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For Drama Majors, Communication Is Key to Successful Senior Studios

For Drama Majors, Communication Key to Directing Successful Senior Studios


 

Good directing is all about effective communication, or so some senior drama majors have discovered this semester as they've worked on their flagship directorial productions: the senior studios. For four seniors, these plays represent months, and even years, of work and study, the culmination of their undergraduate careers and the masterpieces on which their final grades hinge. On May 1, the four-day run of the Spring 2014 senior studio plays begins.

Unlike the final projects and presentations of other majors, however, the drama majors must rely heavily on other people: their cast and their crew.

"Getting the result you want is all in how you word things," said Nick Catanese, BA '14, whose play is "Red Carnations" by Glenn Hughes. "With one of my actors, for example, I just finally got what I've been going for, and it turned out all I had to do was say something a little differently."

The directors agree that the other students working on their plays have been great.

"It's only my grade, not anyone else's," said Skyler Patton, BA '14. "But they've all given so much to it."

Patton, who is directing "Marriage Play" by Edward Albee, has also found that it's important to listen to one's cast and crew.

"You need to have the mindset that no one's ideas are more valid than anyone else's," Patton said. "You make the best discoveries when you let the creativity flow. That's the type of environment I've tried to have in rehearsals, where everyone feels comfortable sharing their ideas and working together to make something that's real and honest."

Directing isn't "one size fits all," though; each director's style and methods must be geared specifically toward their own play and cast.

"Sometimes I'll have a problem, and I'll talk to the other drama majors about it, but what works for their cast may not work for mine," Patton said.

For Catanese, the most rewarding part of the experience has been the increase in confidence it's given him.

"I don't get butterflies anymore," he said.

For Clarissa Jugo, BA '14, who is directing "Am I Blue" by Beth Henley, the best part is creating a world.

"What I really love is bringing the more minor characters, the ones without a backstory, to life," she said.

The fourth Spring 2014 director, Kelly Anderson, BA '14, is directing a play titled "These Heavenly Lines" that she herself adapted from Marlowe's "Dr. Faustus" and Shakespeare's "The Tempest."

Patton's and Jugo's plays will run together May 1 at 8 p.m., May 3 at 8 p.m. and May 4 at 2 p.m. Catanese's play will run with Anderson's May 2 at 8 p.m., May 3 at 2 p.m. and May 4 at 8 p.m.

Reserve free tickets online, by phone 972-721-5314 or by emailing boxoffice@udallas.edu.

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