LU’s Department of Theatre and Dance embraces the experience of “The Heidi Chronicles”

As the mixture of orange and yellow light faded to black, the cast of “The Heidi Chronicles” took one final step onto the stage of the Lamar University Theatre and bowed to an audience on their feet who presented all of those involved with a heavily-deserved standing ovation.

After weeks of auditioning, rehearsing and planning, the Lamar University Department of Theatre & Dance presented “The Heidi Chronicles,” for four consecutive days.

“The Heidi Chronicles” is a play detailing the coming of age of Heidi Holland, a successful art historian, as she tries to find her bearings in a rapidly changing world. Consisting of a nine-person cast, the play took the audience through the 1960’s, 70’s and 80’s, following Holland’s journey through life, her friends, her romances, her challenges and the evolution of feminism through the decades.

Now, with the lights faded and the curtain closed, the cast and crew look back on the experience and what will be remembered most.

Alan Brincks, assistant professor of acting and directing and director of “The Heidi Chronicles,” elaborated on what he enjoys the most in all performances he has a chance to be a part of and to direct.

the-heidi-chronicles-final.jpg“I always just love the process as a director and as an actor as well” said Brincks. “I love getting into and trying to fine tune all these little moments and to get closer to what these characters are, to what these moments are and to what the truth is to each of these moments for these characters and relationships.”

Brincks’ teaching and directing style continue to make an impact on the students who have a role in the performances. For Juliana McManus, sophomore theatre major, the nerves immediately hit after being given the lead role of Heidi Holland.

“I was freaking out about it,” said McManus. “I remember talking to my mom and telling her that I have to kiss someone and I have never done that on stage before, but she told me to go for it and to show everyone what you are made of.”

The encouragement from her mother was the first step in becoming comfortable with the role. It wasn’t until the rehearsal process began when McManus’ anxiety fully subsided and started working with her director.

“I was very nervous about the rehearsal because [professor Brincks] makes you get into it,” she said. “Whenever it comes to rehearsals, he takes your mind and puts it into the character. I was nervous, but it was an awesome experience and he made it comfortable for everyone.”

“The Heidi Chronicles” is a play that comes with challenges. Brincks spoke on what those challenges were for the entire cast and for himself.

“The play is challenging in the sense that it’s dealing with a lot of content that people even my age might not be familiar with,” said Brincks. “Another challenging aspect is that it is very much a language play. Some plays are plot plays and built on spectacle, but language is at the forefront of what’s happening. There are a lot of words which Juliana can attest to as she had to memorize them.”

Despite the challenges dealing with the amount of content, multiple time periods and amount of language that had to be communicated, Brincks was ultimately left satisfied with the end result of the hard work from all involved.

“This cast in this time period was probably the most challenging thing about it,” he said. “But it’s also really rewarding when you can meet that challenge and exceed it. Everybody on this team did that. It wasn’t easy, but I was very pleased with the strides we made, the growth of all actors and of everyone involved in the project.”

Upcoming performances from the Lamar University Department of Theatre & Dance include “The Revolutionists” from April 13-16 and “Dance Unleashed” from April 28-29.

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