Eclipsed directed by Stephanie Weeks received several national awards for our production showcased at the 2018 Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival including:
Distinguished Performance and Production Ensemble
Eclipsed by Danai Gurira- University of Utah
Outstanding Performance and Production Ensemble
Eclipsed– University of Utah
Distinguished Performance by an Actress in a Play
Darby Mest, the Girl, Eclipsed, University of Utah
We first produced Eclipsed in March of 2017 in Studio 115. Later that year, we were invited to attend the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival Region 8 in Mesa, AZ February 12-16, 2018.
Eclipsed tells the story of five extraordinary women brought together by upheaval in their homeland of Liberia near the end of the Second Liberian Civil War. Traveling to AZ to share a tale of survival, hope, humor, and resilience couldn’t have been possible without our cast, crew, creative team, director, and everyone else who joined us on this journey.
The Department of Theatre is thrilled to present the dramatic comedy written by Bridget Carpenter Up (The Man in the Flying Chair), a story that captures the essential truth about the lure of the impossible dream, its freedom, and its danger. Directed by Head of the Actor Training Program Chris DuVal, the production runs March 9-17 in Studio 115.
Up (The Man in the Flying Chair) is based on the real-life escapade of truck driver Larry Walters who attached 45 helium-filled weather balloons to a lawn chair and found himself 16,000 feet above the world, 20 years ago. He rose up from his backyard in San Pedro, California, was seen by commercial airliners, and drifted into controlled air space near Long Beach airport. Today he’s furiously holding onto his dreams and the faded memory of that glorious day, doing everything he can to keep his feet from touching the ground.
This is a story about breathtaking tension between hope and despair, “I love how we get to see inside Walter’s mind as he’s chasing a dream of who he is,” DuVal says. He creates an environment that doesn’t sacrifice the communal nature of making theatre—the inherent love of art making. “Theatre must always retain its joyful attitude,” he explains.
This production shows what it is to pursue one’s dream. To go on a hero’s journey where the destination is unknown, and the path uncertain, but that it is a calling of something that must be undertaken. “It’s a story that is needed now more than ever.”
“A brilliant play…original, poignant, moving, sad and funny. I have rarely sat in a theater audience that laughed so hard at one moment and, at the next, sat so still you’d swear you could hear the actors’ hearts beating together on stage.” – Eugene Register-Guard
“Up (The Man in the Flying Chair)” at a glance:
Dates and Times: March 9-11 and 15-17 at 7:30PM with a matinee on March 17 at 2PM
Post-Performance Discussions: March 16
Location: Studio 115 in the Performing Arts Building, 240 S. 1500 East. Parking is available in the visitor’s lot to the south of the theatre, at Rice-Eccles Stadium or on Presidents Circle.
Tickets: General admission tickets are $18, U faculty and staff are $15, U students are free with UCard and all other students with valid student ID are $8.50. Tickets can be obtained by calling 801-581-7100, online or at the Performing Arts Box Office, located at Kingsbury Hall.
Age Recommendations: Ages 14+
We return to the Babcock Theatre with the U.S. premiere of The Beautiful Game with Music by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Lyrics and Book by Ben Elton. This politically and religiously charged romantic musical tells the story of ordinary people in extraordinary times. Choreographed by Musical Theatre graduate Jesse Klick and directed by Musical Theatre Program Head Denny Berry, the production runs February 16-March 4 at the Babcock Theatre.
Set amid The Troubles in Northern Ireland, this late 1960s coming-of-age musical is about a group of young men and women who are involved with a local soccer team at the start of a 30-year civil war. The amateur Catholic soccer team finds themselves torn between becoming professionals and fighting for their country. Some are drawn into the conflict, while others stand aside wanting only to be allowed to live and love in peace. It speaks of love, the things that keep us human, and the reality of dashed dreams.
Writer Ben Elton tells the story with humor and compassion, with lyrics that are both funny and heartbreaking. In the program note from the original 2000 production he wrote, “Although this is an Irish story, taking place in Belfast—a brave big-hearted city that I know well, having performed there many times—I hope that the themes and sentiments of The Beautiful Game are universal.”
The significance of this production in today’s society will be discussed through a panel discussion lead by Theatre Instructor and Production Dramaturg, Mark Fossen on February 23, immediately after the evening production.
From the Dramaturg:
“We’re at war, Mary. We’ve been at war for eight hundred years.”
