It is not often that students have the opportunity to direct a play, managing every detail of the plans and showcasing their hard work and knowledge during a performance. For students in the theater class Directing 144, however, directing a play is just a part of the curriculum.
Under the mentorship of professor Pam Pepper, students are given the chance to learn by experiencing the work of directing a one-act play. With this assignment comes the responsibility of holding auditions to find the right fit for roles, collecting supplies and putting on the show.
“The students enrolled engage in detailed text research and analysis, learning and testing staging techniques, and working with actors and designers,” Pepper said. “They learn leadership, assuming responsibility, collaboration, critical thinking, problem-solving and flexibility. The skills that they learn are skills that will serve them well in everything they do.”
Lindsay Dennison, ’16, chose a play titled, “The Problem” by A.R. Gurney Jr.
“I must have read about 30 plays to find the one I wanted to do,” Dennison said. “Then, we had to get it approved by our professor. After that, we have to analyze everything about it, from the language it uses, to the plot analysis, to in-depth looks at the characters.”
After each student’s show choice is approved, the students brainstorm how they want their play to come alive. This means envisioning the set and what type of props are necessary for the show. The director also holds auditions to determine the cast. Anyone is encouraged to audition and no experience is required.
“I hope to see some eager students who can help expand the reach of the theater department,” said Kayla E. Loree, ’15, who chose to direct “Talk to Me Like the Rain and Let Me Listen” by Tennessee Williams.
Students are also promoting auditions through social media. Information about each show is available on Facebook.
Through the entire process, Pepper said she acts more as a mentor and allows students to take the reins when it comes to this assignment.
“She has taught us so much, and there is no way any of us directors could have handled directing an entire play without her,” Dennison said.
The performance dates are May 1-3. The one-act plays will be performed in the Fowler Black Box Theater in the Zoellner Arts Center.
“The whole thing seems exciting right now, but I think getting to try my own ideas for the show is the most exciting thing for me,” Adrienne Chodnowsky, ’17, said. She is putting on the play, “Airborne” by Laura Jacqmin.
Auditions will be held Tuesday from 5:30-7:30 p.m. and Wednesday from 7:30 – 9:30 p.m. at Fowler Black Box Theater. The sign up sheet to audition is on the call board outside of Zoellner 319, and reading copies of the script are available in the department of theatre office.
“I just hope people enjoy the show, and it’s something the other directors and I can be proud of,” Chodnowsky said.