New Play Festival Starts 18th Opening June 29

The Cypress College New Play Festival provides student actors and directors with a place to help develop new plays with professional playwrights from Los Angeles. We are celebrating our eighteenth summer season. Our festival won the OC Weekly best of 2008:

“Mark Majarian and the rest of this community college’s theater department deserve a chorus of hosannas for launching and growing a new-play festival as strong as any in Southern California. Many of the writers—and several of the plays—have subsequently received full-fledged productions at regional and off-Broadway theaters. They provide encouragement and incentive to playwrights, a strange breed of animal that chooses to work in an artistic field where recognition is hard to come by and financial compensation nearly impossible.”

Notable playwright collaborations have been with a reading and production of Oliver Mayer’s “Bold as Love,” Paula Cizmar’s “Venus in Orange” which was produced at the Victory Theater in Burbank, Jonathan Caren’s “Need to Know” produced at the Rogue Machine Theatre, Jennifer Maisel’s “@the speedofjake” produced by Playwright’s Arena, Erik Patterson’s “I Wanna Hold Your Hand” produced at the Theater of NOTE, Ruth McKee’s “Hell Money” produced at the Chalk Repertory Theater, Doug Cooney’s Long Story Short which won a design award and was invited as an “Invitational Scene” for the Region VIII, Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival. Also, Mickey Birnbaum’s “Big Death Little Death” (developed during the 2002 Cypress New Play Festival) which opened the inaugural 2005-06 season of the Wooly Mammoth Theater Company (in Washington D. C.). Mickey’s other play, “Bleed Rail,” (developed during the 2004 Cypress New Play Festival) was performed at the Theater @ Boston Court in Pasadena. Other notable past collaborations were with Cody Henderson whose play, “Cold Tender” won the 2002 OC Weekly award, Annie Weisman’s “Be Aggressive” which was produced at the La Jolla Playhouse in 2001 and Robert Glaudini’s “Poison Tree” which was produced by the Mark Taper Forum in 2001 and Michael Golamco’s play “Year Zero” which went on to premiere at the Victory Gardens Theater in Chicago in the fall 2009.

Performances: Thursdays 7:00 P.M. (June 29, July 6, 13, 20, 27, @ 7 P.M.) through July 27th. There will be a discussion with the writer following each reading. Admission is $5.00 to support the festival.

Studio Theater, Theater Building 9200 Valley View, Cypress 90630

For more information, contact Mark Majarian at (714) 484-7205 or email at mmajarian@cypresscollege.edu.

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“Shostakovich, or Silence” by Jason Grote, Thursday, June 29th at 7 p.m. (3 men, 2 women) 

Sometimes the things an artist must do to keep creating aren’t pretty, even if the art sometimes is. In Jason Grote’s riveting biographical play with music about the prolific Soviet-era composer Dmitri Shostakovich, the Great Terror is imprisoning and murdering writers and artists—and unfortunately for him, Shostakovich is out of favor with Stalin. But the human spirit is more powerful than any kind of artillery. And a composer must contemplate whether to use the power of art to change things, or remain silent.

Jason Grote

Jason Grote’s plays include 1001; Maria/Stuart; Civilization; and Shostakovich, or Silence. He has provided the text for various devised works, including David Levin’s HABIT (2013 OBIE), En Garde Arts’ Basetrack (NYT Top Ten of 2014), and Radiohole’s Tarzana. His work has been produced or developed at Playwrights Horizons, The Denver Center, Soho Rep, PS 122, The Flea, The Brooklyn Academy of Music, Woolly Mammoth, Sundance, The O’Neill, The Watermill Center, Center Theater Group, and elsewhere, and translated into German and Slovenian. TV work includes “Mad Men,” “Hannibal,” and “Smash,” and the upcoming “Knightfall,” produced by Jeremy Renner. He has adapted works by John Cheever and Hillary Mantel for film.

“Goat Springs Eternal” by Paula Cizmar, Thursday, July 6th at 7 p.m. (3 women, 3 men or more) 

¡Goat Springs Eternal! is a darkly comedic riff on Lope de Vega’s Fuenteovejuna (1612 – 1614), in which a small town rises up against a voracious commander who never met a woman he didn’t want to abuse or someone else’s property he didn’t want to steal. This contemporary update transports troubling events from the time of Ferdinand and Isabella to the U.S. – Mexico border, where justice is for sale and American companies are eager to buy. But when it all goes wrong, can an entire town get away with murder?

Paula Cizmar

Paula Cizmar is a playwright whose work is concerned with the way stories get told in a culture—and with who gets left out of the discussion. Her work has been produced at Portland Stage Company, the Women’s Project (New York), the Jungle Theatre, San Diego Rep, Passage Theatre, and Playwrights Arena @ LATC, among others. New plays include Antigone X, produced at USC MFA Rep; January, presented in NYC in the New Play Development Series at MultiStages; and The Last Nights of Scheherazade, recipient of the 2016 Israel Baran Award. The Chisera (AKA Lost Borders), was selected for the Mach 33 Festival of Science-Driven Plays. Paula has received commissions from Center Theatre Group, Salt Lake Acting Company, Echo Theatre, Portland Stage Company, and Playwrights Arena. Among her many awards are an NEA grant and a TCG/Mellon On the Road grant. She is a member of the WGA and the Dramatists Guild and is an Associate Professor of Theatre at USC’s School of Dramatic Arts. More information: www.paulacizmar.com

