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Clarkston grad returns as theater advisor | Arts & Culture

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Clarkston grad returns as theater advisor
Clarkston grad returns as theater advisor

A Clarkston High School graduate with a passion for theatre has returned to his alma mater as the new theatre advisor. Kyle Rustebakke, who graduated from CHS in 2007, will be responsible for the school's theatre productions - including this week's production of "Almost, Maine" - as well as a spring senior showcase.

"The theatre advisor position was part of Peter Torgerson's legacy for years until Janessa Klaveano took the reins last year. The position opened up at the top of this school year and I jumped on the opportunity!" Rustebakke was an active member in the music and theatre programs while at CHS, and auditioned for shows at the Lewiston Civic Theatre. He attended the University of Idaho and earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Musical Theatre in the spring of 2012.

Rustebakke says they are making big changes this year in the theatre department with a large focus on what goes into acting. "A lot of people don't realize that acting involves countless hours of rigorous rehearsal, training and studying and that there are many different theories and theorists all trying to reach the most natural acting style," he says.

"The students and I have been working on the Stanislavski method of acting through exercises geared towards communicating and reaching objectives, or getting what you want. Stanislavski was a Russian actor/director/teacher that believed acting should be no different than regular conversation and sought to rid the theatre of "bad acting" with huge emphasis placed on natural and regular conversations," Rustebakke says.

Another change this year is that the whole production is student-designed, according to Rustebakke. "Theatre is such a collaborative experience with costume design, set design, lights, sound, props, etc. There is a place for every interest in the theatre and creativity to foster in many areas. The productions will run as a professional theatre would."

Rustebakke's hope for the future is to build a strong and recognizable theatre program that will send students to higher education having studied tried and true practices of professional theatre. "I love acting, the rush of the stage and the shared energy with the audience. I am also coming to love the other side of things. Watching the students grow and watching their work transform has been inspiring beyond belief," Rustebakke says, adding that while directing "Almost, Maine," they are simultaneously starting work toward the Winter Musical.

Rustebakke is also busy outside of the CHS theatre. "Before rehearsals I am at Rustebakke Vet Clinic at the front desk. After rehearsals I am working with Fred Scheibe, Sharon Warner and Alaina Swearingen prepping to choreograph "Dirty Rotten Scoundrels" at the Lewiston Civic Theatre. I don't sleep much, but I wouldn't want it any other way."

"Almost, Maine," will run this week starting Thursday and continuing through Saturday in the Clarkston High School Auditorium. It is a set of short plays by John Cariani, according to Rustebakke. "Set in the fictional town of Almost, the audience is shown a realistic small northern town on a cold winter night, with just a little magic thrown in. Each scene deals with love in one way or another whether that is falling in love, out of love, or what happens when that love changes or shifts."

Tickets are $5.00 for students and seniors and $10.00 for adults.

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