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Maestro Dallas Bono at Gordon.

Distinguished guest artists dot Gordon arts calendar

Gordon State College Humanities and Fine and Performing Arts opens its 2024 theatrical season with the spring production of “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time.” Along with the much-anticipated play, GSC FPA will continue the tradition of bringing in guest artists and celebrated performers to work with student actors.

This past fall semester, the GSC Theatre Department welcomed American tenor and voice teacher, Maestro Dallas Bono. The day encompassed a Q&A session, followed by an intimate singing-focused session where Bono collaborated one-on-one with students who had rehearsed their preferred musical piece.

“I had a wonderful time working with the incredibly talented students in the GSC Theatre Department. It is so nice to work with students who take pride in their art, diligently prepare, and have the courage to express themselves openly on the stage in front of a complete stranger,” Bono said. “I see brilliant futures for these students and look forward to coming back soon!”

GSC Director of Theatre Lisa Cesnik Ferguson said the students took to Bono like “a bee to honey” and are still talking about his visit.

“He’s crazy talented, one of the best teachers I have ever experienced, and his professional creds are off the charts. I knew he would work well with our students because he is a gentle giant,” Ferguson said. “Yes, talented beyond compare but his passion for singing gives him the ability to focus on the art of singing like no one else.” 

Lisa Mende, best known for her portrayal of Carol in the 1989 sitcom “Seinfeld,” is the featured guest artist this spring. Mende will conduct an improvisational workshop that will include involving the students in a series of traditional improvisational games.

“Improvisation is the best tool in an actor’s toolbox. It enables you to truly listen, create wonderful unplanned moments, and think on your feet,” Mende said. “The workshop will be a safe, nonjudgmental space to work without a safety net.”

Mende said she hopes her takeaway from the visit will leave her with the feeling of having helped [GSC student] actors learn how to enhance their craft and discover new things about themselves.

The upcoming production of “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time” by Simon Stevens and adapted from a mystery novel by Mark Haddon will include stage combat choreographed by Scot J. Mann. He is an award-winning fight master, president of the Society of American Fight Directors and certified teacher through the British Academy of Stage and Screen Combat. He has choreographed, performed and coached theatrical fighting with such companies as The Steppenwolf Theatre, The Alliance Theatre, Alabama Shakespeare Festival, Theatrical Outfit, Georgia Shakespeare, and The North Carolina School of the Arts. He has also served as an instructor for the British Academy of Stage and Screen Combat in London, and Stage Combat Deutschland in Germany.

“The incredible network of connections available to Gordon State College students will undoubtedly enrich their lives and open doors to endless opportunities,” Ferguson said. “These connections will serve as a powerful tool for their personal and professional growth, enabling them to acquire invaluable skills that will shape their future success!”

“The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time” will run March 7-10, at the GSC Fine Arts Auditorium.

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