“The Subject” by Carolyn Kras, Thursday, July 13st at 7 p.m. (7 women, 4 men) 

Princess Sophia’s dysfunctional royal family includes notoriously mad father King George III, drug-dependent mother Queen Charlotte, sex addict brother Ernest, and five eccentric sisters (a confident stutterer, an agorophobe, an artist, a bossy fashion plate, and an ardent teen). When Sophia is raped and fights to bring the criminal to justice,

her family seeks to mastermind a cover-up of the secret for fear of losing the throne. With its timely themes and strong roles for women, The Subject has been a popular new play with 16 readings (and counting) in 2016-2017. The Subject was commisisoned by the U.S.-U.K. Fulbright LUSK Award, had a United Nations Orange Day reading in London, and was developed in Antaeus Playwrights Lab.

Carolyn Kras

Carolyn Kras was recently Playwright in Residence at Sell a Door Theatre Company in London through the support of the Fulbright LUSK Award. Her play The Subject had a United Nations Orange Day Reading featuring Alfred Enoch and has had readings throughout the U.S. and U.K. in 2016-2017 via The Subject Project: https://thesubjectproject.wordpress.com Carolyn received the Visionary Playwright Award and Commission from Theater Masters, and the resulting play Mine & Yours was named a top national new play by the Bay Area Playwrights Festival (Finalist), The Kilroys List Honorable Mention, and L. Arnold Weissberger Award Nomination. Her plays have been produced or developed at The Blank Theatre, Chicago Dramatists, Stage Left Theatre, Live Girls! Theater, The Looking Glass Theatre, Centenary Stage Company, Pittsburgh Irish & Classical Theatre, 20% Theatre Company Chicago. Honors include William Randolph Hearst Creative Artist Fellowship, Shubert Fellowship, Aspen Ideas Festival Scholar, Disquiet International Short Play Award, and “Best Playwright” Award in The Looking Glass Theatre’s Writer/Director Forum. Carolyn has a B.A. in Drama from Washington University in St. Louis and an M.F.A. in Dramatic Writing from Carnegie Mellon University.

“Eight Nights” by Jennifer Maisel, Thursday, July 20th at 7 p.m. (3 women, 4 men) 

The lives that inhabit an apartment from 1949 to 2016. A young refugee woman finally free to start anew in the United States confronts the past that haunts her. How much can she move forward without forgetting those she loved? Is history always doomed to repeat itself? Or do you need to voice the darkness to move into the light?

Jennifer Maisel

Jennifer Maisel’s Pen West Literary Award finalist There or Here was workshopped at PlayPenn before its critically acclaimed run at New York’s Hypothetical Theatre and is in talks for a London premiere. Her The Last Seder premiered Off-Broadway after productions in Chicago, D.C. and LA. Plays include Goody Fucking Two Shoes (ATL’s Humana Festival), birds (Rorschach Theatre), Eden (Theatre of NOTE, Original Works Publishing) and Match (UArts New Play Festival). Awards: Kennedy Center’s Fund for New American Plays Award, Charlotte Woolard and Roger L. Stevens awards; SCR’s California Playwrights Competition; two time PEN West Literary Award finalist; five time Heideman Award finalist, STAGES International finalist. Her #Sandy ran in Moving Arts’ The Car Plays at the Segerstrom Performing Arts Center and LiveGirls! in Seattle. She was commissioned by Chalk Rep for her If You Lived Here I Would Be Home By Now for their site-specific Flash Festival in the fall of 2014. She received an Ensemble Studio Theatre/Alfred P. Sloan foundation commission for Out of Orbit, developed at the Sundance Theatre Lab, the Gulfshore New Play Festival, the Berkshire Playwrights Lab and Cal Tech; Out of Orbit recently won the Stanley Award for Drama. Her newest play, @thespeedofJake, was Kilroy nominated. She also writes for film and television; her screenplay, Prodigal Son, went into production in November of 2014. She is a member of the Dramatists Guild, Ensemble Studio Theatre – LA Project, DogEar Playwrights Collective, Playwrights Union and the WGA.

“Losing My Religion” by Hannah C. Langley, Thursday, July 27th at 7 p.m. (3 women, 1 man) 

Charity, prized daughter of a radical anti-gay Church, struggles with her faith after failing to convert a nice Jewish boy over Twitter. With the guidance of her alter ego, Judy Garland, and a curious bartender, Charity sees the light and leaves her Church and its ways behind.

Hannah C. Langley

Hannah C. Langley is a playwright and novelist from Valencia, California. A recent graduate of University of California, Berkeley and a current Dramatic Writing MFA Candidate at University of Southern California, I write to expose the real life struggles of young women with a mix of mythology and magic. Her other creative interests lie in raising awareness about mental and physical illnesses as well as LGBTQ+ issues. Hannah currently works as a Teaching Assistant in the School of Dramatic Arts. Her mission is to help improve my students’ writing skills as well as their confidence.

Get Your Creative Work Published!

The Creative Guild, a creative arts club at Cypress College, will be producing Sole Image, a literary journal of writing and visual art created by Cypress College students.

All students are invited to submit their creative works to be considered for publication.

Submissions due Wednesday, May 3 at 11:59 p.m. All work must be submitted with a completed cover sheet.

To submit work digitally or request a digital cover sheet, email cypresssoleimage@gmail.com. To submit work in print or pick up a paper cover sheet, please visit HUM 208M.

