Theatre arts major adds mixed media to senior conservatory

By Ryan Buffa |

For Flagler College theater arts majors, the senior conservatory class is like taking on a full time job. For senior Dylan Pembleton, the work load in the theater department alone was not enough to create his ideal one act play. Pembleton, 23, is filming a one to one and half minute short to prelude the one-act play that he is directing.

“I wanted to take advantage of the opportunities that are given to us here (at Flagler College),” Pembleton said. “I just really think that the communication department and the theater department should be working together. I think that we have a lot in common and I think we have a very bright future if we were to start working together more”

This year’s senior class, who call their series of one-act productions “Organized Chaos,” will also be busy preparing for their conservatory productions beginning on Nov. 30.

The seniors spent the semester working together on their set design, advertising, poster design and simply “trying to keep each other up,” he said.

“Everybody’s got a completely different show, but there is a lot of modern relationship situations, family ties, first dates, roommates, these kind of relationships that we see on a day to day basis,” Pembleton said. “It’s really interesting to see on stage, life under a microscope … which is essentially what theater is. Mine is more of a big picture kind of thing.”

And the big picture has more than one meaning, because for his one-act he will bring in a projection screen to show a one-minute film that will prelude to the beginning of the one-act. The actress in the film will be the same lead actress on stage and the play will begin from where the film left off.

“I like the idea of a mixed media play, a show which uses lots of different forms of technology other than our lighting system and whatever set you build on stage,” Pembleton said. “I have never seen anyone do this before … put a film and a play together … I know that it happens, but I have never really seen it before so I’m excited to see what it looks like on stage”

Senior conservatory starts off with eight seniors, all of whom must choose a 30-minute, one-act play to direct. However, each director must coordinate costume design, makeup for actors, set design, casting and “any little thing in between.”

“I would say on average I spend about a full-time job’s worth on this project,” Pembleton said.

It is obvious that he wants to excel, and has directed a show that can relate to modern society through the use of mix media. “The Game of Chess” is a one-act play based in 1914 Russia, but Pembleton decided to bring the play to modern times, as well as change the lead character to a female actress. For some theater arts majors, it could take all four years at Flagler College to decide on the perfect play to direct. For Pembleton, it took reading through 30 scripts before stumbling upon his choice in the library.

“It’s a timeless show because the story has been told a hundred thousand times in history and I believe that it’s not going to stop any time soon and this is how things are,” he said.

The synopsis of “The Game of Chess” is what makes the play appropriate for all eras, according to Pembleton. “It’s not necessarily the poor versus the rich, but that there are always people that are seeking power and will do anything to get it, while there are others that are for hope and love and want some kind of equality in life… but it’s really sad that those are the people that usually end up getting hurt…by the people that are in power,” Pembleton said.

In the end, the class is not entirely about the grade, the extra hours and effort, or maybe even the play in itself, but about a student’s love for their major and expressing it in their last year at Flagler College.

“Finding those moments (in theater), that’s what I have really loved about all this, is that there are these little moments that you get to where the blocking is right, the lighting is right, the pacing is just right … and you create this ideal moment on stage that everybody can watch and hopefully learn something from…and that’s why personally I keep looking back to the theater … because of those little moments,” he said.

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