By Erik Machuca
The tradition and communal service brings the East Los Angeles College Touring Theatre back this spring with an old-fashioned drama to perform at local senior centers.
Since 2003, ELAC Touring Theatre has provided students with performance experience and an opportunity to give back to the community.
Every year the show travels to elementary schools and senior centers in the area.
James Buglewicz, instructor of Theatre Arts and advisor of ELAC Society of Cinema Art, has been teaching theater at ELAC since the spring of 2002.
“The real purpose is to bring theater to underserved communities,” Buglewicz said.
Students take a production class and spend a lot of time rehearsing before going out on the road for six to eight weeks. Show times last between 35-40 minutes.
“We contact a lot of people. Every fall we perform for over 1000 elementary school kids,” Buglewicz said.
This upcoming spring, the touring theatre will perform during free lunch programs at local senior centers in the cities of Commerce, Bell and the Downtown Los Angeles area.
“We’ve always done comedy and this spring is a really broad comedy,” Buglewicz said.
ELAC touring theater also provides a great opportunity for extra training and performance experience.
Actors are involved immediately without having to wait to be casted for a show.
Buglewicz said that this is a great advantage for students since casting usually takes a while. The spring troupe will begin rehearsals on February 22.
“Anybody that participates is in. If you’re willing to put in the time you’re in,” Buglewicz said.
Buglewicz has taught college theatet since the early 90’s and has worked across the country and lived in a number of different places.
Having also taught elementary school, middle school and high school for various stints, Buglewicz said his passion is still teaching students at the college level because that is how he started.
“I ran a community theatre program in Tucson, Arizona for about five years while I was going to graduate school and that had a big influence on me,” Buglewicz said.
Buglewicz said it is a rewarding career with many opportunities for those interested in theatre arts.
“If you have experience in children’s theatre there is actually a lot of work available. You can get casted here, get your degree at a bigger school and then get out into the world,” Buglewicz said.
On the last day of finals, ELAC Touring Theatre will perform for its students at the Black Box Theatre in the Performing and Fine Arts Complex.