Students interested in working on producing Sole Image should contact the Creative Guild, which meets in HUM 106 every Thursday at 2:15-3:15 p.m.

Conserving An Artistic Legacy

Have you been curious about why there’s scaffolding around part of the front of the College Complex building? Or perhaps wondered what the story is behind the carved structure that features prominently in the Gateway Plaza of the College?

What you are seeing is a mural made by cast concrete relief, designed and created by noted Mexican-American artist and architect Sergio O’Cadiz. O’Cadiz worked as a conceptual architect and renderer for William Blurock & Associates, one of the companies that designed the first phase of the College’s construction. William Blurock, the firm’s principal, encouraged his workers to incorporate art into the design of buildings. The result is the sculptured wall at the front of the Complex building (which began life as the College’s first permanent library building), finished in 1967.

In 2016 the College began the process of conservation of this historically important piece of art. The first steps were a careful washing of the structure last spring, along with an evaluation of the sculpture. EverGreene Architectural Arts, an award-winning leader in the field, was engaged to assess and work on the piece. During the last few weeks, experts from EverGreene have been on campus, making further observations and going through the conservation process.

The goal of the work is to stabilize elements in the mural, so that this piece of history can endure at the College for another 50 years. A re-dedication is being planned upon completion of the work.

Tickets! Get Your FOLLIES Tickets!

Join us for the Cypress College 50th Anniversary production of the Stephen Sondheim musical FOLLIES, based on the book by James Goldman. In the musical, past “Weismann’s Follies” performers reunite in a Broadway theater that’s scheduled for demolition. The focus is on two couples and their past and present lives.

The Cypress College production of FOLLIES is directed by Jim Hormel. The cast and design team feature current and former Cypress students.

Opening night is Friday, March 24 at 8 p.m. Subsequent performances are:

  • Saturday, March 25 at 8 p.m.
  • Sunday, March 26 at 4 p.m.
  • Friday, March 31 at 8 p.m.
  • Saturday, April 1 at 8 p.m.
  • Sunday, April 2 at 4 p.m.

As part of the College’s 50th Anniversary celebration, there will be a special gala preceding the Saturday, April 1 performance with cocktails to follow.

Tickets for the April 1 show are $30. Tickets for all other shows are $20 for general admission and $15 for seniors, students with student ID, and children under 12.

Get your tickets here.

President Simpson Looks to College’s Future in Final Opening Day Address

In a forward-looking address to faculty and staff, Cypress College President Bob Simpson set an energetic tone as he welcomed all back to campus for the spring semester Friday,  Jan. 27 on his final Opening Day.

“Rather today than looking in the rearview mirror at what we have achieved,” Dr. Simpson said, “I want to look ahead because there’s so much that’s been happening, so much going on, some very important tasks that are before us.”

The College has a variety of ongoing and upcoming projects to improve its capacity to serve the needs of current and future Cypress students, including the 2017-2020 strategic plan; the College’s first bachelor’s program in funeral sciences; new buildings and renovations through the Measure J construction program; and a thermal energy project.

Buildings in the Measure J project are in various stages of the design phase. Drawings of the new Science, Engineering, and Math building are nearly complete, and the new Veterans Resource Center and Student Activities Center remodel are currently in design-development.

“But we’re excited that we’re going to be breaking ground before too long,” Dr. Simpson added.

The $8.5 million energy project—installation of a thermal storage tank and HVAC chiller on the north side of campus—will provide climate control for those future and current buildings, and aid in the College’s energy efficiency goals.

“All that we will do in the future is dependent upon that energy that will be provided,” Dr. Simpson said.

The College is also preparing for accreditation renewal this year by the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges.

Phil Dykstra, the College’s Director of Institutional Research and Planning, and Liana Koeppel, the self evaluation chair, are currently processing feedback to finalize the first draft of the self evaluation report for submission to the District Board of Trustees Feb. 14. There will be a second round of feedback during the spring, with final Board approval in April. The report is due to ACCJC July 15.

In a change from the last round of accreditation, the accrediting team will also conduct a pre-visit to campus sometime this semester, in addition to the usual site visit in the fall on Oct. 9-12.

Another major project underway this semester is the College’s website redesign, headed by Cypress’ Director of Campus Communications Marc Posner, and web content specialist Cari Jorgensen. The current website was designed a decade ago.

The redesign aims to update and modernize the look and feel of the Cypress College website while also improving navigation and user-friendliness. It will be created on WordPress, an easy-to-use content management system expected to facilitate continuity across the website’s many sections and simpler editing by individual users.

Dr. Simpson also recognized a recent honor for the College and expressed his appreciation for the City of Cypress’ support. During the city’s State of the City Luncheon this past January, Mayor Paulo Morales presented Cypress College with an honorary “Key to the City” in recognition of the College’s 50th Anniversary.

“We are so fortunate at the College to have an incredible relationship with the City of Cypress,” Dr. Simpson said.

“One of the reasons we are able to do as much as we are able to do to support our students is because of that extraordinary support that we receive from the community,” he continued, “and at the top of the list of supporters is the City of Cypress. We are so gratified to have that kind of relationship.”

The culmination of the College’s 50th anniversary celebration is a reunion and community festival on April 1 at the pond. Planned by the Cypress College Foundation, the festival will include food trucks and a kid zone, College presentations and displays, discussion panels, a classic car show, and even a duck pond race—a hallowed College tradition returned for one day only.