By Mark Fossen, Dramaturg
The Beautiful Game looks at the early years of “The Troubles.” But the complicated history of Ireland dates at least as far back as the 1171 the invasion of Ireland by the English King Henry II—the beginning of centuries of English rule over the island.
The political and territorial conflict between the native Irish and the colonizing English took on a religious aspect in 1534 when King Henry VIII broke from the Roman Catholic Church and founded the Church of England. The Irish were staunchly Roman Catholic and loyal to the Pope, and the religious division multiplied their grievances against the English. King James I took the English throne after the death of Elizabeth I in 1603, unifying the crowns of Scotland, Ireland, and England. He began a project to settle the Plantation of Ulster in what is now Northern Ireland with Protestant English and Scottish settlers in order to suppress a hotbed of rebellion on the island.
In 1688, the Catholic King James II was overthrown in the Glorious Revolution and fled to Ireland to find support amongst the Catholic populace, only to be defeated by the Protestant William of Orange, who is celebrated by the Protestant Unionist faction to this day. William ascended the English throne in 1689, and established the Protestant Ascendency—a series of repressive laws designed to strip the native populace of political and economic power, enabling the Protestant minority to hold political and economic power over the Catholic majority.
By the dawn of the 20th Century, the political movement towards Irish self-governance reached a climax in the 1916 Easter Rebellion and the War for Independence, which established the Republic of Ireland as an independent nation. However, the counties of Ulster remained part of the Union as a separate Northern Ireland.
The late 1960s saw the beginning of a 30-year conflict in Northern Ireland between the paramilitary Irish Republican Army and the Unionist forces, supported by the British Army.
The Beautiful Game begins near the start of The Troubles—specifically, the weekend of August 12-14, 1969, as violence broke out in Derry in “The Battle of the Bogside.” A Protestant march celebrating a 1689 victory by William of Orange’s forces passed near the Catholic area of Bogside, sparking three days of deadly violence between Catholic and Protestant forces.
The Troubles would consume Northern Ireland for three decades, overflowing at times to England and even mainland Europe. In the Good Friday Agreement of 1998, the Republic of Ireland recognized Northern Ireland as part of the United Kingdom. But both countries agreed that Northern Ireland could join the Republic, should a majority in both vote for the change.
For more information about The Beautiful Game and “The Troubles,” please visit our
dramaturgical website at http://beautifulgame2018.wordpress.com
University of Utah Theatre Department’s Eclipsed Will Be Performed at Regional Festival The University of Utah Theater Department’s production of Eclipsed from last season was chosen by the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival to perform at Festivention from February 14 to 17 at Mesa Community College, Arizona. This is one of only six productions that has been chosen to perform from our region, comprised of schools from Utah, Southern Nevada, Southern California, Arizona, Hawaii, and Guam.
Eclipsed is a powerful production based on real life stories of the women and girls who helped bring peace to the African nation of Liberia during its second civil war. It became the first play with an all-black and female cast and creative team to premiere on Broadway in 2015. The U of U’s production followed this example by casting an all-black cast and hiring Stephanie Weeks, New York resident, as artistic director. Of their performance, Utah Theater Blogger stated, “The five women on stage of this production took on material that has the ability to bring empathy, understanding, and advocacy that is desperately needed.”
U of U Theatre professor Bob Nelson currently serves on the board of KCACTF, and has been serving there for 10 years. In fact, this year he was honored with a Gold Medallion for his years of dedicated service with the organization. Nelson said this year there were over 70 eligible applicants, and the U was one of 6 selected.
Some of KCACTF’s goals are “to encourage, recognize, and celebrate the finest and most diverse work produced in university and college theater programs, to provide opportunities for participants to develop their theater skills and insight . . . [and] to encourage colleges and universities to give distinguished productions of new plays.” Professor Nelson said of the festival, “I particularly appreciate working with KCACTF because this organization, more than many, focuses on the students’ experience. It gives students an excellent opportunity to interact and work with other individuals and institutions at the festival.”
Participating in the festival is no small undertaking. The entire company will be returning for their three performances at the festival, including recently graduated students. The company will also transport their entire set and costumes to the venue. While at the festival, they will get the opportunity to participate in workshops and seminars on such topics as dramaturgy, theatre criticism, playwriting, auditioning, voice, movement, stage combat, theater for children, scene painting, and scenery construction.
