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HOSTOS REPERTORY COMPANY WINS TWO AWARDS AT KENNEDY CENTER’S AMERICAN COLLEGE THEATER FESTIVAL

- Student Actor Reaches the Final Round in Scholarship Competition -

Hostos Repertory Company Wins Two Awards at Kennedy Center’s American College Theater Festival

Bronx, NY – As a first-time participant in Kennedy Center’s American College Theater Festival (KCACTF), the Hostos Repertory Company acquitted itself with distinction. The troupe’s production of boom! won two awards at the northeast regional competition held at Fitchburg State College in Massachusetts on January 25-29, 2011: one for the most Cohesive Ensemble cast and the other for its poster, which was designed by Hostos student Michael Paguay.

In addition, student actor Ebrahim Rasheed was one of sixteen finalists in the northeast regional competition for the Irene Ryan Acting Scholarship. Professor Angel Morales, the play’s director, said: “Although he was not chosen to advance to the national competition in April 2011, Ebrahim certainly distinguished himself by advancing to the final round of the regional auditions. He was clearly a favorite of the audience.”

Rasheed and fellow students Rocío Rayo and Sergio Mauritz Ang played leading roles in the Hostos Rep’s production of Peter Sin Nachtrieb’s boom!, which is described as ”an epic–and intimate–comedy about sexuality, sexual orientation, evolution…and the end of civilization.”  In the play, a graduate student (Rasheed) places an online personal ad promising no-strings-attached sex, which lures a journalism student (Rayo) to his subterranean research lab. The plot thickens when the graduate student reveals that he is gay and a comet hurtling toward Earth threatens to annihilate humanity. His mission is to have sex in order to procreate and thereby save the human race. The journalism student is indignant at first, but eventually confesses that she is a virgin. Her repeated suicide attempts are unsuccessful. Controlling the action with a series of levers from a catwalk above the laboratory is an enigmatic puppeteer (Ang) who turns out to be a drag queen. When things get out of hand, she has no alternative but to push an oversized panic button from her perch above the action. It is all great–albeit troublesome, even disturbing–fun as playwright Nachtrieb deftly explores the influences of fate versus randomness in life on Earth. The audience at the January 27, 2011 performance in Fitchburg State College’s Weston Auditorium responded enthusiastically and gleefully, rewarding the cast and director with a standing ovation.

The Hostos Rep was the only troupe from a community college that was invited to present a full production at this regional festival. Its competitors were from Boston University, Rhode Island College, Franklin Pierce, and Yale. The performance at Fitchburg was the latest in a string of successes for the troupe. In the fall of 2010, its English and Spanish production of Virgilio Piñera’s Siempre se olvida algo/You Always Forget Something won four HOLA awards for overall production, direction (Ángel Morales), set design (Harry Nadal) and ensemble cast (Luz María Lambert, Marisol Carrere, Melissa Díaz, Barbara Santiago and Luciano Patiño). Director Morales and Ms. Lambert also won ACE awards for best director and best supporting actress.

Since its inception in 1969, the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival (KCACTF) has maintained a national theater program in eight geographic regions if the United States involving 18,000 students from colleges and universities nationwide which has served as a catalyst in improving the quality of college theater in the United States. The KCACTF has grown into a network of more than 600 academic institutions throughout the country, where theater departments and student artists showcase their work and receive outside assessment by KCACTF respondents. Up to the present, KCACTF has given more than 400,000 college theater students the opportunity to have their work critiqued, improve their dramatic skills and receive national recognition for excellence. More than 16 million theatergoers have attended approximately 10,000 festival productions nationwide.

In January and February of each year, regional festivals showcase the finest of each region's entered productions and offer a variety of activities, including workshops, symposia, and regional-level award programs. Regional festival productions are judged by a panel of three judges selected by the Kennedy Center and the KCACTF national committee. These judges in consultation with the Artistic Director select four to six of the best and most diverse regional festival productions to be showcased in the spring at the annual noncompetitive national festival at the Kennedy Center. More: http://www.kennedy-center.org/education/actf/

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