Opening Day included music by the Mighty Cypress College Art Players, featuring faculty members Gary Gopar, Marcus McMillan, and Terra Schwartzwald. They performed several jazz pieces throughout the program, accompanied by dance routines from Fine Arts students under the direction of Maha Afra.

Though the start of the semester is always a happy occasion, for many this semester was bittersweet with President Simpson’s impending retirement on June 30.

Near the end of the program, Dr. Simpson also picked up a guitar and pleased the crowd with a touching rendition of Neil Young’s ’71 classic, “Old Man,” backed by the Art Players.

“The last ten years have been the most significant and productive of my professional life,” Dr. Simpson said in his closing remarks, “and if I was left at the end with only my time at Cypress College, I would still consider that life to have been full and rich and rewarding.

“I want to thank you for allowing me the privilege of serving the last five years as the president of this amazing place,” he continued. “It has been an extraordinary ride, and I don’t have the words to thank you, but, Chargers, thank you all.”

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Cypress College is Now On Pinterest

Whether you’re a student, faculty member, or staff employee at Cypress College, when you walk on campus you’re immediately surrounded by the rich history and life that makes up this campus. No matter your role, you know using words to describe Cypress College and campus life is simply not enough. Short of being on campus and experiencing it in person, the next best thing is experiencing Cypress College through pictures.

How best to do that? Pinterest, of course.

For us, Pinterest is a view book through which our campus is showcased. Come visit us there and see the beauty of Cypress College – from the campanile to our art gallery to the spaces and places on campus and more (including the ducks!).

To follow us on Pinterest, click here.

Like our Pinterest boards and have photos to add? Email us here.

Announcing the 17th Annual Cypress College New Play Festival

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The Cypress College New Play Festival provides student actors and directors a place to help develop new plays with professional playwrights from Los Angeles. We are celebrating our seventeenth summer season. Our festival won the OC Weekly Best of 2008.

“Mark Majarian and the rest of this community college’s theater department deserve a chorus of hosannas for launching and growing a new-play festival as strong as any in Southern California. Many of the writers-and several of the plays-have subsequently received full-fledged productions at regional and off-Broadway theaters. They provide encouragement and incentive to playwrights, a strange breed of animal that chooses to work in an artistic field where recognition is hard to come by and financial compensation nearly impossible.”

Notable playwright collaborations have been with a reading and production of Oliver Mayer’s “Bold as Love,” Paula Cizmar’s “Venus in Orange” which was produced at the Victory Theater in Burbank, Jonathan Caren’s “Need to Know” produced at the Rogue Machine Theatre, Jennifer Maisel’s “@the speedofjake” produced by Playwright’s Arena, Erik Patterson’s “I Wanna Hold Your Hand” produced at the Theater of NOTE, Ruth McKee’s “Hell Money” produced at the Chalk Repertory Theater, Doug Cooney’s Long Story Short which won a design award and was invited as an “Invitational Scene” for the Region VIII, Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival. Also, Mickey Birnbaum’s “Big Death Little Death” (developed during the 2002 Cypress New Play Festival) which opened the inaugural 2005-06 season of the Wooly Mammoth Theater Company (in Washington D. C.). Mickey’s other play, “Bleed Rail,” (developed during the 2004 Cypress New Play Festival) was performed at the Theater @ Boston Court in Pasadena. Other notable past collaborations were with Cody Henderson whose play, “Cold Tender” won the 2002 OC Weekly award, Annie Weisman’s “Be Aggressive” which was produced at the La Jolla Playhouse in 2001 and Robert Glaudini’s “Poison Tree” which was produced by the Mark Taper Forum in 2001 and Michael Golamco’s play “Year Zero” which went on to premiere at the Victory Gardens Theater in Chicago in the fall 2009.

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Performances: Thursdays 7:00 P.M. (June 30, July 7, 14, 21, 28, @ 7 P.M.) through July 28th. There will be a discussion with the writer following each reading. Admission is $5.00 to support the festival.

Studio Theater, Theater Building 9200 Valley View, Cypress 90630

For additional information, please contact Mark Majarian at (714) 484-7205, mmajarian (at) cypresscollege.edu

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This season’s line-up features the following productions: 

“Karina Played Pachanga Music” by Israel Lopez Reyes, Thurs. June 30th at 7pm. (4 men, 1 woman)

The play explores the underground world of techno-rancheras, poverty, and party crews in West Dallas. Katrina must escape a manhunt and save her missing brother from a dark party crew rival.

Israel Lopez Reyes | Short Bio

Recent acting credits include Concrete Orange: An American Fable (Guthrie Theater), A Midsummer Night’s Dream (UCLA) Life on the Praça Roosevelt (UCLA) Se Llama Cristina (Kitchen Dog Theater) The Last Days of Judas Iscariot (Company of Angels) and The Taming of the Shrew (Long Beach Playhouse). Israel participated in the Guthrie Experience for Actors in Training (2015) and the LAByrinth Intensive Ensemble (2012). He was recently awarded a full-scholarship with the British American Dramatic Academy at Oxford University.

His written plays include: the easterlies, Sir Dezmond the Black Knight of Inglewood Castle, bautista the real-life walking lowrider freak and the rodeo inside, Debunked Theories of the Burger King Party, Pigeons on the Greenline Headed Towards Norwalk, and BROKE (a cheap play for your broke ass).