Speaking of Eclipsed, Artistic Director Stephanie Weeks was quoted in the Daily Utah Chronicle saying as, “Often when we talk of prisoners of war we talk about the soldiers who have been captured, tortured, and killed. Rarely do we talk about the women and children who are also in the trenches and are, in fact, prisoners of war themselves . . . trapped by their circumstances. So how and why do we imprison the women who gave us life and nurtured us?” Audiences who attended this production last year were deeply moved, and the University of Utah is proud to be able to send our talented cast and production team to this festival to share this important story.
By Adam Griffiths, CFA
Eclipsed written by Danai Gurira, directed by Stephanie Weeks, produced by our Department in March of 2017, has been invited to attend Festival 50 in Mesa, Arizona at Mesa Community College February 13-17, 2018.
Eclipsed is one of six productions chosen to attend the KCACTF Region 8 festival in 2018. Other productions chosen include Where Words Once Were by Finegan Kruckemeyer, directed by Tracy Callahan, Weber State University (Utah); The Government Inspector by Nikolai Gogo, adapted by Theatre Movement Bazaar and directed by Tina Kronis, Los Angeles City College (California); Man of La Mancha by Mitch Leigh, Joe Darion and Dale Wasserman, directed by bree valle, Cuesta College (California); Story Theatre by Paul Sills, directed by Kevin Dressler, Mesa Community College (Arizona); and Intimate Apparel by Lynn Nottage, directed by Linda Bisessti, California Polytechnic University, Pomona (California).
Eclipsed tells the story of five extraordinary women brought together by the upheaval of war in their homeland of Liberia. “A driving force behind the resolution of the conflict were the women of Liberia who came together because they were tired and angry at what war was doing to their country,” said director Weeks. Drawing on reserves of wit and compassion, Eclipsed reveals the courage and strength of the women who are often overlooked in a world where war endures, and women are still fighting to survive.
The brilliant all-black female cast traveling to Arizona includes Madelaine Lamah as Maima, Terryn Shigg as Bessie, Darby Mest as The Girl, ATP alumna McKenna Jensen as Helena, and local artist Dee-Dee Darby-Duffin as Rita. Other members from the original University of Utah production will also be traveling to the festival including scenic designer Megan Branson, lighting designer Michele Collins, costume designer Kerstin Davis, sound designer Shea Madson, stage manager Tahra Veasley, properties designer Lesli Spencer, dramaturg Catherine Heiner, and director Stephanie Weeks.
Congratulations to everyone involved with the University of Utah’s production of Eclipsed.
The Department of Theatre offers Theatre Major and Non-Major students the opportunity to explore many aspects of the theatre, from acting to directing, history to playwriting. In the spring of 2018, our devoted faculty will teach classes that cover a variety of topics including multiculturalism, feminism, and Shakespeare among other classes aimed at diversifying the learning opportunities of our students.
Instructor Jerry Rapier, Artistic Director of Plan-B Theatre Company, will explore multiculturalism through the arts in his class, Diversity: Arts Inquiry. Students will develop a working understanding of critical theories useful to the analysis and production of theatrical texts in Theatre and Theory, (2 sections) taught by Instructors Mark Fossen and Lynn Deboeck.
Theatre of the Pacific taught by Ethnic Studies/Theatre Professor Kimberly Jew, and Contexts: Historical Plays, Then and Now are both courses that will count toward the BA Dramatic Lit requirement. Head of the BA Theatre Studies program, Professor Bob Nelson will teach students the craft of acting and directing Shakespeare through play analysis, interpretation, rehearsal, and performance in Acting and Directing Shakespeare. Playwright in residence, Professor Tim Slover, will explore with his students the collaborative processes that bring a new script from the page to production in New Play Workshop.
Check out a list of all our spring classes in the Spring 2018 Schedule.
Theatre and Theory (THEA 2713)
Section 001 MW 11:50-1:10pm, Mark Fossen
Section 002 MW 11:50-1:10pm, Lynn Deboeck
Theatre Core Requirement. Through readings, discussion, and performance, students develop a working understanding of the critical theories most useful to the analysis and production of theatrical texts, including semiotics, (post)structuralism, feminism, and post-colonialism. The capstone experience in the class is a performance that exemplifies one or more of the theories studied during the semester.
*Required in BA Theatre Studies.
Diversity: Arts Inquiry (THEA 3000)
TH 12:25-1:45PM, Jerry Rapier, Artistic Director, Plan-B Theatre Company
Use of arts-based inquiry to represent data and explore diverse texts dealing with multiculturalism and diversity. Students create and produce performance pieces that integrate formal histories, personal narrative, case studies, and theories and critiques of multicultural education.
