Urinetown" was selected. “There was lots of discussion back and forth with it,” Quillin said. “We wanted a show that was not necessarily huge with cast, but yet not a small-scale show. We also wanted a show that was fun and quirky that’s relatively modern.” "Urinetown" was written in 2001, making it 14 years old. Rhonda Gierstorf, who plays Penelope Pennywise and is a music/vocal performance major, is happy to be a part of "Urinetown." “I was part of the cast for 'The Drowsy Chaperone,' before I was a student here, and had such a great experience that I wanted to be part of a Missouri Western production again,” Gierstorf said. “The cast is really coming together as a family and I’ve loved seeing how each person has developed their character over the rehearsal process.” Thomas Delgado, who plays Old Man Strong and Hot Blades Harry, is also glad to be part of "Urinetown." “Being a part of 'Urinetown' is fun,” Delgado said. “This show has really challenged me and presented a new opportunity and that’s what I love about theater. It gives opportunities to step out of your comfort zone and do something you're not used to doing.” Quillin is also proud of the cast and the work they have done. “They’re doing great,” Quillin said. “They’re working under tremendously difficult circumstances. Midway through the process, Don Lillie passed away. I only canceled one rehearsal and that was the night Don passed away. We were into the weekend anyway, which we have not rehearsed on the weekends up until this past weekend, so we were going to get some grieving time. But even on the night of his memorial and the night of his funeral, we went to do the services and came back to the theater and went back to work.” Lillie was going to a big part of the technical design of the production and Quillin said he is missed dearly. “His absence is felt,” Quillin said. “Especially during this time during tech, his absence is felt in a lot of ways. When it comes down to actual crunch time and we’re down to the wire, we have really felt his absence. All the tiny things he did to help bring the show together, we have tried to figure out who’s going to do it now and tried to figure it out as we go. In a lot of ways, this show has got knocked off course.” Despite the tragic passing of Lillie, Quillin said that the cast and crew has worked twice as hard to bring a good show to Missouri Western.

Nepal Lecture

Learning about other cultures helps you empathize with different kinds of people. You will get a better understanding of how life is for others and you will acquire skills that will allow you to find solutions for unfamiliar situations. On Tuesday, March 17, at 1 p.m. in Blum Union, the International Student Services held a lecture on the country Nepal. About 40 students and staff attended the lecture to hear Abhash Shrestha and Shirisha Shrestha, international students, speak about their home. Tayler Goddard, a freshman at Missouri Western and first year Spanish student, attended the event. “When you learn about other cultures, you also learn about yourself and find alternatives to grow as a person or as an organization,” Goddard said. Nepal, which is between India and China, is home to one of the most famous mountains in the world, Mount Everest, also known in Nepal as Sagarmatha, which means goddess of the sky. Mount Everest reaches 29,035 feet, Earth’s highest peak. With 28 million people, 40 different races/ethnicities and divided into 14 zones (states) and 75 districts, Nepal is home to eight of the ten largest mountains in the world. From tallest: Everest (29,035 feet), Kangchenjunga (28,169 feet), Lhotse (27,940 feet), Makalu (27,766 feet), Cho Oyu (26,906 feet), Dhaulagiri (26,795 feet), Manaslu (26,781 feet) and Annapurna (26,545 feet). Nepal has one of the most dangerous airports. Lukla Airport is popular because this is the place where most people start the climb to Mount Everest Base Camp. This airport is named the most dangerous because the runway is only 527 meters. There is a high terrain immediately beyond the northern end of the runway and a steeply angled drop at the southern end of the runway into the valley below. Numerous accidents have happened because of the short runway. Cade Coffee, a second semester freshman and French student, thought the lecture was very informative. “The Nepal Lecture was interesting and interactive. The speakers kept the information real and entertaining, and even taught us a Nepal dance move,” Coffee said. When you learn about other cultures, you learn about other people—how they see life, what they have to cope with, what they think is important. It gives you a better perspective on your own life and you can see how much you have to be grateful for. It gives you more tolerance for ways not your own, and the ability to be friendlier to many different kinds of people. Emily Clark, a junior at Missouri Western and first year Spanish student, believes it is important to be informed on other cultures because it can benefit your career opportunities. “Nowadays, it’s a necessity to know about other cultures, because what is correct in one country might be wrong in another and talking about business, this can change everything,” Clark said. Many benefits can come from learning about different cultures. It can be very humbling to understand that the way we live is not the only way to live. So, if you have the desire to study other cultures, go to the International Student Services web page.