“Pachucos of Palmdale” by Danny Herman, Thurs. July 7th at 7pm. (3 women, 4 men)

Pachucos of Palmdale is the farcical story of the blending of two cultures. Gabe, a whitewashed Latino Los Angeleno, gets stuck in the city of Palmdale. Gabe hopes to get back on the road to San Francisco, a place he believes could be home, his gay Mecca…until he has a run in with a Greek chorus of dating profiles that have other plans.

Playwright
Playwright Israel Lopez Reyes

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Daniel Herman
 | Short Bio

Danny Herman is an undergraduate BA Theatre Major at the University of Southern California. Pachucos of Palmdale is his second full length play written at USC.

“The Backroom” by Rebin Zangna, Thurs. July 14st at 7pm. (1 woman, 5 men)

A Lebanese-American student with high aspirations and his straight-talking, sometimes racist, Morrocan-American boss venture to make some extra money by buying a case of stolen phones. As they try to make extra side-money, they negotiate with the regulars of the cellphone shop. The day goes on and they are solicited by the student’s ex girlfriend, whom they both can’t resist and her boyfriend, who is highly terroritorial about what he feels is his. The pair’s relationship sours as they confront each other and others over matters of money, ownership, and what it means to do business.

Playwright Daniel Herman
Playwright Daniel Herman

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Rebin Zangana | Short Bio

Rebin Zangana is plawright and screenwriter from Columbus, Ohio. He is currently an MFA student at the University of Southern California. Rebin wrote and directed his first short film, Artifact, in 2016. He is currently developing a story for a feature film, set to film in 2017. During his time at USC, Rebin has had numerous readings, including two short plays as part of Feuchtwanger Refreshed, an event celebrating German writer Lion Feuchtwanger. His, and other plays from the event, will be published as a collection by USC. As a storyteller, Rebin hopes to bring to the stage and the screen a more authentic and inclusive vision of American life.

“Staying Where You Are” by Erik Patterson, Thurs. July 21th at 7pm. (2 women, 2 men)

Is a moving and dramatic tale about a family caught in the generational cycle of poverty in the Pico/Union neighborhood of Los Angeles. How do you overcome your challenges, your demons? Where do you start, especially when all options that would preserve your dignity seem closed to you?

Rebin Zangana
Playwright Rebin Zangana

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Erik Patterson | Short Bio

Erik is a graduate of Occidental College and the British American Drama Academy. His plays have been produced by Playwrights’ Arena, the Los Angeles Theatre Center, Theatre of NOTE, Evidence Room, and The Actors’ Gang, and developed through the Lark Play Development Center, Moving Arts, Black Dahlia, Naked Angels, and the Mark Taper Forum. He has had monologues published by Heinemann and Smith & Kraus. Along with writing partner Jessica Scott, he has written screenplays for Warner Premiere, ABC Family, the Disney Channel, The Hatchery, and Universal. He won a 2010 Writers Guild of America Award for Best Children’s Script (Long Form) for Another Cinderella Story. He was nominated in the 40th Daytime Emmy Awards for Outstanding Writing in a Children’s Series for “R.L. Stine’s The Haunting Hour”. His play He Asked For It was nominated for a 2009 GLAAD Media Award for Outstanding Los Angeles Theater. It was nominated for a 2008 Ovation Award for World Premiere Playwriting, as well as being named one of the Top 10 Plays of 2008 by Frontiers Magazine. In 2003, his play Yellow Flesh Alabaster Rose won a Backstage West Garland Award for Best Playwriting and was a finalist for the PEN USA Literary Award. In 2004, his play Red Light Green Light was nominated for an Ovation Award for World Premiere Playwriting.

“Welcome to Keene, New Hampshire” by Brian James Polak, Thurs. July 28th at 7pm. ( 6 women, 6 men)

Fast-forward Thornton Wilder’s “Our Town” 115 years. “Welcome to Keene, NH” is a three-act play telling the fictional story of a real American small town through the everyday lives of its citizens.

Playwright Erik Paterson
Playwright Erik Paterson

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Brian James Polak  | Short Bio
He was born and raised in New Hampshire, that little chunk of a state shoved between Maine and Vermont and eventually moved to Los Angeles and received MFA from USC. His play HENRY AND THE HIPPOCAMPUS was a semi-finalist for O’Neil Playwrights Conference and a recipient of The Kennedy Center’s Jean Kennedy Smith Award. WAR PROFITS received the Kennedy Center’s John Cauble Award and was recently presented in The Road Theater’s Summer Playwright’s Festival. A couple of his short plays have been published in Smith & Kraus “Best Ten-Minute Plays” anthologies, and another has been published by Commonplace Books. In 2013 Brian wrote a play called TALES FROM TENT CITY about a group of runaway teenagers and he had the opportunity to workshop it with undergrad students at USC as well as at Loyola Marymount as part of their Playwrights Center Stage program.

Playwright Brian James Polak
Playwright Brian James Polak

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For additional information, please contact Mark Majarian at (714) 484-7205, mmajarian (at) cypresscollege.edu | #CypressCollege #Theater #Arts

#CYProud: Mallory Roa (Artist Profile)

As part of our ongoing student profile series (#CYProud), we’re pleased to highlight the extraordinary work of Mallory Roa, a Cypress College Class of 2016 graduate who will continue her art and photography studies on full merit scholarship at the prestigious San Francisco Art Institute, School of Photography (founded by Ansel Adams and home to legends such as Annie Leibovitz, Lewis Baltz, and our very own Cypress College alumna Carly Cram).