*Fulfills the General Education DV requirement.
Theatre of the Pacific (Thea 3790)
TH 2:00PM-3:20PM, Kimberly Jew, Ethnic Studies and Theatre
Special topics courses are designed for both Theatre Majors and Non-Majors. The focus of these courses varies each semester. Past courses have included: Performance Art, American and European Scene Study, and Dialects. Auditions for Actors Stage Combat Improv Check the Department’s web site for current information on the content and emphasis of special topics offerings. A variety of topics in theatre are covered relating texts to the culture that produced them.
*Can count as a BA Theatre Studies elective or toward the BA Dramatic Lit requirement.
Acting and Directing Shakespeare (THEA 4110)
MW 11:50AM-1:10PM, Bob Nelson, head of BA Theatre Studies
For Theatre Majors and Non-Majors. Students will study the craft of acting and directing Shakespeare through play analysis, interpretation, rehearsal, and performance. Students will craft a “director’s vision” and realize that vision through the rehearsal and production of scenes.
*Can count as a BA Theatre elective.
New Play Workshop (THEA 4420)
TH-2:00-5:00PM, Tim Slover, playwright in residence
For Theatre Majors and Non-Majors. Instructor’s approval. Meets with THEA 6220. Students explore the collaborative processes which bring a new script from the page to production.
*Can count as a BA Theatre elective.
Contexts: Historical Plays, Then and Now (THEA 4703)
This course is an exercise in advanced analysis of a range of representative plays from the pre-nineteenth century history of theatre, including works of female and non-Western playwrights. Students will conduct close readings of the assigned plays. They will study the plays structures and their particular contexts: political, socio-economic, cultural, philosophical, and aesthetic and analyze how the plays establish, reinforce, or challenge values within these contexts. They will study themes, strategies, multiple meanings, dramatic genres and movements, reactions, and innovations. The course will focus on bridging the gap between the plays original context and the perspectives and production possibilities of today. The particular plays studied will vary to some degree each time the course is taught, depending on the live performances of historical plays available during the term, specific curricular needs, and the instructor’s expertise.
*Counts toward the BA Dramatic Lit requirement.
Musical Theatre Program alumnus William Cooper Howell plays Lin-Manuel Miranda’s character in “Hamilton” parody called, “Spamilton.”
Read the entire the LA TIMES ARTICLE by Charles McNulty below.
Gerard Alessandrini, the man behind the popular “Forbidden Broadway” series, has made his theatrical career spoofing his musical theater betters. He’s turned theatrical lampooning into an art form, sending up the excesses of bloated shows and caricaturing the mannerism of divas.
Alessandrini has had much to mock over the span of 25 “Forbidden Broadways,” from the fervid pop operas of Andrew Lloyd Webber to the empty-headed jukebox musicals that, until recently, had a commercial stranglehold on the American musical theater.
The success of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s “Hamilton” has inaugurated a new and more promising era. The show, too much a game-changer to be crowded into a skewering revue, is the target of Alessandrini’s “Spamilton,” which opened last weekend at the Kirk DouglasTheatre.
The show (created, written and directed by Alessandrini) tweaks the familiar logo of “Hamilton” to leave no doubt about the teasing intentions. A pianist (music director James Lent) pounds away discreetly at the keys on a mostly bare stage. The ensemble is surprisingly populous, but the production still has the feeling of a small-scale cabaret.
“Spamilton” substitutes the story of Miranda, a Broadway revolutionary, for the story of Alexander Hamilton, the original American revolutionary. The rhymes of “Alexander Hamilton,” the opening number from “Hamilton,” are rejiggered to introduce Broadway’s reigning king, whose Tony-winning show has become one of the hottest tickets in the land.
How does a whipper snapper
Student of rap
And a Latin
Trapped in the middle of a
With Broadway accolades
While other writers kiss
The corporate dollar
Grow up to be a hip-hop op’ra
These words are sung by Wilkie Ferguson III, who plays Leslie Odom Jr., the “Hamilton” cast member who won a Tony for playing Aaron Burr. Hamilton’s rival is still bitterly competitive, though in “Spamilton” the two characters argue about artistic integrity, not politics.
