By Evangeline Ciupek
Senior David Koontz has played the villain five times in theater productions on campus. However, he performed an original piece for the night of monologues, It Happens Every Spring: Scenes and Monologues about Baseball, Love & Birds Who Sing, Hey Ding A Ding Ding.
“It’s a cancer on today’s society,” Koontz said from the stage.
He spoke with intensity and severity about a pervasive force without naming it during the April 3 and 4 performances. Then he let the hammer fall.
His character both loves and hates the sport. His only other passion is a girl who had never come to his games. When she finally shows up, he hits a home run, and the ball hit her head. The monologue is based on a true story from Koontz’s days playing on a pee-wee baseball team.
“I’ve always been a writer …. Last year I wrote two of my monologues, and everybody thought they were real good,” he said.
Koontz wanted to “keep up the trend” of playing a villain, and did so with a monologue inspired by the Cuban-American musician, Voltaire.
“It’s called ‘When you’re Evil,’ and it’s actually a song …. So I modified it slightly to be kind of more of a spoken rhyme, and gave it a little jazz and tap motion. And I called it ‘The Villain’s Diatribe,’” Koontz said.
The audience laughed throughout his performance.
While Koontz would like to be the good guy sometime, he said making people laugh is more enjoyable.
“I love being the comic relief, too, because if you’re not going to be a villain, the next best lines to get are those of the comic relief, because you might like the hero, but you always remember the funny guy next to him.”
Elementary education major, Kathryn Groseclose, performed three monologues that night. On stage, she mused about the downward spiral society has taken since people have stopped wearing gloves, for the monologue “White Gloves” by Donna Daley and Julie Halston.
Performance studies major and theater minor, Megan Moore, played a teenage girl who believes that prom night will be her only shot at dancing with a boy in “Promedy,” by Wade Bradford. Moore is new to acting.
“It was a good experience. I’ve only been on stage twice …. I’d picked my minor before I even started acting on stage. I just thought it would be fun,” Moore said.
Communication major and film minor, Ashley Ramirez, performed a duet acting scene with Koontz from Neil Simon’s Rumors. She had debuted her talents in the play, 12 Angry Jurors.
Ramirez is the president of Alpha Psi Omega and is the director for this year’s production of Shakespeare Abridged, featuring David Koontz, Jon Stewart and Adrian Turner.
“It’s three actors trying to do (Shakespeare’s plays), but it’s like making jokes the entire time. They are not serious at all …. They have me laughing every time in practice.”
Ramirez had a challenge finding inspiration for her performance in Sleeping Beauty. The independent princess argues she shouldn’t be forced into marriage with the first guy who wakes her up from an enchanted sleep.
“I actually have never seen Sleeping Beauty. I watched it for the first time over the summer because my friend couldn’t believe I hadn’t watched it, but then I fell asleep because I was so tired.”
Director and adjunct professor of the College of Visual and Performing Arts, Michael Fox, has worked at UMHB since 1997. He sees his students grow by being onstage.
“I love their energy, love their enthusiasm. I truly have enjoyed the students. I’ve gotten to know them very well and to depend on them. I hate to see some of them go,” Fox said.
Hughes Recital Hall hosted sparse audiences at the free productions. Ramirez hopes the theater department’s hard work isn’t swept under the rug.
“We had a small crowd for night of monologues …. The first night we couldn’t really hear many people laughing, which it’s kind of nice to hear people laughing. It … gives you more energy, and it’s kind of like encouragement for you. So (I) definitely encourage people to come out and see our shows.”