Leading Youth in the Right Direction

There are many organizations designed to reach out to society’s youth. One of these organizations is called Young Life. Young Life is a Christian outreach ministry whose goal is to share the truth of God’s love with adolescents and build solid, meaningful friendships with them. Young Life was started in 1939 by a man named Jim Rayburn, a young Presbyterian youth leader and seminary student in Gainesville, Texas, who took up the challenge of developing ways of contacting youth who had no interest in church. Rayburn started a weekly club for kids. There was singing, a skit or two and a simple message about Jesus Christ. Club attendance increased dramatically when they started meeting in the homes of the young people. After graduating, Rayburn and four others worked together to officially establish Young Life on October 16, 1941. They developed the club idea throughout Texas, with an emphasis on showing kids that faith in God can be not only fun, but exhilarating and life-changing. Young Life is for anyone who wants the most out of life, whether they be middle school, high school, college students, or even parents who simply care and wish to be involved. Young Life welcomes all with open arms. There are a few core philosophies/methods that Young Life follows known as the “Five C’s.” The first “C” stands for “Club,” or controlled chaos. Brady Cameron, Young Life leader/volunteer, describes it as an “organized, controlled party.” He then goes on to name some of the activities that take place including football, shooting baskets, throwing a frisbee and just hanging out. He said they end it with a “Club Talk" which is one of the leaders telling the kids a story and relating it to Jesus and his teachings and love.  The second “C” stands for “Campaigners,” a nod to when Young Life was known as the Young Life Campaign. It is a weekly meeting that youth are encouraged to participate in, in order to learn and grow through study of faith, leadership and service. “Camp” takes place during the summer. It is a week long venture of fun and networking that receives a lot of praise from those who have attended. “Contact Work” is an irreplaceable philosophy to Young Life. It involves caring about the youth and that is what Young Life is all about. Brock Ryan, Young Life leader and volunteer, spoke about the purpose of Young Life. “We focus on building meaningful relationships and make sure when people come to Young Life, they have a good time," Ryan said. London Brundridge, young life leader/volunteer, emphasizes this. “We seriously share their joys, hurt, tears and successes. It’s an amazing thing to be a part of,” Brundridge said.   The final “C” is “Committee.” The foundation of Young Life is comprised of parents, Young Life alumni and civic leaders. Providing both financial and moral support, "Committee" shows just how much the community means to Young Life.  “Young Life wouldn’t exist if it wasn’t successfully involved in its community,” Brock said. “A good Young Life organization has a strong backing from the community, and that is something we definitely have in Northwest Missouri.” Amy Brooks, Young Life leader/volunteer, explains that many of the leaders are volunteers. "There are about 45 folks who lead within our ministry that are volunteers,” Brooks said.   Each week, Young Life holds different all-city events for the youth to go have fun at. These events include Young Life clubs from around the community including Savannah, Maryville, Bode/Truman, Benton, Central, Brooksdale and Lafayette. More information on the Young Life organization’s activities, values and history can be found on its website younglife.org.

