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The Arts Scene

Onstage at the Mount in April

Kathryn Franke
MSM Class of 2013

(4/2012) The arts are springing into action at Mount Saint Mary’s University this month! Starting off the month is the final performance of the Spring Mainstage Production of Moliere’s Don Juan, and congratulations, because you get to read an exclusive interview with the star of the show! Our very own "Four Years at the Mount" writer, Kyle Ott, is playing the role of Don Juan Tenorio, the title character of the play. Kyle was involved in acting all throughout his middle and high school years, taking part in plays and musicals whenever he got the chance. Upon entering the Mount, he began to pursue theater, and has already scored a major role in a play!

The main character, Don Juan, is a somewhat complex figure who is difficult for many people to grasp. His roots begin in seventeenth century Spain, and every generation seems to re-invent the man who always gives in to his every desire. Don Juan was known as a gigolo, a libertine, an insatiable lover, and a ladies’ man. Moliere’s version of the story is one of the earliest ones, and this thrilling play is full of statues coming to life and devils dragging characters to Hell. Needless to say, it will leave you on the edge of your seat!

In Kyle’s words, Don Juan is "a habitual womanizer and a clinical narcissist who has no problems with what he's doing. He’s eventually punished by heaven for his crimes at the end of the play." When asked about the process of making the play a reality, Kyle admitted that it has been a demanding process, but it is definitely worth it in the end. The cast rehearses for two and a half hours every week from Monday to Thursday, and those who are extra dedicated (like Kyle) spend an hour to an hour and a half outside of scheduled rehearsal time practicing their own individual parts. After all, you know what they say: practice makes perfect!

Kyle says that the most challenging part of performing such a vital role in this play is "digesting the character of Don Juan in its entirety." He explains, "He has layers upon layers of depth to him. His relationship with the women around him, with his closest associate/servant Skanerelle and the relationship he shares with his mother [Dona Luisa] are all really important facets to the character." Another challenge he expressed was figuring out the way the lines should be delivered. He said, "Moliere [the man responsible for the play] layered each of Don Juan's monologues and every one of his lines with political, religious, and moral significance. Whenever I say a line I feel like I have to take it apart piece by piece just to get the general idea of what Moliere is telling us through Don Juan. I wouldn't be far from the mark saying that each of Don Juan's lines are so detailed and intricate that you could easily write a term paper on all but the smallest one."

As you can see, this is a play that will certainly make you think, keep you entertained, and bring you to your feet chanting for an encore. The last show is April 1st at 2:00pm in the Horning Theatre of the Delaplaine Fine Arts Center, located at Mount Saint Mary’s University. All tickets are $5.00, so come on out and see it while you still have the chance!

Another major set of events coming up is the set of Senior Art Shows. Meredith Birmingham is one of the seniors from Mount Saint Mary’s University whose work will be showcased this semester. Meredith is an art education major at the Mount. Describing the theme of her senior show, Meredith explained, "Throughout the course of my life I have been blessed with a supportive and loving family that has shaped me into the person I am today. My senior project is a culmination of not only my unique childhood but my family history, as well." Meredith wants to showcase her distinctive background through the use of her art, and she will do so through the use of a variety of mediums. She explains, "Through the use of photographs, illustrations, and quotes, I hope to give the audience a glimpse into my families past. My study of art at Mount St. Mary’s has led me to develop a passion for not only street art but illustration as well. I chose to combine both of these passions into one distinctive work of art."

The painting classes at the Mount had the biggest impact on Meredith because she did not have much experience with oil paint prior to her time here at Mount Saint Mary’s. Taking these classes introduced her to a new medium and broadened her abilities as an artist. She also formed a close bond with Professor Elizabeth Holtry, who was Meredith’s painting teacher for those classes. Regarding Professor Holtry, Meredith said, "She has helped guide me through many of my art classes, and has helped me become a better artist." After graduation, Meredith hopes to be teaching in a middle school by the fall. I have been in Meredith’s class and seen her work, and I know for a fact that she will be very successful in the art world. Her passion and expression when it comes to her art cannot be matched, and her skill level is amazing. I’m sure she will have a bright future and will inspire many young artists through her teaching.

The other seniors who will be showcasing their work are Sandra Andresson, Gracia Fourie, Elizabeth McIntyre-Danner, Gina Nino de Nighingale, Erin Shillenn, Jeff Valonis, and Kelsey Wailes. The first art show is on Thursday, April 26th at 5:00pm, and it will be located in the Williams Art Gallery of the Delaplaine Fine Arts Center. The second show is on Thursday, May 3rd, also at 5:00pm in the Williams Art Gallery. The culmination of these students’ hard work and growth over their four years at the Mount is exemplified in these creative and passionate shows, so these are shows that you don’t want to miss! You will be able to see the hard work and progress that these students have made over the years, and their inspiration will be sure to inspire us all, as well.

Next on the lineup is a performance by the Comedy Pigs. This improv group has been featured on Comedy Central, and they regularly perform at the Maryland Ensemble Theater in Frederick. If you are interested in seeing a glimpse of their performances, visit and check out some of their sketch work to get a better idea about what the group is like. Be prepared for some scenes from a hat during the performance! The show will take place on Friday, April 27th at 7:30pm in the Horning Theatre of the Delaplaine Fine Arts Center at the Mount.

Now you may love art, but the real question is: are you ready for a Super Art Fight? This group is the up-and-coming generation of live art entertainment, matching cutting-edge artists against each other in "the art of creative combat before a blank wall of canvas." Before the audience’s eyes, the competing artists create incredible masterpieces. But then, the Wheel of Death comes into play, which "gives the battling artists new topics at timed intervals that must be incorporated into their piece," or else they will be forced to face the wrath of the audience! The audience is able to choose the winners of the combat.

Super Art Fight is taking the nation by storm through its "punk rock sensibility" and "entertaining live commentary," so this is sure to be a performance that you will be telling all of your friends about afterwards. Audience members can attend the workshop that will be offered in the afternoon, and they can see if they are prepared to go head-to-head with the "Baltimore creative heavyweights" from the Super Art Fight group. The battle will take place on Saturday, April 28th at 7:30pm in the Horning Theatre. If you would like to find out more about Super Art Fight, visit

Starting off the month of May will be a Student Instrumental and Vocal Recital. An extremely talented group of Mount singers and instrumentalists from our very own Mount faculty will present an end-of-the-year concert that is free of charge. The concert will take place on Wednesday, May 2nd at 7:30pm in Knott Auditorium. All of that hard work that these musicians have put in throughout the year will be showcased through a series of masterworks, so don’t miss out on the last big art event of the semester for the Mount!

For more information about the events and performances that will be put on by the Department of Visual and Performing Arts at the Mount, please call 301-447-5308. 

Read other articles on the local arts scene by Kathryn Franke