By Kylie Madry It’s a radical idea: producing, directing and acting a full-length musical in just 24 hours. But that’s exactly what two organizations on campus – SMU Program Council and SMU Student Theatre (“SMUST”) – have done for five years now. “The fact that we’re able to pull it off is actually ridiculous,” joked Sam Weber (’18), a science triple major who was involved with 24 Hour Musical for all four years of his undergraduate experience. Other universities have 24-hour musicals of their own, but most are short, student-written acts with little choreography or costuming. SMU’s crew has pulled off major Broadway pieces like “Legally Blonde,” “Heathers” and “Chicago,” complete with dance numbers, full costume and hair design and a live orchestra. The idea came in the fall of 2014, when Weber’s older brother Charlie was a senior. He was the president of Program Council, and missed the thrill of being on stage. He lamented the fact that there wasn’t an opportunity on campus for non-performing arts majors to be involved with large productions – but he had a plan. He teamed up with his friends in Meadows and SMUST and got to work. “It was SMU’s centennial year, and we wanted to do something of landmark value,” said theatre and journalism alumna Ally Van Deuren (’15), who helped found the annual event. “It’s something that SMU did not have before.” After coordinating with
By Gage Picotte (B.F.A. Theatre ’21) On Saturday, February 2, the Divisions of Theatre and Film & Media Arts collaborated in an interdisciplinary workshop in the Kathy Bates Studio. Theatre Chair Gretchen Smith, Assistant Professor of Theatre Kara-Lynn Vaeni and Professor of Practice in Film Lorena Padilla simultaneously guided the students through exercises about acting for the camera and directing actors. The central concept the faculty wanted students to embrace was to focus on the process and not the product of the work, and to actively collaborate with each other. To begin, pairs of acting students were assigned to a film directing student and given a short film scene to prepare and rehearse in 30 minutes. Then, each group got 20 minutes’ filming time with the camera. After each scene was filmed, actors and directors received critiques and feedback from their faculty. As a film professor, Padilla mainly works with actors already in the field. When asked how it was working with student actors, she said, “I found it really refreshing working with actors in training. They were really interested in collaboration, and for me, that’s the most important thing about directing a piece, when you find the right people to work with. I was very happy that our student directors had the opportunity to work with actors in training, because they are directors in training too. If they learn how to talk to actors
SMU Meadows has one of the world’s best MFA theatre programs, according to rankings just released by The Hollywood Reporter. The publication’s Top 25 list puts Meadows at #19 in the company of such programs as Yale, Juilliard, and London’s Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. The Hollywood Reporter consulted academics, industry professionals, alumni and other experts for its ranking. Meadows MFA graduates include Lauren Graham (Gilmore Girls, Parenthood), Clarence Gilyard (Die Hard, Walker, Texas Ranger) and Debra Monk (Grey’s Anatomy, Mozart in the Jungle), among many others.
The Amazing Photos from the Student-Run The Rep, One of SMU Theatre’s Long-Standing Stage Traditions
For its final event of the 2017-18 academic year, the SMU Meadows Division of Theatre presents three contemporary American plays that will take turns sharing the black-box stage. The Rep: Three Contemporary American Plays Performed in Rotation runs April 26-May 6 on varying dates and times. All three plays, all directed by students, will be performed in the Margo Jones Theatre, Owen Arts Center, on the SMU campus. The plays, authors, dates, times and synopses:
The Iphigenia Project (directed by SMU Theatre Professor Michael Connolly) combines two of Euripides’ plays, Iphigenia in Aulis and Iphigenia in Tauris, into a single production. In Aulis, Agamemnon sacrifices his daughter, Iphigenia, in order to create a united Greek kingdom over which he will rule. The action of Tauris takes place 17 years later when it’s discovered that Iphigenia did not die on the altar. In the northern reaches of the Black Sea, she has become a priestess of Artemis, dedicated to sacrificing shipwrecked Greek sailors to the goddess. In Aulis, Agamemnon chooses to commit a great sin. The show’s costume designer, Amelia Bransky, brings along five photos to scope before the show. “The Iphigenia Project” is running through Sunday, October 22 in SMU Meadows’ Greer Garson Theatre.