Everyone knows that Lin-Manuel (William Cooper Howell) is destined to “build a better Broadway,” but it’s not going to be an easy road. Audiences like to stick to the familiar, and the commercial temptations and traps have grown only more extreme.
But this hot young talent means business. In “His Shot,” Lin-Manuel roars, “I am not gonna let Broadway rot” — and both the swagger and nobility of his ambition come through.
The structure of the show seems jury-rigged. The story readily gives way to gag numbers. Impersonations of Liza Minnelli and Barbra Streisand are de rigueur. The spirit of “Spamilton” is mostly adulatory, but Alessandrini, a shrewd observer of musicals, takes a few gentle shots at Miranda.
“Be terser in your verse, sir/You’re no Johnny Mercer,” critiques Odom in a rhyme that demonstrates Alessandrini’s own rap prowess. After “Hamilton” becomes a blockbuster, Lin-Manuel comes on and self-deprecatingly introduces himself: “I’m slightly obnoxious/Too broad, too pained/My voice is strained/and thin/I’m Lin-Manuel!”
The “Spamilton” cast infuses the show with nonstop energy. Zakiya Young summons Renée Elise Goldsberry as effectively as she conjures Audra McDonald and J-Lo. John Devereaux simulates the cool, lanky, big-haired eccentricity of Daveed Diggs.
Glenn Bassett, who plays crazy King George, camps it up in “Straight Is Back,” a “Penny Lane”-like ditty (converted, if you will, from “You’ll Be Back”) bemoaning the way “Hamilton” has made Broadway conspicuously less gay.
Some of the raillery, while funny, feels like overkill. The mash-up of shows, combinations that are like Frankenstein’s monster (“The Lion King and I”), might be more amusing in a nightclub serving drinks.
Yet Alessandrini detects more lyrical kinship between these composers than might be obvious to a civilian theatergoer. Sondheim’s deft wordplay seems like a precursor to Miranda’s rap style by the end of a section in which Renée repeatedly sings, “And another hundred syllables/Came out of his brain.”
“Spamilton” infuses original insights into a show that without these kernels might seem tiresomely broad. The musical unfolds as a sort of dream of President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama, who made “Hamilton” the “Camelot” of their administration. The production can get surreally silly at points, but Alessandrini treats Miranda’s masterpiece with the rambunctious love this watershed musical deserves.
♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦
Where: Kirk Douglas Theatre, 9820 Washington Blvd., Culver City
When: 8 p.m. Tuesdays-Fridays, 2 and 8 p.m. Saturdays, 1 and 6:30 p.m. Sundays (call for exceptions); ends Jan. 7
Price: $55-$99 (subject to change)
Info: (213) 628-2772 or www.centertheatregroup.org
Running time: 1 hour, 20 minutes (no intermission)
Students who participate in the Theatre, Fine Arts and Humanities London Learning Abroad program will spend 6 weeks in England attending classes, performances by some of the finest theatre companies in the world, and visiting art galleries, museums, and historic sites.
The Theatre, Fine Arts and Humanities in London Learning Abroad program is an exciting way for students to earn their International Requirement. This requirement is designed to help students appreciate the interdependence of the global community, understand the viewpoints of other nations, and improve communication between people across international borders. Credit may also be counted toward the completion of theatre major requirements and/or meet Fine Arts or Humanities General Education requirements. Honors credit can also be awarded with permission from the Honors College.
Travel Dates: May-June (6 weeks)
Application Deadline: February 15
U of U students nominated the Theatre, Fine Arts, and Humanities in London Learning Abroad Program for a Beacons of Excellence Award. To see a video about the program and the award, click here. (Video produced by Amy Jensen for Learning Abroad.)
For more information about this program and for applications, click here.
ATP alumnus, Matthew Morgan brings WONDERLAND to SLC presented by his company The Petite Palace & the Utah Arts Alliance, November 3-12. WONDERLAND is a high energy, madcap circus celebration of humanity! Leave your cares at the door as you enter a joyous world of entertainment presented by your hosts, the ridiculous husband and wife duo Matt and Heidi Morgan. Acrobats, aerialists, speed jugglers and quite possibly YOU promise to thrill and amaze while the comedy may literally be in your lap in this beautiful and intimate 150 seat tent. Come sit shoulder to shoulder with your neighbors and enjoy circus like you’ve never experienced before!