Mallory is a brilliant talent – an artist in all respects. Her photos are vivid and real; not just beautiful images in and of themselves, but narratively compelling. In some sort of magical way, she is able to convey a sense of history and essence through imagery… a significance of place, past and person.

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Compelling narratives; frank exposures; implied complicity. 

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Original views of geometry, texture, light and skyscapes. 

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Visual tapestries; evocative captures of color and elements. 

Scrolling her beautiful Instagram feed, it’s clear that she puts much thought and time into composition and design, the use of color and shape, and the progression of images on a page. She has a great and rare instinct for both curating and creating.

We’re proud that she’ll continue to cultivate and showcase her artistry at one of the world’s very best institutes for creative talents.

Congratulations, Mallory, and best wishes!

#CypressCollege #Photography #Art

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Mallory Roa. Photo Credit: David Dugoncevic
Talented photographer-artist, Mallory Roa. Photo Credit: David Dugoncevic (who will also attend SFAI on merit scholarship)

Mallory Roa | Artist Statement:

I am a photographer from Southern California. I have also lived in Rome, Italy for a semester. Traveling has brought awareness into my life. I work primarily in the studio and extremely manipulated and controlled environments. I find comfort in control, predictability, and symmetry. My portraits are printed in large scale to aid in creating an intimate, intense, and overwhelming experience. The broad themes in my work are identity, intimacy, and socio-etc commentary. I am also interested in the body image, gender identity, sexuality, virginity, finality of death, introversion, depression and anxiety, HSP tendencies, aphasia, and interpersonal connections. I look forward to living in a place where I am free to pose questions like “How can I be a feminist if I am rejecting my gender?”

My practice is centered on interpersonal relationships and how we view, interact, and stereotype those around us. Social justice is a major theme in my work. “The Generations” are sets of portraits of generational gaps in a family’s lineage. It comments on the physical aspects we pass along and genetics, as well as formality and honor. “Smokin’ Lesbians” is a light-hearted project with a play on words focusing on a group of people who can feel extremely objectified in public. Inspired by Richard Avedon, “Private Moment. Public Space.” is a street portrait exploration of first impressions and the image I impose on a subject. One of my older works, ”Match The Couples” was a survey and study conducted in my local art program that asked survey-takers to blindly match portraits of people into coupled pairs. Given no information, the intent was to discover how prevalent heterosexism, a system of attitudes and biases in favor of the opposite-sex sexuality and relationships, is in a small part of our society. Conducted in the art department, I expect that the results are still generous at 17.9% of participants choosing two heterosexual and two homosexual couples.

I am drawn to artists that explore the human condition. I am drawn to someone oppressed by societal standards in Catherine Opie’s “Self-Portrait,” people designated different at birth in Martin Schoeller’s “Identical,” or those governed by life choices in Rineke Dijkstra’s “Mothers” and “Bull Fighters”. Richard Avedon’s “In the American West” and Diane Arbus’ practices have given me the appreciation of people, their diversity, and rituals of portraiture. Other influences stem from artist’s genuine and pure curiosity of the seemingly mundane, such as John Divola’s “As Far As I Could Get” and Bernd and Hilla Becher’s “Water Towers”.

We plan to profile Mallory’s extraordinary portfolio (and other standout student artists, alums and faculty) with a rolling video narrative come summer. Stay tuned.
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Cypress College is recognized as one of California’s top community colleges. Recent accolades include:

– #1 in the U.S. | Top Toyota T-TEN Auto-Tech Program in the Nation.

– #2 in C.A. | Top Two ESL & Basic Skills English Programs in California.

– #3 in C.A. | Ranked as a Top Three California Community College (Schools.com)

– #3 in the Region | Ranked Top Three in Greater Los Angeles & Orange County for Student Transfer and Graduation Rates (EdSmart.org)

– 15 of 113 | California Community Colleges piloting a Bachelor’s Degree (Mortuary Science)

– #17 in the U.S. | National Ranking on MTV-U’s website “Rate-My-Professor”

– Top National Licensure Exam Pass Rates | Perfect state licensure pass rates for students in the following programs: Dental Hygiene, Diagnostic Medical Sonography: Abdomen; Diagnostic Medical Sonography (OB/Gyn); Diagnostic Medical Sonography: Physics; and Mortuary Science: Sciences. 90+% state licensure exam pass rates for students in the following programs: Dental Assisting; Mortuary Science (Arts); Radiology Technology. And85%+ state licensure rates for students in: Health Information Technology; Nursing; and Psychiatric Technology.

– 2/3ds of the Class of 2015 qualified for transfer to a UC or CSU institution.

– 76 Orange Empire Athletics Conference Titles

– 25 California Community College Athletic Association State Championship Titles

 

#CYProud: Mike Alcoran (Artist Profile)

Mike Alcoran
Mike Alcoran, Cypress College Class of 2016, Cal State University, Fullerton transfer.

As part of our ongoing student profile series, we are pleased to highlight Class of 2016 graduate Mike Alcoran, a prolific, award-winning filmmaker, photographer, and graphic artist, who will continue his digital cinema studies at Cal State University, Fullerton in the fall.

