By Tina Kelso

JU Communications Sophomore
Ascending the elevator of a historic downtown Jacksonville skyscraper, those attending the recent JU College of Fine Arts collaborative production “Generations” were taken from reality into a carefully crafted narrative world.
Held March 6, 7 and 8 inside a two-story labyrinth of interactive scenery at 121 W. Forsyth St., the show used a concoction of theater, film, dance, opera, music and photography to immerse the audience into the lives of three generations of the fictional Krol family, beginning in 1950s America and ending in present day.
CFA collaborative5.JPG“We worked in tandem really well to create an image,” said Lana Carroll Heylock, JU assistant professor of dance. “We really wanted to take the audience into a world.”
At the event, held to help celebrate the CFA’s 50th anniversary, spectators were greeted by the Generations mistress of ceremonies, played by JU senior and dance major DeNaya Wilkerson. Steering guests through the scenery, she signaled transitions between eras and acts as she fittingly refashioned her attitude and attire.
“There was something unexpected at every turn,” said Erich Freiberger, JU professor of philosophy who attended the show. “You never really knew what you were going to get.”CFA collaborative1.JPG
The first generation, “The Planters” tale, set the pace with simple love story told in theater and dance. Isaac Krol, played by senior Alejandro Rodriquez, immigrates to America, where he falls in love with Mary, played by senior Jet Thomas, and works to start a small paper business, which later becomes very prosperous.
The medium of film took over to tell the story of generation two, “The Growers,” with a melancholy tone. As the audience surrounded a screen in a dimly lit room projecting Isaac’s funeral, cast members passed out memorial brochures and welcomed them to the funeral.
Isaac’s two sons, Daniel, played by senior Nick Boucher, and David, played by senior Ciaran Sontag, then take over the business, until an ill-fated love triangle results in one brother killing the other.
The third generation, “The Harvesters,” centered on millennial and sole heiress to the company Theresa Krol, played by senior Caitlin Cavanagh. Trapped in the life given to her, this account is told through a series of dances in which Theresa begins literally chained to her desk in a room with walls and a stage coated in paper. Unable to make real connections, she and her fellow millennials dance with smartphones in hand until ultimately breaking away.
Joshua Abbott, JU sophomore and dance major, performed in the third generation.
“The concept behind it really shows that life is just so much more than work,” Abbott said. “I mean, we say that, but it really opened my eyes to be part of this project.”
“Generations” was organized through weeks of planning and preparation among students and faculty in the Fine Arts departments.
“You have to be a collaborator in today’s world to succeed in the arts,” Heylock said. “The more you know about the other art forms, the better of an artist you will be because it is all about communication and how we communicate with one another.”
For more about the Jacksonville University College of Fine Arts, visit www.ju.edu/cfa.