Connie Moore, Staff Reporter

Last week the spoof-like play “Spamalot” premiered in the Walla Walla community, and Whitman student Oriana Golden was chosen to choreograph the production. In light of this accomplishment, The Wire sat down with Golden to learn more about her involvement in the play and what she gained from the experience.

The Wire: What is Spamalot about?

Oriana Golden: “Spamalot” is a musical “lovingly ripped off” from the film “Monty Python and the Holy Grail.” It centers around King Arthur and his knights as they venture on their quest for the Holy Grail. With book and lyrics written by Eric Idle himself, the show is fantastically funny and full of jokes, gags and references to the original film and the British sketch comedy group “Monty Python.”

The Wire: How did you get involved with an off-campus theater production? What is similar and different about theater on and of campus?

Golden: I grew up in Walla Walla, so I’m no stranger to the local theatre community. Off-campus productions I most recently performed in are “Cabaret” and “9 to 5″ at the Gesa Power House Theatre. An acquaintance of mine who knew of my dance experience recommended me for the position of choreographer to the director of “Spamalot.” I’ve also been involved in several Whitman productions both as an actor (in “Mr. Kolpert” and the One Act Play Festival) and as assistant choreographer (for “Spring Awakening”). Both on and off-campus theatre productions have been a lot of fun to participate in, and the people I’ve worked with in both settings are incredible. I would say the level of professionalism at Whitman is higher than that of the community theatre setting, which is more relaxed. You are also exposed to a wider range of people and different viewpoints in community theatre, as opposed to the primarily Whitman students, faculty and staff involved in on-campus productions. Both environments are wonderful to work, learn and grow in for different reasons.

The Wire: What was your role as choreographer? Did you also act in the play?

Golden: I did not act in this play due to time constraints, but I played a very involved role as choreographer. I choreographed and set all of the dance numbers on the actors, corrected and cleaned them and gave notes on movement and steps.

The Wire: What was your favorite dance you choreographed?

Golden: My favorite dance to choreograph was by far “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life.” It is such an iconic song and it fills the audience with a sense of happiness, warmth and nostalgia. Additionally, all of the actors get to dance with umbrellas in this number, which allowed for some fun and flashy moves.

The Wire: Are there many Whitman students in the play?

Golden: Dan Lovato, a recent Whitman graduate with a BA in Theatre, plays several fantastic roles in the show. Additionally, Whitman alum Julie Caton costumed the show.

The Wire: Were you happy with how the play turned out?

Golden: I am very happy with how the play turned out. Everyone involved put so much heart and hard work into the show, and it paid off. The audience reactions especially make everything worth it. There was seldom a moment without laughter on opening night. It is truly a joy to watch, and seeing my own choreography being performed is a magical experience, and one I’ll never forget.