Mike is a tremendous talent. Through his art, he is able to make even the simplest of subjects wondrous. His signature style is infused with a flair and technique that brings surprising sensibility – beauty and intimacy – to the ordinary. Working primarily with a handheld camera, he details elements, people and places in their natural, often overlooked states. His films, mostly mood documentaries and travel logs, are beautiful, imaginative captures of the world in which we live. It’s a pleasure to view life through his perceptive lens.

A native of our local community (Cypress/Buena Park), Alcoran comes from a family of artistic talent – both his brother and cousins are skilled in the graphic arts and have a love of architecture. Mike began to explore his interest in design and photography as a student at John F. Kennedy High School. After graduation, the proximity and affordability of Cypress made college a possibility for him. Under the mentorship of several professors here at Cypress, Mike fine-tuned his natural gifts and found his true calling: film. He singles out Ian Holmes for help in the development of his craft, and Ed Giardiana for artistic inspiration and transfer direction.

In his relatively short span of cinema production, Mike has produced an impressive body of quality work. He has been a videographer for LA area hip-hop artist Transcendent, for Cypress College (beautifully covering two Student Art Exhibitions – 2013 & 2014, STEM, and other areas), and has done a number of short films for local businesses. Exploring his primary interests, he has completed several travel documentaries, including Through the Rocky Southwest (shown at the Cypress College film festival this year), Through the Pacific Northwest, and Oceanside Dreams. His first narrative feature, Strawberry Lemonade (an experimental horror film) premiered at the Emerging Artist Society’s First Annual Film Festival at Cal State Fullerton

Talent aside, Mike is just a really nice guy. Humble. It took a bit of Internet searching to uncover that he is extremely well prized, not only in film but in several other artistic areas as well. His photograph Five More Minutes, Please won a national award from the Canon Imagination Project, and several others have been picked up by Getty Images.

Five More Minutes, Please:

Five More Minutes, Please.

Through the Rocky Southwest

At some point in the future, after finishing at Cal State Fullerton, he plans to venture into the world of narrative filmmaking. Long-term, he aspires to join one of the major film studios like Disney or Dreamworks.

For more from one of our very favorite students, check out Mike’s talent via his website, Twitter , Instagram, and Vimeo page.

Congratulations, Mike, on all your success! We look forward to seeing more of your talent in years to come.

#CypressCollege #DigitalCinema #Photography #Arts

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Cypress College is recognized as one of California’s top community colleges. Recent accolades include:

– #1 in the U.S. | Top Toyota T-TEN Auto-Tech Program in the Nation.

– #2 in C.A. | Top Two ESL & Basic Skills English Programs in California.

– #3 in C.A. | Ranked as a Top Three California Community College (Schools.com)

– #3 in the Region | Ranked Top Three in Greater Los Angeles & Orange County for Student Transfer and Graduation Rates (EdSmart.org)

– 15 of 113 | California Community Colleges piloting a Bachelor’s Degree (Mortuary Science)

– #17 in the U.S. | National Ranking on MTV-U’s website “Rate-My-Professor”

– Top National Licensure Exam Pass Rates | Perfect state licensure pass rates for students in the following programs: Dental Hygiene, Diagnostic Medical Sonography: Abdomen; Diagnostic Medical Sonography (OB/Gyn); Diagnostic Medical Sonography: Physics; and Mortuary Science: Sciences. 90+% state licensure exam pass rates for students in the following programs: Dental Assisting; Mortuary Science (Arts); Radiology Technology. And85%+ state licensure rates for students in: Health Information Technology; Nursing; and Psychiatric Technology.

– 2/3ds of the Class of 2015 qualified for transfer to a UC or CSU institution.

– 76 Orange Empire Athletics Conference Titles

– 25 California Community College Athletic Association State Championship Titles

 

Holocaust Survivors, Unique Portrait Collection by Photography Professor Highlight First Yom HaShoah Event

NOTE: View and download as a pdf file

Speakers

Multiple Holocaust survivors and a pair of children of survivors highlight Cypress College’s first-ever Yom HaShoah event on May 4. The event is inspired by Cypress College Photography Professor Clifford Lester’s unique portraits taken of survivors. The portraits will be on display during the event and Cypress College students will perform an interpretative routine in reaction to the photographs. More than 400 people are expected to attend.

The remembrance takes place adjacent to the campus pond on Wednesday, May 4, 2016, from 7-8:30 p.m. Admission and parking are free and the event is open to the public. Cypress College, located at 9200 Valley View Street in Cypress, CA.

Holocaust survivors Dr. Jacob Eisenbach and Natalie Weinstein-Gold are the featured speakers. They are among the five or six survivors of the Nazi Holocaust who will be honored at the event, along with two children of survivors.

Cypress College students, college employees, and community members will also participate. These include History Professor David Halahmy, representatives for the German Consulate in Los Angeles and Rabbi Heidi Cohen of Santa Ana’s Temple Beth Sholom.

Cypress College’s tribute is also centered around an exhibition of haunting and spirit-filled portraits of survivors photographed by Cypress College Professor Clifford Lester. Professor Lester’s portraits of Holocaust survivors were exhibited during an all-faculty meeting at the start of the school year. The work was so well received the photographs are now displayed in the campus Student Center. At one time facing extermination, these survivors now express determination to keep the memories of the Holocaust alive. The portraits create an enduring voice for the survivors, a voice that speaks out against hatred, injustice, stereotypes, and anti-Semitism. Among Cypress College’s core values is “inclusiveness” and the college’s Diversity Committee agreed to hold a Yom HaShoah event in this spirit.

