An Evening of Creativity Behind Closed Doors


Kelly Tunney

Members of the Cal U Dance Ensemble close the show with an emotional piece.

Briana Hendriksen, Staff Writer

Blaney Theatre kicked off its first show of the semester this past weekend with, An Evening of Creativity.

The show consisted of two dance pieces, “Finding your Way” and “Behind Closed Doors”, and a One Act entitled, Post-It’s (Notes on a Marriage), a homage to A.R. Gurney’s Love Letters.

This unique production showcased the whirlwind that is life.

Kelly Tunney
Freshman, Michael Mastandrea, performs as Actor in ‘An Evening of Creativity’.

The dance piece “Finding Your Way”, which was choreographed by the Cal U Dance Ensemble (Marisa Badura, Laura Cook, Taylor Frost, Meagan Goben and Mackenzie Moore), addressed the issue of getting caught up in the insanity of the world, but being able to take a step back and find yourself again.

“For “Finding Your Way” the Ensemble members hoped ‘that the audience was able to see that each dancer by the end of the piece ultimately was able to find who they were as a person and move forward in a positive direction,” said choreographer Diane Buffington.

Kelly Tunney
Members of the Cal U Dance Ensemble perform at “An Evening of Creativity”.

Post-It’s (Notes on a Marriage), which was directed by graduate student Emily Cutwright, was a One Act in which the actor, Michael Mastandrea, and actress, Jessica Crosson, read the Post-It notes between a couple that spans the duration of their lives together.

This piece explored the up’s and down’s that any relationship faces through the aspect of hand-written notes.

“The reason I chose this show was because it was presented in an abnormal way (actors read off of post it’s),” Cutwright explained. “It explored the ups and downs of a long-term relationship in which we all experience at one time or another. It was very relate-able for adults.”

Kelly Tunney
Jessica Crosson and Michael Mastandrea perform their one act, “Post-Its”.

The final dance piece, which was choreographed by Buffington entitled, “Behind Closed Doors”, explored the struggles an individual endures when no one is watching, such as anxiety, depression, illness, addiction, etc. This piece addressed the fact that despite these struggles, we all need people who are going to be empathetic and understanding of our situations.

“Behind closed doors” was a personal performance by the Cal U Dance Ensemble that represented different life events a person may endure when out of the public eye.

“My overall intentions were to make each audience member question their own behavior and contribution to others in their lives,” Buffington said. “The piece was meant to be intense and uncomfortable at times to make all of its viewers sit back and think about how we as a society treat each other.”


Kelly Tunney
The Cal U Dance Ensemble performs their “Behind Closed Doors” piece at ‘An Evening of Creativity’

An Evening of Creativity was a show unlike any other that the Cal U Theatre Department has put on in the past from both a dance and acting perspective.

“This show was different because I had the smallest cast I’ve ever worked with,” Cutwright said. “It was a great, intimate experience.”

On the other hand, Buffington expressed how this show was different from a dance perspective.

“This piece was the first dance choreographed specifically for a black box setting and with live dialogue to really connect with the audience,” Buffington said. “When the performer is that close to the audience members the use of live dialogue is a powerful element of connection.”


Kelly Tunney
Sophomore, Jessica Crosson, performs as Actress during ‘An Evening of Creativity’.

The effective lighting, the silhouettes of the dancers, subtle costume changes, and the fluidity of movement in each of the dance pieces, made connecting and interpreting the show on a deeper level more effortless.

“The silhouettes in my piece were a very important aspect of the entire meaning. Even though there were only five dancers it made it appear as if there were more in the performance area,” Buffington said. “This was important since the piece conveyed that we need to all be supportive and be there for each other when we are suffering.”

Interpretation of any show is up to the audience themselves. However, Cutwright addressed what she hoped the audience took away after the performers took their final bow.

“This particular one act just meant to me exactly what I wanted the audience to take away. We do not have as much time as we think we do with our loved ones,” Cutwright said. “I was hoping the audience would rethink the way they treat their loved ones.”

Kelly Tunney
The Cal U Dance Ensemble performs a piece choreographed by Diane Buffington.

An Evening of Creativity made the audience realize that despite being consumed with our own day-to-day lives, we need to take a step back, change our perspective, and be present in the lives of others.

“We are so quick to step on each other’s backs to get ahead in life. This mentality is unhealthy and holds us back as a society,” Buffington said. “Too many of us have lost true empathy and sympathy for what other people endure.”

In the words of the dance ensemble throughout the final piece, “Be there. Be selfless. Stand tall” and make sure that you are taking the time to “Listen to understand instead of listening to respond.”