Renowned Director Leads Play at CSN

By Markel Collins

Famous Director David Fofi taught College of Southern Nevada theater students this semester as they launched the production of “The Idea Man.”

Fofi and a group of artists founded Elephant Theatre Company in Los Angeles where he was artistic director from 1997 to 2015, according to the playbill. Fofi along with Playwright Kevin King came together to bring the play to life.

Although “The Idea Man” first launched with its world premier in 2009, the story is still relevant today. The plot centers on hardworking factory workers who risk having their jobs outsourced oversees. Fofi said, “I thought it would be great to bring it back because it’s as timely as ever with what’s happening economically and in American industry.”

Having worked mainly with professional actors in the past, Fofi mentioned he was starting to get burned out working in LA and he wanted a fresh new experience working with students. That’s what brought him to CSN. It was an opportunity to learn as well as to teach.

Fofi said, “Absolutely it’s a different feeling. It’s hard to describe from when you do it professionally in LA and New York. I felt like I had a lot to pass on in teaching them something and at the same time I am always learning and learning what their families are going through.”

CSN student actor Marvin Tapper shared how playwright King was in attendance at the opening night show.

King won the Ovation Awards in 2010 for playwriting for an original play, according to LA Stage Alliance, a non-profit arts service organization.

Tapper said, “The actual writer of the play [Kevin King] was in the audience and had really nice things to say about how I portrayed his character. It was really nice getting to speak to him from the perspective of the person who wrote it. We got to ask him some questions about what were his inspirations for making the play. He said that he worked in a factory and he saw it happen.”

Tapper and the other students really enjoyed meeting King and felt honored he attended their production.

Throughout the process of acting in this play Tapper reflected on his overall outlook on stage acting. Initially he had no interest in it but now he loves it, though it’s difficult and time consuming.

“We as student actors are working really hard to get to our goals,” CSN student actor Kalani Johnson said. “It takes months to prepare for these things. You’re making commitments.”

Fofi brought in a famous television actor Shane Cullum to play the leading role and to work with the students. “It was great to work with some of the mature guys and some of the younger students and see what they bring to it,” Fofi said. The students embodied the characters and committed to the plot. The way they enjoyed it made me feel a lot younger and rejuvenated, he added.

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