MCC theater students create magic, help Harvesters and explore world of film

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Anne Mahoney’s fall 2016 theater class at MCC-Blue River

It is a theater class that is three in one (Theater  120-Acting I, Theater  121-Elements of Play Production, and Theater 220-Acting II)  at Metropolitan Community College, but the experience is about much more than the action on the classroom stage. It’s also about learning the value of service to the community.

Anne Mahoney’s Fall 2016 acting students at MCC-Blue River are busy, and you are about to find out why. (Read closely for where to catch a performance and/or how to contribute to the students’ efforts.)

Mahoney has been teaching theater at Blue River since 1990. While she has watched some of her students become successful in big-time cities like Los Angeles and New York, she knows careers like those were launched, in part, because early on the actors learned the value of giving of themselves.

Mahoney’s students are involved in three community outreach efforts this fall that include magic for children, food for the hungry and hands-on help for an independent film company.

A selfie of Kaila Crosby's fall fairy costume for the Chalk and Walk Festival
A selfie of Kaila Crosby’s fall fairy costume for the Chalk and Walk Festival

Kansas City Chalk and Walk Festival

“Bravo for your volunteer time and community outreach,” wrote Mahoney in an email to first-year student Kaila Crosby. Crosby volunteered her time and magical talents Saturday, Sept. 10, at the Kansas City Chalk and Walk Festival.

“It was really fun. Everybody loved my costume,” says Crosby. She designed her own fall fairy attire for the event, and the creation was a hit with the kids.

Two other of Mahoney’s students joined Crosby in volunteering at the festival.

Monologues for Meals

Crosby is clearly an engaged student. (Her career goal is to open her own arts studio.) She is also an emcee for a classwide project called Monologues for Meals.

On Tuesday, Sept. 20, and Thursday, Sept. 22, Mahoney’s entire class will present individual performances for the public (you’re invited!). The performances are from 12:30-1:45 p.m. in the MCC-Blue River Arts and Science Building, Room 124.

Kaila Crosby rehearses her monologue performance.
Crosby rehearses her monologue performance.

While Monologues for Meals is free, Mahoney is asking those in attendance to help with any of these initiatives: “Proceeds go  to Harvesters, plus clothing and money to Louisiana (to help recent flood victims).”

The student-driven production is open to everyone. Oh, and this first show is for a grade, too. And it needs an audience.

As for Crosby, she is emceeing and performing. Her monologue is from the character Chunk in the movie “The Goonies.”

“I feel like it’s going to turn out really good. I’ve put a lot of hard work into the last two weeks,” Crosby says.

Mahoney says Crosby is a good example of the team attitude in her classroom, and it’s about more than just performing.

“Everyone has an offstage job. I want to say they are graded on onstage character development and offstage working together as an ensemble,” Mahoney explains.

There are two emcees, two stage managers, a set crew, a sound crew, ushers and more who will make sure the monologues go off without a hitch.

Making a movie

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MCC-Blue River student Frank Wyatt

While CineMortis, a local film production company created by MCC-Blue River alumnus Cameron Cox, may not have produced a blockbuster like “The Goonies” yet, it is getting local accolades. (CineMortis completed the 48 Hour Film Project-Kansas City and took home three awards for its film “Intentions.”)

Three of Mahoney’s students are volunteering with CineMortis this semester.

Frank Wyatt, who is in his third year at MCC, is thrilled about the opportunity.

“It allows me a lot of freedom,” Wyatt says. “They ask me when I can work and they allow me to come and go as I please.”

He wants to act and be involved in theater and/or film production as he develops his career.

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The CineMortis crew at the 48 Hour Film Project-Kansas City awards

Cox says he and a friend, who met in Mahoney’s acting class, started the company.

“Without attending, it would have never become the collective it is now,” says Cox, adding, “My experience in Anne’s class allowed me to learn about the art and appreciation of acting and theater. It also taught me the more valuable fundamentals of teamwork and creative collaboration with other artists in order to create something unique.”

Students are helping with a web series called “Captives” that CineMortis helps produce alongside Collective Vision Studios LLC. They are also working on short films/proof of concepts titled “LakeHouse” and “KaltBluter.”

Closing act

Mahoney is delighted with the student success stories she gets to tell.

“I want to get the word  out about the off-campus volunteer community outreach many of these student artists are doing,” she says.

It’s full circle. Recently a group of MCC-Blue River alums came back to help Mahoney and other faculty clean out a theater storage closet, housing sets, lighting equipment and costumes. Another did an improvisational workshop last spring.

Many graduates frequently come back to offer help or just to buy a ticket for performances. #MCCProud

For more information and to donate: Anne Mahoney, anne.mahoney@mcckc.edu