New Faces stage Pulitzer Award winning performances

By Gabriella Scibetta

“New Faces” of the theater department have the chance to show off their talents this weekend through a free performance.

The theme of Saturday’s performance is the Pulitzer Prize. Each play in the show has won the prestigious award.

“New Faces” was created by SIU upperclassmen nine years ago as an opportunity to connect with the incoming freshmen.


James Kidd, associate professor of directing and acting, said faculty saw how successful the project was and made it part of the freshman theater seminar class.

During preparation for the show, new students are assigned to more experienced theater majors for mentoring, also known as “old faces.”

“At its minimum, what an old face would do is take a new face through this process, coach you, advise you and get you there,” Kidd said. “At best, new faces have the rest of the time old faces are at SIU to call and ask questions.”

The performance includes 10 five-minute scenes from a mix of plays, ranging from the beginning of the 18th century to now, and three musical numbers involving the whole cast.

Scenes come from “Why Marry” (1917), “Beyond the Horizon” (1922), “You Can’t Take It With You” (1937), “Death of a Salesman” (1949), “The Shrike” (1952), “How To Succeed in Business Without Really Trying” (1962), “The Shadow Box” (1977), “Glengarry-Glen Ross” (1984), “Ruined” (2009) and “The Flick” (2014).

The musical numbers feature songs from “Rent” and “A Chorus Line.”

Tashawn Wilson, a freshman from Springfield studying theater, said the “New Faces” voted what plays to perform, which was a difficult process.


“The reason why the process was somewhat difficult, was because the plays that were chosen needed to mean something to today’s audience,” he said.

Wilson said he expected competitive attitudes from other people in the program at first. He learned it was ultimately about contribution instead of competition.

“In theater, we exist as a family,” Wilson said. “There is a lot of hard work that goes into theater that goes unnoticed.”

Abigail Warhus, a freshman from Evanston studying theater, is participating as both a performer and a director.

“When we first started, I found a bunch of plays that were Pulitzer-Prize-winning plays that I have never heard of before, and I found “The Shrike,” and it spoke to me,” she said. “I immediately thought of two people from my class who would be absolutely perfect for it, and I have been thinking about pursuing directing since senior year of high school.”

Warhus said she has directed many plays in her high school theater department.

“I think that it’s going to be really helpful to have someone help us through our first year and years after that,” she said.

Warhus said this is a great opportunity to start directing right away in college, and new faces get a chance to show everyone in the theater department who they are.

Danny Damian, a freshman from Carbobndale studying theater, said he was surprised that “New Faces” even existed.

“I wasn’t expecting this. It is something just for the freshman, just the people that are nobodys,” Damian said. “I think it’s cool. I’ve never experienced anything like that.”

The free performance is at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at the C.H. Moe Theater.

Gabriella Scibetta can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @gscibetta_DE