Third annual 48 Hour Film Festival enters production

Lights, camera, action: The Missouri Western Theatre and Cinema department presents to you the Third Annual 48 Hour Film Festival. Assistant Professor of Theatre, Cinema and Dance Dallas Henry introduced the 48 Hour Film Festival to Missouri Western. “I had done the 48 Hour Film Festival in Los Angeles and really really enjoyed it, I loved it,” Henry said. “As a matter of fact, some of my best friends came out of the 48 Hour Film Festival and so I wanted to bring that same kind of thing here, and it’s based on the 48 Hour Film Project. It’s the same premise, the same ideas, and so I introduced it three years ago and it still is getting bigger and bigger and I think we had over a hundred people enter this year.” While the awards earned at the premiere are mainly for bragging rights, students get more out of it by just participating. “I think the greatest thing the festival brings is that it energizes the creative film making process in each one of these students,” Henry said. “It gets them to come together for a weekend and kind of focus on one thing for the weekend and put it behind them. I think sometimes with filmmaking, it tends to linger, meaning you take weeks, months, years to put stuff together, but this, it’s like you get your information on Friday, your genre, your prop, your character and then you go to town and done on Sunday.” Alex Willemin, who is another assistant professor of Theatre, Cinema and Dance, also thinks there are benefits for participating in the 48 Hour Film Festival. “It offers a lot of stress,” Willemin said. “Stress is good, though, because I don’t think many film students understand the amount of work that goes on on a professional set. I hear some complaining about eight-hour days. Eight-hour days are standard, and in the independent world you pull 12-hour days sometimes four times in a row. It hopefully gives them an understanding on how stressful and time-consuming and how important it is to work in a group with a lot of pressure on them. In the festival, it’s all about timing.” Henry also said that the festival brings the creativity and team effort together, which is a huge factor on any set. On Friday, the teams were given the rules of the festival and what they had to use on their set. They had to use a paper towel roll as a prop and they had to use the character name of Billy or Billie Davidson, who is a collector of whatever the group decides it to be. They also had to use the line somewhere in their film, “If I agreed with you, we’d both be wrong.” After the groups got the information, it was then time for the genre drawing, where the leaders of each group drew a genre of film randomly. Once all of the groups got a genre, they were allowed to trade genres once to other groups if they wanted to. If not, they were able to begin script writing, which took most of, if not all, of the groups the rest of Friday night. Saturday, groups began to film at their locations, lasting all day and most of the night. Late night Saturday and most of Sunday was the editing process, which is where most of the stress is felt. The groups had until 7 p.m. on Sunday to turn their masterpiece in. Two out of the 14 groups had to drop out of the competition because they could not finish on time. But, the rest of the groups were able to turn in something amazing and are now awaiting the premiere of the films at the Paradox Theatre on Thursday, March 26, at 7 p.m.

Spider-Man swings into Marvel Studios

“With great power, comes great responsibility.” A great quote from one of the most famous superheroes of all time: Spider-Man. But the quote can also relate to many major companies that own the rights to produce movies and TV shows that are based off of books, comics or other movies. Before Marvel Studios existed, Marvel gave Sony the rights to use Spider-Man and any other character related to Spider-Man to make movies. The first Spider-Man movie made by Sony was a huge success with many fans of the franchise. It grossed a total of $403,706,375 at the box office. With that success, Sony made a sequel. While it had its flaws, it was still a pretty good film. Then came Spider-Man 3, the worst one ever made. Why? Well, not only was the storyline and acting poorly done, they overused the villains, giving them only a brief backstory on who they were. Also,they ruined one of my favorite villains of all time, Venom. So, after a major flop and disappointment from fans, Sony stopped making Spider-Man movies. Then came the era of Marvel Studios. Making one superhero movie after another and having a lot of success, Sony decided they wanted some of that money, too. So they made the Amazing Spider-Man. When I first heard about, I was skeptical. Going into the movie theatre to see it, I was skeptical. But after I saw it, I was impressed. But my heart was still sad. Why? Because Marvel started mashing their heroes together (The Avengers) and making great movies while Spider-Man was alone. I was hoping that with all the success, Sony and Marvel would make a deal and introduce him into other superhero movies. But it looked like it was never going to happen when they announced The Amazing Spider-Man 2. I thought this movie was also a good movie because of the acting and storyline. Jamie Foxx did fantastic as Electro and making Harry Osborn the Green Goblin was really cool. But the nerd in me was still sad because after the release of The Amazing Spider-Man 2, Sony announced two more installments as well as separate Spider-Man villain movies, like The Sinister Six and Venom. At this point, I thought it would never happen. Sony needed Spider-Man because it’s such a huge hit and they have recently been hurting financially. Then, it was announced that Marvel acquired the rights to Spider-Man. At first, I thought it was mere speculation, but it started to spread virally as a meme. Every single online news site was reporting it. I went crazy. Spider-Man and Batman are my absolute two favorite heroes of all time. I grew up with them and they were an essential part of my childhood. It got me into reading comics and got me collecting action figures. The only downfall from this deal is that Andrew Garfield will not be playing Spider-Man. Many people want Donald Glover to play the Ultimate Spider-Man, Miles Morales. I would be supportive of this, but Sony wants the new Spider-Man to be 16 and in high school. I am so excited that Marvel and Sony have made a deal to let Spider-Man be a part of an amazing franchise, especially when he will be appearing in Captain America: Civil War, where the entire Marvel hero and villain roster will clash because of disagreements on both sides. Now, if only Fox would make a deal with Marvel to bring in the X-Men and Fantastic Four, then we would have an awesome experience in the universe that is Marvel.