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Wilmington Theatre Awards give nods to UNCW alums, faculty

A+scene+from+William+Shakespeare%27s+%22Twelfth+Night%22+plays+out+on+stage.+Multiple+people+involved+with+the+local+production+were+nominated+for+Wilmington+Theatre+Awards.
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Wilmington Theatre Awards give nods to UNCW alums, faculty

A scene from William Shakespeare's

A scene from William Shakespeare's "Twelfth Night" plays out on stage. Multiple people involved with the local production were nominated for Wilmington Theatre Awards.

Photo by Janet Anderson

A scene from William Shakespeare's "Twelfth Night" plays out on stage. Multiple people involved with the local production were nominated for Wilmington Theatre Awards.

Photo by Janet Anderson

Photo by Janet Anderson

A scene from William Shakespeare's "Twelfth Night" plays out on stage. Multiple people involved with the local production were nominated for Wilmington Theatre Awards.

Fairley Lloyd, Assistant News Editor

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Students, faculty, and staff from UNC Wilmington’s Department of Theatre were nominated for Wilmington Theatre Awards for their work onset of many local plays, such as “Twelfth Night, or What You Will,” a Shakespearean comedy involving gender-bending and a twisted love triangle.

Nominees include a wide range of actors, costume designers, technical staff, and everyone who contributed to the theatre productions onset. This includes faculty Jessica Gaffney and John McCall, both of whom worked on “Twelfth Night”.

Jessica Gaffney

Jessica Gaffney teaches part-time at UNCW and full-time at Cape Fear Community College. She is also the costume designer for Alchemical Theatre. Gaffney has loved costume designing since her sophomore year in college. She initially worked in theatre in New York City, but grew “tired” of the city and decided to move fulltime to Wilmington.

Gaffney spoke in-depth about the behind-the-scenes work that goes into costume designing, which was very much a collaborative effort with Christopher Marino an associate professor of the university theatre and the director of “Twelfth Night.”

“Chris had an idea of setting the show in the 1930s, to make it feel like a kind of European club setting,” Gaffney said.

While Marino hired actors, Gaffney was busy researching the 1930s to get a feel for clothing, as well as reading the play multiple times in order to translate a play from the 1600s into a setting fit for the 1930s. She worked back and forth with Marino to make sure her ideas matched with his vision.

Once she finished the ideas for the costumes. Gaffney drew full sketches of them and started designing the clothes afterward. She ensured that the costumes not only matched the time period but helped provide characterization as well.

For example, the leading lady of the play, Viola, hates the color yellow, so Gaffney played with the color in various parts in the play. This served as a plot device to provoke the character and provide humor for the audience.

Gaffney said that full-time faculty at CFCC were able to participate in the nomination process, she helped others for the awards. Gaffney found out that she herself was nominated at the nomination party.

She said that this was the third time she had been nominated for the award but nevertheless is honored.

“It’s lovely to be recognized for your work,” Gaffney said. “Not everybody notices the background elements that go into making a play.”

Gaffney credited her students who helped sew the costumes for the set and everyone who was involved in the production of “Twelfth Night.”

“Theatre is very collaborative,” Gaffney said. “We all work together.”

John McCall

John McCall works as technical staff at the university’s theatre department. A UNCW alum, McCall graduated from the university in 2018, majoring in theatre. His current duties include supervising the lighting, sound, and projection.

John McCall

McCall mainly worked on lighting for “Twelfth Night.” He spoke about his process on the play, as well as his overall process for other productions.

“Most of my ideas are like, ‘Man, it would be cool if…’ and I go from there,” McCall said. “The trick is balancing an idea with what can realistically take place on set.”

McCall took into consideration Marino’s vision for the play and planned accordingly.

“I had this idea of hanging lightbulbs in a sculpture-like formation in the air,” McCall said. “Then I heard Marino was actually thinking about hanging party lights, which worked perfectly with me testing my idea out.”

McCall reiterated how an idea does not always make a plausible execution, however. He said they had to reduce the scale of the lights of what he wanted. They ended up coming with a compromise which still met McCall and Marino’s artistic visions.

McCall spoke of its importance in “Twelfth Night” and how it subconsciously affects how the audience views the play.

“Lighting sets the mood and location of the story,” McCall said. “You’re not going to have really bright lights during, say, a sad love scene. Lighting has to match up what’s happening in the play.”

Like Gaffney, this was not McCall’s first time being nominated for the awards. He still holds some enthusiasm for the nomination, however.

“I’ll admit, it was more exciting when I was nominated the first year,” McCall said. “But I’d still like to win. It would be cool.”

In the future, McCall would like to pursue his master’s as a director in theatre. He spoke about leaving Wilmington to work in different areas. His love for theatre, however, remains wherever he goes.

“I love the freeing environment theatre holds,” McCall said. “I get to do a lot of what I want, and I really like the community.”

Wilmington Theatre Awards recipients will be announced March 20 at Thalian Hall.

3 Comments

3 Responses to “Wilmington Theatre Awards give nods to UNCW alums, faculty”

  1. Wendy McPherson on February 26th, 2019 1:40 pm

    Down there this past Sat and what a time we shared….Thanks to all Who were in the play and all the ones that made it happen….Yall did a awesome job….Good luck in life and may all see your dreams and folllow it and be happy and make something of yourself and be proud…..A+for all ……Again loved it ….Beautiful school……

  2. monica mccall on April 12th, 2019 12:25 am

    Congratulations to my son I love you very dearly and I am so proud of you continue to follow your dreams in the theater and thanks to the Wilmington North Carolina community love Mom

  3. monica mccall on April 12th, 2019 12:27 am

    Congratulations to my son John Charles McCall Junior I love you very dearly and I am so proud of you continue to follow your dreams in the theater and thanks to the Wilmington North Carolina community love Mom

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