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University drama production chosen for national festival

University drama production chosen for national festival

California State University, Stanislaus' production of "Debris," directed by Theatre Professor Jere O'Donnell, was chosen as one of only four university productions out of 1,800 across the county t...

POSTED April 5, 2011 11:03 p.m.

The California State University, Stanislaus staging of “Debris,” an unflinching drama dealing with the consequences of lifelong abuse, has been selected for a performance in the national spotlight.

The play was chosen as one of only four university productions out of 1,800 across the county to perform at the 2011 Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival. In total, the festival will stage 57 different productions in Washington, D.C. on April 18-23.

“Debris” was written by British playwright Dennis Kelly. The university’s production was directed by Theatre Professor Jere O’Donnell.

“We are all extremely gratified and humbled at this opportunity to perform at the Kennedy Center,” O’Donnell said. “The students have worked hard and the entire Department of Theatre has come together in order to make this production come together.”

The story revolves around a brother and sister who are living a rigid existence caused by a life of abuse and neglect. The pair lie about their past, creating new elaborate stories and try and make sense of their dysfunctional childhoods. The central narrative is of the brother, Michael, who finds a baby and names him Debris while trying to keep him a secret and alive from his alcoholic father. Michael confides only in his sister Michelle, which leads to a bizarre and fantastic series of events resulting in betrayal and bloodshed.

The play doesn’t stray from the gritty details and does include graphic dialogue.

The university’s production stars Eric Braojos as “Michael” and Mia Carrik as “Michelle.”

At the KCACTF Region VIII Festival held in Los Angeles in February, Carrick was awarded one of five “Best of Festival” awards for her portrayal in Debris. Other CSU Stanislaus award recipients at the KCACTF Region VIII Festival this past February in Los Angeles include Andrea Safar for Costume Design for “Debris,” Stephanie Lopez for Makeup Design for “The Frogs” and Araceli Lopez for Makeup Design for “The Frogs.”“I wish to extend congratulations to the students and faculty for this recognition of excellence in theatre arts,” said CSU Stanislaus President Hamid Shirvani. “This distinction underscores the dedication of CSU Stanislaus to bringing high-quality arts education and performances to the Central Valley region.”

KCACTF is a national theater program that serves as a catalyst to improve the quality of college and university theater programs in the United States. Over 18,000 students from across the United States are active participants.

 The KCACTF National Festival performance of Debris will be at 7:30 p.m.  April 19 in the Family Theatre at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. Additional information is available at

To contact Sabra Stafford, e-mail or call 634-9141 ext. 2002.

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