(WEST WINDSOR, NJ) -- Mercer County Community College’s (MCCC's) Academic Theatre and Dance Company presents “Us vs. Them, an Interactive Dance Theatre Collage” Friday and Saturday, December 2 and 3 at 7:30pm at the Studio Theatre, CM 122 next to MCCC's Kelsey Theatre in West Windsor. Tickets are $22 for adults and $20 for students, seniors and children.
The theme of the upcoming original interactive theatre and dance production is the current state of affairs. It is 2022 and the United States feels more divided than ever. Amid polarizing politics and the rise of social media, we the people are left only to what we know and to pick a side. But who is us and who is them? Through a provocative collage of movement, original songs and captivating performances, the MCCC Theatre and Dance Program performers take spectators on an interactive journey, brimming with familiar faces that will make audience members laugh and sympathize while giving them a chance to decide for themselves.
“We are living in very unusual times and ‘Us vs. Them’ explores this idea of taking sides in a beautifully collaborative fashion,” said Jody Gazenbeek-Person, coordinator of MCCC’s Academic Theatre and Dance Program.
MCCC’s Academic Theatre and Dance student performers in the collage hail from areas throughout the state. The cast includes: Sofia Ines Garcia of Lawrenceville; Shayna Ryan of Allentown; Cole Chulamanis, Ludnie Lubin, Brittany Felauer of Hamilton Township; Lisbeth Burgos of Lawrence Township; Mackenzie Kohlmayer of Yardville; Jereè Moët Phillips of Ewing; Trinity Miller of Trenton, Jordyn Navata of Mercerville; Ari Kline of Pennington; Michael Havardansky of South Brunswick; Jordan Shutz of Chesterfield; Ben Fogg of Ewing; Nlijah Muhammad of Willingboro; and Jackson Jules and Bri Gonzalez of Trenton.
Cast member Cole Chulamanis, a musician and theatre student at MCCC who has performed in former productions with the Academic Theatre and Dance Company explained how the production came to be.
“‘Us vs. Them’ is essentially a devised piece,” said Chulamanis. “It was by created by students from the ground up using our minds and what we have to create with.”
Last winter’s Academic Theatre and Dance Company original work entitled “The 9/11 Memorial Performance Project,” in which Chulamanis also played a part, was selected for the Excellence in Devised Theatre Award, Region II, at the last virtual Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival.
Gazenbeek-Person noted that MCCC was the only community college among participants from two- and four-year schools last winter to win a performance award.
“We are all really excited about our new production and we are hoping this provocative interactive collage catches the attention of the 2023 Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival,” explained Gazenbeek-Person. “Two representatives from the festival will be coming to see the show and we hope for an invitation to the festival thereafter.”
The multi-day Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival (KCACTF) is a national theatre program involving 18,000 students annually from college and universities across the country. Among other goals, the festival encourages students to give distinguished productions of new plays, experimental works and classics – especially those written by students.
Gazenbeek-Person noted that MCCC’s Academic Theatre and Dance group has been invited to be a part of the Devised Theatre track at KCACTF three times over the past several years. “We have won two amazing awards,” said Gazenbeek-Person. “This year we hope to compete for best overall production with 'Us vs. Them.'”
Tickets for "Us vs. Them, an Interactive Dance Theatre Collage" are $22 for adults and $20 for students, seniors and children and are on sale at the Kelsey Theatre Box Office. The event has no intermission and runs approximately one hour and fifteen minutes. For tickets please visit kelsey.mccc.edu or call 609-570-3333 or email email@example.com.
PHOTO: Jackson Jules of Trenton in rehearsal. Photo by Marcya Roberts