This is different … unexpectedly moving and beautiful–Democrat & Chronicle
The Petite Palace is also presenting 2 performances of PRINCESS WENDY’S LATE NITE TEASE ROOM, November 10 and 11 at 9:30pm. Princess Wendy’s Late-Night Tease Room, a delightfully raucous evening of comedy, burlesque, and sexy circus. Hosted by the sassy, wine drinking children’s birthday party princess, Princess Wendy, and featuring a menagerie of hot and hilarious talent. The Petite Palace is a new and exciting 150 seat traveling performance venue where communities can come and sit shoulder to shoulder, share a laugh and a gasp while experiencing a night of world class entertainment. It’s the perfect venue for a family outing, a night out with friends or a date night with that special someone.
Glorious–Rochester City Newspaper
Created for the stage by Julian Crouch and Phelim McDermott.
Original music and lyrics by The Tiger Lilies.
Originally conceived and produced by Michael Morris for Cultural Industry, London.
A smattering of cautionary tales pulled from the popular German children’s book Struwwelpeter, featuring live music and dead children. A silly and sinister evening for the Halloween season. Come, join us in the “withdrawing room” before Shockheaded Peter meets its end.
Shockheaded Peter stars Actor Training Program Professor Sarah Shippobotham as the MC, and Actor Training Program junior student, Emily Nash as Player.
$25 at the door / $17-23 online
8 PM @ The Art Factory
193 West 2100 South,
SLC, UT 84115
“A vile and repulsive story told by reprehensible characters in a thoroughly degenerate fashion–Absolute Bliss” – David Bowie
News update for Actor Training Program (ATP) sophomores, juniors and seniors.
Department of Theatre student group, Open Door Productions presents Jesus Christ Superstar with an all-female cast, November 3-4 in Studio 115.
With music by Andrew Lloyd Webber and lyrics by Tim Rice, Jesus Christ Superstar has wowed audiences for over 40 years. A timeless work, the rock opera is set against the backdrop of an extraordinary and universally-known series of events but seen, unusually, through the eyes of Judas Iscariot.
Loosely based on the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, Superstar follows the last week of Jesus Christ’s life. The story, told entirely through song, explores the personal relationships and struggles between Jesus, Judas, Mary Magdalene, his disciples, his followers and the Roman Empire.
The iconic 1970s rock score contains such well-known numbers as “Superstar,” “I Don’t Know How to Love Him” and “Gethsemane.” This production is being performed by a top-notch all-female cast from the University of Utah Department of Theatre. Reserve tickets to see this incredibly famous story told from a completely different point of view.
The Distinguished Alumni Award was created to recognize the extraordinary achievements and contributions to the arts by alumni of the College of Fine Arts at the University of Utah. The Legacy Assembly began ten years ago during the 60th anniversary celebration of the founding of the College and since then it has honored over 50 distinguished alumni.
This year, the Department of Theatre will honor Professor Odai Johnson who received his MFA from the Department of Theatre at the University of Utah and his PhD from the University of Texas at Austin. His articles have appeared in Theatre Journal, Theatre Survey, New England Theatre Journal, Theatre Symposium and the Virginia Magazine of History as well as contributions to numerous anthologies. His books include Rehearsing the Revolution (University of Delaware 1999), The Colonial American Stage: A Documentary Calendar (AUP: 2001), Absence and Memory on the Colonial American Stage (Palgrave-Macmillan, 2005), London in a Box (Iowa 2017), and Ruins: Classical Theatre and the Archeology of Memory (University of Michigan), as well as contributor to the Oxford Handbook of Dance and Theatre, Oxford Handbook of The Georgian Theatre, the Oxford Handbook of American Drama. His courses range from the classical past, to the Baroque, the Early Modern, the Long 18th century, and historiography. Professor Johnson holds the Floyd and Delores Jones Endowed Professorship in the Arts.
The festivities will officially begin on Tuesday, Sept. 26 where Professor Johnson will teach a master class designed for interaction with students and faculty of the Department of Theatre. On the same day, College of Fine Arts student leaders from the ArtsForce program will get the opportunity to have lunch with Professor Johnson and the other recipients. The Distinguished Alumni Awards Legacy Assembly will begin Sept. 27 at 12:00 p.m. in Kingsbury Hall. Students, faculty, staff, as well as the general public, are all invited to honor and celebrate Professor Johnson, and the other Distinguished Alumni Award recipients from the College of Fine Arts at the assembly.
by Josiane Dubois
Senior Actor Training Program student and SAC President, Cece Otto, is presenting her one-woman show, Hyperthymesia at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, August 4-19, 2017.
