UMF Students and Professor Practice Performing Arts and Playwriting

By Emily Mokler – Contributing Writer

   A dead man rises from the stage and shuffles quietly to the silver curtain behind him as the audience chuckles during a ten-minute play put on by volunteers at the Thread Theater last Wednesday evening.

   The event is held monthly in a renovated hall within a former French-Catholic church in Lewiston, ME. The Thread Theater aims to engage with anyone interested in writing, performing or watching the performances.

   Several UMF students and professor Bill Mesce attended the event, their scripts ready to be performed by volunteers from the audience. The students and Mesce also acted for other plays, gaining a clearer understanding about what it’s like to perform an original work live, as well as what a live audience responds to.

   Carrie Close, a junior Creative Writing major, said, “I learn something every time I go: what works, what doesn’t, how to write better dialogue.”

   The theme of the event was “In the Heat of the Moment.” Some playwrights made sure to have a character drop that title, while others focused on what that theme meant to them. Close’s play “Not One” had two couples go camping while trying to hide their past indiscretions.

   Close said, “I learn about my characters by the way people portray them, that lets me know whether I did a good job of writing my characters or not.”

    Mesce’s play “Billy and John” was about two men who bicker with each other while giving directions to a lost couple. The audience voted the play the best of the night. “I got lucky with the actors I got,” Mesce said. “They worked so well together.”

   The audience became a character in the way it reacted, sometimes roaring with laughter, other times a chuckle, emboldening the actors in the process. Members shouted excitedly for their friends when they were called to perform, and recited the funniest line while high-fiving them on their return to their seat.

    Cameron Gelder’s play about his interpretation of the afterlife ran over ten minutes, which has never happened to him in his two-and-a-half years of attending the Thread Theater. “I told the actors to speak clearly, but they took that as speaking slowly,” Gelder lamented.

   Opposite of the entrance is the stage, brightly lit with a simple table and five chairs. The arrangement of these props changed with each play and cast of characters, from use as an impromptu car to a bed holding quarreling lovers.

    The admission fee was $5 and the bar was stocked with beer and mixed drinks that the audience made use of throughout the evening.

   The next event, with the theme “Stuffed,” will be held November 15th. For more information, search “Thread Theater” on Facebook.


Eric Mina Hypnotizes UMF Students in Mesmerizing Show

By Elina Shapiro – Contributing Writer

   Eric Mina, a life coach and certified hypnotherapist from Scranton, PA, hypnotized ten students at UMF during his show on Friday the 13th.

   At the start of the show, Mina invited anyone in the audience to come on stage to be hypnotized, to which students responded eagerly. “[Hypnosis is] being in subconscious mind which is highly suggestible,” said Mina. “You inlay suggestions to help people or have fun on stage.”

   Throughout the show, volunteers’ bodies went completely limp, and they believed exactly what they were told. When Mina said he was blue, participants reported that they saw a blue man. They made comments that generated roaring laughter in the audience such as, “You should probably see a doctor!” and “Are your parents blue?”

   When Mina said that he was invisible and carried a shoe across stage, participants screamed in horror, believing that the shoe was floating. When they were told they were dogs, they followed Mina’s orders and rolled over, sat, barked and waited for a treat. When participants were told that an audience member was Channing Tatum, they dangled off the stage trying to shake his hand.

  Although the experiences were dictated by Mina, they felt like reality to those who were hypnotized, even though the students were just on the stage of Nordica Auditorium.

   “The surrounding experience was real; I was really a dog, and I was really a cat, and a dancer, and a model,” said Cody Curtis, a freshman and Visual Arts and Graphic Arts Major with a concentration in Theater at UMF. “It was really weird. I saw the cameras, and it was as if people were coming out with cameras and there were ones coming from above that looked like they were dangling and moving, and I was on stage.”

   Some students found the experience to be similar to dreaming. “I wasn’t actually sleeping, but I felt completely relaxed,” said Sarah Jenkins, a senior and Elementary Education major at UMF. “My eyes were heavy, my breathing changed, that was really weird.”

