Living Gallery to return after 2020 cancellation

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Living Gallery to return after 2020 cancellation

The cast get into position during rehearsal, guided by an image projection of the painting onto the physical frame. Photo: Lindsay Shaleen

BJU’s annual Living Gallery will resume in April after last year’s performances were canceled during the pandemic. Performances will be held in Rodeheaver Auditorium on April 1 and 2 at 7:30 p.m. and April 3 at 2, 4:30 and 7:30 p.m.

Director Anne Nolan, a faculty member in the Division of Communication, said she’s excited for this year’s theme, “A New Creation,” in which the main character Dane is on a journey to restoration. His friend Kate comes alongside to assist him in this endeavor.

The character Kate is divided into two roles, past and present, to depict her mindset change as she helps Dane. Senior theatre major Kate Jones plays Kate in the past, and her mother Erin Jones plays Kate in the present. Kate in the past primarily uses materialistic means to keep Dane’s mind off his troubles. Kate in the present regrets her past decision and realizes her need to speak about grace.

Kate in the present, played by Erin Jones, shares the Gospel in the play
with Dane in the present, played by Phil Adams. Photo: Lindsay Shaleen

The character Dane is also divided into past and present, with theatre major Michael Cunningham playing Dane in the past and academic adviser Phil Adams playing Dane in the present.

Nolan tied the three main roles into the theme of the program. “All three are really struggling, and a new creation really is for all three of them,” she said.

Kate Jones explained that her character is an artist who met Dane while using him as a model for the Christ figure she was sculpting. “All of the drama comes out of that relationship,” she said. Jones particularly likes the character’s interest in art and the costume she wears in the production and is grateful for the role she plays in supporting Dane along his journey.

Senior biblical studies major Kathryn Holcomb acts as a model in the production for the Ghiberti movement piece, which is made up of baptistry door panels depicted by a large frame that models walk into. Holcomb explained that she and three other models walk into the frame, freeze into a pose and become part of a canvas as a picture is projected on them. Holcomb said keeping in time with the music is essential to making it into the frame on time. Unlike the other art pieces, the audience catches a glimpse of the transition of the models into this work of art. “The audience is actually watching us move, so [we have] to be choreographed,” Holcomb said.

“Just come to get something out of [the program], to enjoy it, to listen to the music and apply it to your life.” —Kate Jones

Nolan said she really enjoys the various aspects of Living Gallery, including the art and music. She explained this is the first year a painting by the Italian painter Caravaggio will be incorporated into the production. The painting “Calling of Matthew” will appear along with the song “Gentle Voice” at a point of tension between past Kate and Dane. Nolan said the lyrics “Come to me. I will give you rest” fit well with the scene.

Nolan views Living Gallery as a good opportunity to invite outside guests, especially people who do not regularly attend church. She encourages students to be on the lookout for community guests around them and introduce themselves.

The cast get into position during rehearsal, guided by an image projection of the painting onto the physical frame. Photo: Lindsay Shaleen

Jones and Holcomb both appreciate the experience they have gained through Living Gallery. Jones served as a model in the program her freshman year, as did Holcomb previously. Holcomb has especially enjoyed meeting many people through her involvement with Living Gallery. “I love how many different people I meet from different aspects around campus—faculty, staff, students that I would never normally interact with,” Holcomb said. Jones is grateful to get the opportunity to act with her mom and appreciates the overall benefit of Living Gallery. “Just come to get something out of [the program], to enjoy it, to listen to the music and apply it to your life,” Jones said.

Living Gallery has been a tradition since 1998 and this year’s script was last performed in 2010. Outside guests are invited to attend any of the five performances and will be seated in the balcony. Tickets may be secured at bju.universitytickets.com for $18.90, or $16.85 for children.