Area College Students Competing at Kennedy Center

Article excerpt

It is such detailed work making a third-degree burn look genuine and a head injury realistic, and causing a body to fall exactly as planned.

"It is special effects," says Simone Marcus, a junior theater major at Indiana University of Pennsylvania. "I had to make a third- degree burn look real, and rig up a wig so when the character fell forward in death, her brain was exposed. The gasp from the audience is what I lived for."

Recognized for her creativity and ingenuity in theatrical makeup, Marcus will join two other Indiana University and two Carnegie Mellon University theater students in the national competition and prestigious showcase at the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival in Washington, DC, this week.

The festival is a national program started in 1969 to recognize the best among university theater programs. The students go for the experience and opportunity to work with professionals in their specialized fields. They network with and often dazzle those in charge of internships, graduate-school offers and scholarship money.

Aside from the National Selection Team Fellowships, a new award from the Kennedy Center Festival this year, only eight students in the nation are chosen to compete in each of eight categories including set, costume, light, sound and makeup design, stage management, directing and dramaturgy.

The students were chosen based on their showing at the Region II festival -- which covers Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland and Washington, D.C. -- held in January at Carnegie Mellon University.

"They are exposed to major people in the industry at the national festival," says Maggie Lally, who chairs the Kennedy Center's Region II. "They have career-advancement workshops, fellowships are awarded, summer internships are awarded, and they can be invited to the Sundance Film Festival."

While Marcus, a 2005 United High School graduate from Armagh in Indiana County, competes in the makeup category, fellow IUP students senior Theresa Huber of Livonia, N. …