Channeling Burdell: DramaTech Showcases a Variety of Talents
One of DramaTech’s most cherished traditions is the George P. Burdell Variety Hour. Since 1999, the annual performance has showcased students acting, singing, dancing, and everything in between. This year’s Variety Hour, which played to packed houses on November 20 and 21, was the first one in which auditions were open to the entire campus community, a change that resulted in a lineup of diverse, entertaining acts.
“Originally, the George P. Burdell Variety Hour was an in-house performance that was created by a director and centralized around a theme,” said Melissa Foulger, Ivan Allen College associate academic professional and DramaTech’s artistic director. “We decided to simplify the process, open it up to all of the campus and make it a true variety show.”
Spread among the show’s 21 acts were musical performances, slam poetry, reenactments of scenes from the movies Pirates of the Caribbean, High School Musical,and Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, tap and pole dance routines, a one-man rock opera about former Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee, and the debut of DramaTech’s neo-futurist troupe Three Walls No Blinds.
In addition, three ensemble numbers parodied songs from the musical The Book of Mormon, twisting the original lyrics to poke fun at the notion of engineers putting on a theatrical performance. Between acts, emcees Neeta Thawani and Mikael Bucknavage embarked on a Book of Mormon-esque mission to recruit Georgia Tech students for a fictional church based entirely on theatre.
As director of the Variety Hour, sophomore electrical engineering major Bryce Irvin enjoyed devising the show, writing the script, and teaching the actors music and choreography for the ensemble numbers.
“Variety shows often seem divided, each act separated from the show as a whole,” Irvin said. “I worked to create a story that would link all of the acts, and seeing that come together was very cool.”
Looking ahead, Irvin hopes the success of this year’s Variety Hour will help DramaTech attract its own new recruits.
“DramaTech always has open arms to both the students of Georgia Tech and the Atlanta area, and we are always encouraging new people to participate in whatever way they can,” Irvin said.