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'Crimes of the Heart' and Medieval Feast open at JC tonight

Under the direction of St. Paul senior David Kusterman, Beth Henley's "Crimes of the Heart" takes the stage in the DeNault Auditorium of the Reiland Fine Arts Center tonight at 7:30.

The story centers on three sisters from Mississippi who, each in her own way, face and attempt to solve personal struggles they face. Call the box office, log onto the college Web site or stop by the box office for tickets.

The art exhibited in the gallery shows some of the atmosphere for the college's Medieval Feast, which also takes place today.

It's an event that has students at Jamestown College clamoring to get an invite. A handful from off-campus have attended in the past and will again, but because it is a class event, performed for a limited audience, few get the experience of traveling back a thousand years to another time in a British castle, where the daughters of King James reign with aplomb and courtly crass.

Since last fall, students have been preparing the art wing of Reiland Fine Arts Center for this event. Food has been brought in from afar, prepared and will be served in rounds called "removes." These removes are complete meals with desserts and by the time the feast concludes will have numbered into at least three or four full meals (thus the term "feast.")

East-West art students have been making chain-mail armor, their own coats of arms and heraldry, a costume appropriate for the time (1066 to 1492), learned character roles that they each will play and then have a script that the chairman of the department wrote and directs, and they act, eat, entertain and learn on a stage in their classroom. Their audience is invited guests and because it is in a classroom, has to be limited in number.

Students invite their family members, teachers and friends, but a handful of dignitaries also get the occasional nod at the door, provided of course they are properly dressed and introduced. It is a typical feast, complete with tongue-in-cheek themes and verbal ribaldry.

It contrasts -- in extreme -- with a later event during April, a Japanese tea ceremony. Students in the class after midterm will be sewing kimonos, making tea bowls, carving chops, learning calligraphy and ikebana and how to conduct the ceremony. In comparison to the feast today, it will be pristine.

This is the sole experiential class of this nature on campus. It incorporates all the fine arts: art history, visual imagery, music, theater, dance and writing. It also includes learning time management and organizational skills. During the course, students research and give historic art presentations and learn how to make all the elements used in these two events. They experience all media taught at the department and become experienced in the media's time and usage.

If anyone has an item for this column please send information to Sharon Cox, PO Box 1559, Jamestown, ND 58402-1559.