Yom HaShoah is the annual Holocaust Remembrance Day for the six million Jews who were murdered by the Nazis during World War II. This year it begins at sunset on Wednesday, May 4 and concludes at sunset on May 5. Cypress College pays respect with a ceremony that promotes acceptance and inclusion, diversity and justice, no matter one’s race, religion, color or creed. This message will be accentuated by Cypress College Dance students, who will present an original interpretive performance interconnected with music and photography.

The lighting of memorial candles is part of the Yom HaShoah tradition. Four of the Holocaust survivors and two children of survivors — including a Cypress College employee — will represent the six million Jews who were murdered during the Holocaust. Lit candles will then be floated onto the campus pond.

Confirmed Holocaust survivors participating in Cypress College’s Yom HaShoah event are: Dr. Eisenbach, Ms. Weinstein-Gold, Sarah Schweitz, and Harry Lester; the children of survivors are David Langer (representing his father Nathan and mother Mira), and Rick Van Beynen (representing his mother Rachel). Biographies of the participants are attached below.

Biographies of Holocaust Survivors and Offspring Participating:

Dr. Jacob Eisenbach — Holocaust Survivor

At 93 years old, Dr. Eisenbach recently retired from dentistry after practicing for 60 years. Dr. Eisenbach and his family lived in Lodz, Poland. Before the war broke out, Dr. Eisenbach lost his mother to illness. After Poland was invaded, he lost his sister, father and youngest brother at the hands of the Nazis.  Despite all of these losses, Dr. Eisenbach retains his strength by remembering his parents’ words, telling him “to never lose hope for a better tomorrow.” As a result, Dr. Eisenbach is quick to state he has never lost his faith in humanity.

Natalie Weinstein-Gold — Holocaust Survivor

At the age of 18 months, Natalie Weinstein-Gold was left on the doorstep of a lawyer’s house with a cross around her neck in the hope that this would save her life during the war. Four and a half years later, she was found at a convent by her father, a Warsaw Ghetto fighter named Leon Weinstein. Ms. Weinstein-Gold, now a psychologist, shared many Sabbath dinners with her father after coming to the United States in 1952.

Sarah Schweitz — Holocaust Survivor

Sarah Schweitz was born in Trikala, Greece. When her father was captured during World War II by the Germans, he was threatened with his death by the German Commandant of a Detention Camp. When asked why his life should be spared, he showed the Nazi a picture of his 31/2 year old daughter and said she was waiting for him to come home. Reminded of his own daughter, the German spared Sarah’s father’s life and let him go.

Harry Lester — Holocaust Survivor

Harry Lester, father of Cypress College Photography Professor Clifford Lester, was formerly named Horst Littwitz, until coming to the United States on the Italian Ship Vulcania. Faced with harassment from the Nazi’s as early as 1933, Mr. Lester survived the first part of the war despite events such as the trashing of the synagogue where his bar mitzvah was to be held. Mr. Lester migrated to the U.S. with his mother in November of 1939. His father Max  was left behind because of U.S. quotas limiting immigration from Poland. Fortunately, they were joined by his father a year later.

David Langer — Son of Holocaust Survivors

David Langer is the son of Nathan and Mira, both Holocaust survivors. They immigrated to the U.S. after World War II. Nathan, who grew up in a family of wine makers, later founded Langer Juice Company. A native of Krakow, Poland, he was the only survivor of his immediate family.

Rick  Van Beynen — Son of Holocaust Survivor

Rick Van Beynen, a Cypress College employee, is the son of Rachel (Kops) Van Beynen, who was born in Amsterdam in 1926. Ms. Van Beynen was the first person in the family to be taken by the German SS at age 16. She ultimately survived 10 concentration camps — including a death march from Auschwitz, when the Germans knew they were losing the war. After the war, she learned that her mother, father, sister, brother, grandparents and 53 other family members had been exterminated.

About Cypress College:

Cypress College has motivated the minds of students since 1966. For nearly a half-million people — including actors, athletes, doctors, executives, mechanics, nurses and teachers — Cypress College has been a springboard to their dreams. For some, Cypress College is the ticket into their university of choice. For others it provides essential training for a rewarding career. Just one Cypress College class is often all it takes to provide cutting-edge skills that lead to a promotion or a new job.

Cypress College’s 16,000 students and its highly qualified teaching faculty are proud of its many excellent academic and vocational programs. Cypress College offers 56 university-transfer majors, 164 career-certificate programs, and degrees in 71 areas of study. The College’s traditional semesters begin in January and September, while short-term courses start throughout the year. A Cypress College education costs $46 per unit — $138 for a typical, full-credit class — California’s lowest higher education tuition. Financial aid and scholarships are also available to qualifying students.

Cypress College is one of three campuses in the North Orange County Community College District and a member of the 110-campus California Community College System. The college primarily serves the cities of Anaheim, Buena Park, Cypress, Garden Grove, La Palma, Los Alamitos, Seal Beach and Stanton. Dr. Bob Simpson is the president.

Located at 9200 Valley View Street in Cypress, the College is easily accessible from several Southern California freeways, including the 5, 91, 605, 22 and 405. The campus is just a stone’s-throw from Downtown Disney and Knott’s Berry Farm.

More information about Cypress College is available by calling (714) 484-7000 or by visiting the campus Web site at http://www.CypressCollege.edu.