By: Emily Balli
In late February and early March, Glendale Community College theatre will be putting on the first ever production of play, “Lessons of Crime and Punishment.” The play was written by playwright and Communication and World Languages Department faculty member Kirt Shineman.
The play tells a story about university English teacher Jackie Derokowsky and how she uses the novel “Crime and Punishment,” by Fyodor Dostoyevsky to help and teach young men who are in a juvenile detention center. Ultimately, the boys learn valuable lessons about themselves and about their crimes from Derokowsky and “Crime and Punishment.”
The play is directed by local professional actor and new GCC Theatre Arts and Film Department faculty member Lesley Tutnick-Machbitz. “I love watching the script go from words on a page to three-dimensional, living, breathing, characters that tell a story,” Tutnick-Machbitz said.
Tutnick-Machbitz and Shineman have worked on other productions together in the past, “[Shineman] has a different perspective on the show and it’s a wonderful opportunity for the students to have the playwright right there [during rehearshals],” Tutnick-Machbitz said.
Actors in the play agree that it has been very beneficial to have Shineman involved in the production every step of the way. Jared Queen plays Cole McKinley, one of the boys in the juvenile detention center. “The best part of acting in ‘Lessons of Crime and Punishment’ has been having Lesley as a director and being able to work closely with the playwright. He’s around a lot for us and we are able to ask him specific questions about our characters and about his vision,” Queen said.
In addition, GCC theatre is collaborating with two professors from Arizona State University to not only enrich the actors experience, but also to enhance the quality of the show. “David Barker is an acting professor from ASU as well as a Master Fight Choreographer. He will be helping with some of the choreography and movement for the show. Pam Sterling is also a professor at ASU and her focus there is Theatre for Young Audience and Playwriting. She is playing the role of Jackie,” said director Tutnick-Machbitz.
Program Director, David Seitz, will be returning to the stage after many years. Seitz is playing Warden Todd Porfiry. “I am very excited to return to my first love, acting, after all these years of successful behind the scenes work,” he said.
“Lessons of Crime and Punishment,” will have six show times beginning Friday, February 27 at 7:30 p.m. in the performing arts center at Glendale Community College’s main campus. The other shows will be held in the same place on February 28 at 7:30 p.m., March 5 at 2:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. and March 6 and 7 at 7:30 p.m.. Ticket prices will be $8 for general admission and $5 for students, staff, alumni and seniors. Tickets can be purchased online through Vendini.com or at the performing arts center one hour prior to the show. For additional information on “Lessons of Crime and Punishment,” and future GCC theatre productions visit www.gccaz.edu under “Events.”