‘Mulan’ chosen to perform at theater festival in Arizona

February 8, 2017

The theater department at Fresno City College is packing their bags and hitting the road this February for the Kennedy Center American Theater Festival in Mesa, Arizona.

They will be performing the play “Mulan and the Battle on Black Mountain” at Mesa Community College.

FCC’s “Mulan” is one of five plays chosen from hundreds of entries.  

The play is written by FCC theater instructor, Charles Erven and is directed by Debra Erven, another longtime theater instructor.

Based off an old Chinese poem, the story is about a courageous girl named Hua Mulan. Who, disguised as a man, goes to fight for the Chinese army, in place of her father.

She fights in the battle of black mountain for 10 years. After the battle, her identity is revealed, and she is put on trial for treason. Through flashback sequences, Hua Mulan tries to prove her innocence to the emperor.

The theater department staged the play during the spring semester of 2016 and entered it in a contest for a possible performance at the KCATF.   In December, they found out that they were one of five plays invited to perform.

The cast and crew immediately started up rehearsal for “Mulan” again in preparation for the festival.

They will be performing two shows for “Mulan” in Arizona. Both are on Feb. 16, one matinee at 2 p.m., then another performance at 6:30 p.m.

The KCATF has festivals on regional and national levels. If the play wins on the regional level, the cast and crew will go on to the national KCATF festival and have an opportunity to show their play to people and schools throughout the United States, and have a chance to win awards and scholarships.

This is not the first time the FCC theater department has performed a play outside of the state or at this festival. Ten years ago, the department performed “Kenyan Sweet” also written by Charles Erven, in Cedar City, Utah.

Sabrina Lopez, second year actress, whose work includes “Detroit” and “Farragut North”, will be traveling to Arizona to perform “Mulan” as one of the lead roles.

She said she loves performing for FCC and is excited to perform “Mulan” once again. “I love this show. It is a surreal experience, and everyone in the cast is doing something completely different from any other play we have performed,” Lopez said.

Christopher Mayorga, the stage manager for “Teazers”, is new to the FCC Theater Department and will also be going to Arizona to perform this play.

“I’m excited to perform for people who have never seen this play before,” Mayorga said. “Practicing this play has been a lot of work, both physically and emotionally.”

Both actors hope to win the award to go to the nationals.

Debra Erven has worked with a number of people, like Jimmi Hao, dance instructor and John Cho, the fight choreographer, to make this play come alive on stage.  

“We wanted to cast as many ethnicities as we can for this production,” said Erven. “As a department, we try to reflect what our student body is and what they want to see on stage.”

The FCC Theater Department will be performing the production at FCC before traveling to Arizona. These benefit performances will help raise funds to travel to the festival. Two shows will be held, one on Feb. 10 at 7:30 p.m and another on Feb. 11 at 2:00 p.m. Tickets are $15 each.

“We hope you come support our students and come to this show,” said Erven. “They have deserved the chance to experience this opportunity.”


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