Cece was awarded a UROP grant two semesters in a row, allowing her to fund the project under the supervision of her mentor and Assistant Professor in the Department of Theatre, Robert Scott Smith.
The monologue piece Hyperthymesia is about a woman who is one of only a couple of dozen or so people who have been diagnosed with a condition characterized by highly superior autobiographical memory (HSAM). Her work explores the power of the brain, and how the ability to forget is a key element to living a happy life.
As part of the annual East to Edinburg series, Cece presented her work at the 59E59 Theaters in NYC on July 12-16. Her work was then commended by Marti Davidson Sichel, an award-winning entertainment journalist and contributor to Woman Around Town. Joseph Winer from A Young Theatre publication and company that nurtures emerging creative talent called her work, “Beautiful.”
Review from Woman Around Town:
Where Tales suffered from stiffness and forgotten lines, Cece Otto’s one-woman show Hyperthymesia offers a dynamic narrator and a fascinating story. The monologue piece is about a woman who is one of only a couple dozen or so people who have been diagnosed with a condition characterized by highly superior autobiographical memory (HSAM). In these cases, a hyperthymesiac can recall even minute details about any day during their lives from the beginning of their memory on. While many people might think about how useful an ability like that could be, Otto’s show focuses on the other edge of the sword: Happiness is being able to forget the things that have hurt you. Breakups, deaths of loved ones, scares and disappointments — all feel as fresh as the day they happened. It’s no wonder someone in the position of possessing such an extraordinary memory would do anything they can to try to forget.
Much of the play runs parallel to the life of a woman named Jill Price, at least in terms of the techniques Price employed to try to calm her thoughts, like regular and extensive journaling. People with HSAM have talked about their memories crowding their heads in any calm, still moment. Otto describes it like a swarm of bees, and the amount of detail that she wrote into the play could be just as intimidating. In between descriptive and emotional recitals of life stories (and the dates on which they occurred), she performs various series of actions and gestures, borrowing from dance, that provide slow, smooth feeling to counterbalance her narrator’s sometimes frenzied words.
The stage design consists of a single chair, but Otto pantomimes whatever else might be needed, leaving the audience to form an idea from imagination. It’s a plain but touching performance about one person’s struggles with her own amazing mind. The script is thoughtful, and also asks the audience to question their own experiences with remembering and forgetting. There is empathy and kindness in the telling, making Otto a very endearing narrator. It’s a piece that demands a lot of her, both physically and mentally — which also explains the unusual running time of 40 minutes — but is very satisfying and ultimately very hopeful.
Sackerson and Flying Bobcat Theatrical Laboratory present a new collaboration:
In the basement of the Pioneer Memorial Building on the University of Utah Campus sits the Babcock Theatre. Sackerson and Flying Bobcat Theatrical Laboratory will premiere a new play by resident playwright Morag Shepherd. A wild painting of two sisters facing trains barreling down the tracks, this play runs July 7, 8 , 9, 13, 14, 15, 16 @ 7:30 PM.
Tickets are $18-25 at https://sackerson.org/
A game. A train. An echo of death.
A game for two sisters. Two sisters: Charlie and Pepper—both in love with Grayson. Their father is a digger, a stranger. Their mother has kaleidoscopes for eyes.
A train and a question. It’s coming nearer, nearer; it’s almost here, it’s almost here — it was never here. Was it ever here?
An echo of love. Love that tastes like the ocean, and steel, and glass in your eyes.
About Morag Shepherd (playwright)
Playwright Morag Shepherd, originally from Scotland, is the resident playwright at Sackerson in Salt Lake City, where her plays BURN, THE WORST THING I’VE EVER DONE (performed in a box by one actor for an audience of one at a time), BEFORE THE BEEP (performed in weekly installments via voicemail) and POPPY’S IN THE SAND have premiered, the latter also playing Great Salt Lake Fringe and San Diego International Fringe Festivals.
About FLYING BOBCAT THEATRICAL LABORATORY (Salt Lake City, UT)
Flying Bobcat is a theatrical laboratory dedicated to exploring the possibilities of storytelling in performance through language, movement, technology, and design. Recent collaborations include; In March 2016 the World Premiere of Climbing With Tigers, adapted for the stage by Troy Deutsch, based on the book by Nathan Glad and Dallas Graham Produced by Salt Lake Acting Company in collaboration with Flying Bobcat and Red Fred Project. Climbing was a new devised work involving animation and live action and was featured in American Theatre Magazine May 2016.