   Time was distorted in the minds of the hypnotized. “It felt like it happened for maybe five minutes, but it was an hour and a half,” said Jenkins, laughing. Students reported that they knew the audience was there, and they knew what they were doing was strange, but they had no control. “I could see [the audience] but I didn’t care, and usually I totally would have cared,” said Jenkins.

   Mina ended the show by having those who were hypnotized “see” themselves in a film about their future life in which they make better choices and feel more confident about themselves.

   “I became what I want to call myself a ‘Dream Achievement Specialist,’” said Mina. “I want to help people achieve their dreams and goals in their lives and get over their biggest hurdles so they can have the life they’ve always wanted.”

   In addition to leaving the stage with a new life vision in mind, students felt peaceful.

   “It’s very relaxing, you feel wonderful after. Shaky, tingly, but you feel wonderful,” said Curtis. “I felt very relaxed, I felt like I just slept for like a day. But at the same time, I am kind of tired.”

   Mina loves his job as a hypnotherapist because he can do performances on stage, where he feels at home. “What I love about hypnosis on stage is that I get to show [how the mind works] in a very fun and interesting way, it makes people a lot more interested in listening to the information,” said Mina. “I love entertaining and I love inspiring people and seeing that their minds are more powerful than they realize.”



Perfecting the Balancing Act: Kayla Tremblay

Perfecting the Balancing Act: Kayla Tremblay

By Leah Boucher -Staff Reporter


    The sun shone on a Friday morning through the basement windows of Dakin into the dance studio, where red and dark blue costumes reflected their sparkles onto the walls. Three mirrors placed together on the front wall captured a choreographer in leggings and a comfy green sweatshirt mouthing the count of the music while the floor vibrated with the bass of hip-hop music.

    Kayla Tremblay, the dancer in front of these mirrors, can be found here for at least a half an hour each Sunday through Friday dancing in eight different routines for Bust-A-Move Beavers (BAM), the dance club on campus she has been a member of since the first semester of her freshman year.

Kayla Trembley, senior Elementary Education Major at UMF
(Photo courtesy of Kayla Trembley)

    Tremblay, a senior Elementary Education major, smiled and leaned back on the wall filled with old dance showcase posters from the 90’s as she thought back to her previous years of dance. “This will be my 19th year of dance, and I started dancing at Steppin’ Out Dance Centre in Saco, Maine, at the age of three,” said Tremblay. “It has always been a way for me to let my stress from work and school out.”

    Her motivation to continue dance past high school even led her to participate in a clogging competition with Danica Lamontagne, another BAM member, this past spring, where they placed first. “This was the first competition that I signed up to do without being part of a competition team,” said Tremblay, “and being able to make the choice by myself was a big step of independence and confidence for me.”

    This stress relief activity is helpful now more than ever, as Tremblay has been a member of BAM, Rotaract, the Rugby Team, French Club and chair of the Spring Fling committee, as well as Alpha Lambda Delta, in which she holds the position of President. She also just finished mailing out cards for “Brocktober” at UMF, where people write and decorate Halloween cards for a terminally ill boy named Brock in Biddeford. Her natural leadership abilities led her to organize this event all on her own while encouraging the clubs she is a part of to contribute, as well.

   “When I first heard about Brock, I knew I wanted to get involved,” said Tremblay. “I knew if I reached out to other UMF clubs and organizations, they could help to make this event bigger than just myself writing several cards to him.”

    Tremblay wiped off her forehead as if to get rid of the sweat from just thinking about her hectic daily schedule. “I work about 15 hours a week in the Partnership for Civic Advancement office, and with a full load of classes, plus all my clubs, sometimes I am forced to eat dinner on the run or do my homework in 15-minute increments,” said Tremblay.

    Reflecting back on her four years in BAM, Tremblay’s face became solemn, but she then quickly switched back to her usual radiant grin. “It’s bittersweet knowing that I’m leaving such a supportive group when I graduate this May,” she said. “Everyone is willing to block out everything else that they may have going on to be an active part of rehearsal, but if someone does need support, there’s 41 other people to listen and help–it’s the perfect family network to be a part of.”