About SACKERSON (Salt Lake City, UT)
Sackerson is a nonprofit, Salt Lake City-based theatre company with a focus on new works, unconventional venues, and bold audiences. Recent works include the immersive dance theatre experience SONDER, yoga-studio-based BURN, and the mobile theatre box for one patron at a time production of THE WORST THING I’VE EVER DONE.
Catherine (Cate) Heiner, Department of Theatre, 2017 Convocation Speaker
Cate Heiner grew up in Salt Lake City, and feels been lucky enough to pursue what she loves here at the U. Heiner works as a dramaturg, where she gets to explore the historical background and context of theatrical texts and work with casts and creative teams in creating productions. This allows her to analyze and observe the production in new and innovative ways. She is also a playwright and loves using theatre as an opportunity to open dialogue about current events and differing points of view.
Heiner chose to pursue Theatre Studies because she saw it as a way to connect her love of theatre with her love of history and writing. She believes that in order to have successful productions, it is important to create an understanding for the cast and creative teams in regards to historical context and connection to community. Next fall Heiner will be attending Carnegie Mellon University ato pursue an MA in Literary and Cultural Studies. She hopes to continue working in dramaturgy and playwriting, and hopes to return to Salt Lake since there are so many academic and artistic opportunities here. Heiner’s ultimate goal is to teach on a college level.
“I feel very lucky to have gotten my degree from the University of Utah. I have worked very closely with excellent faculty like Dr. Tim Slover and Dr. Sydney Cheek-O’Donnell, and I have had opportunities to expand my horizons as a playwright and as a dramaturg. I have loved being able to work on a variety of productions with directors and creative teams that bring different tools and skills to their work. I have also loved working for the Chronicle and exploring how the arts relate to journalism and how the arts community can connect with their local audiences. I am constantly amazed by the work my peers are pursuing, and I look forward to collaborating with them as we move toward our artistic careers.”
Read about all the CFA outstanding seniors at The Finer Points.
The Department of Theatre’s Student Advisory Committee is a group of student representatives from the ATP, MTP, BA, Stage Management, Theatre Teaching and PADP. SAC has various events throughout the year to promote the program and to bring the different majors together.
2016- 2017 SAC members:
Previous events and activities:
Why Are You Thankful for the Arts Poster
SAC Volleyball BBQ
SAC Halloween Movie Night
Students can check the SAC board in PAB and follow SAC on social media for updates.
Likes us on Facebook at SAC FUN
By: Kim Davison
Daniel Amsel (Septimus Hodge)
Arcadia is a very intense, intellectual show. My character, in particular, demands that I am smart and deceitfully emotional. This is something that is difficult for me to do in my personal life, so this rehearsal process has been full of a lot of self-reflection and I’ve grown a lot personally because of it. I love the wit of this show! Everyone’s ideas bounce off each other so smoothly and powerfully. When everyone in the cast is attuned to each other, the amount of energy between the lines is palpable. It’s really something amazing, and not all plays manage to create that! I imagine people think plays with people sitting around a talking sounds horribly boring. I’d like to prove then wrong. It’s a magical, exciting, dangerous 3-hour play that puts you in the edge of your seat!
Ashley Patlan (Lady Croom)
This rehearsal process has been really unique for me. We focused more on the text and understanding how the thoughts of the characters move through it, rather than just getting it up on its feet as soon as possible. This was quite refreshing, as I feel that this approach allowed me to understand what I was saying/what was being said about my character and how we were saying it before we could even get it blocked and into our bodies. Working with Sarah has been really quite wonderful and a dream come true. I’ve always admired her and her work and so it was truly lucky to have this opportunity. She doesn’t sugar-coat anything and pushes me to the maximum, but does so in a way that it stokes a fire in me to want to do better. I’ve never had a director who was so passionate to find and bring to light the absolute best in everyone’s abilities. She’s unique in the best way possible. I love everything about this show—from the time periods, to the dialect, to the language, to the lighting, attire, music, cast, crew, etc. This show is beautiful in every way possible. People should come see this show because it’s funny, heartwarming, and witty and makes you see things in ways you haven’t considered before. It has humor, language, maths, science, love, sex, fire, tortoises – It has it all!
Gavin Yehle (Gus and Augustus)
It feels amazing being in my first U of U show! I feel like I’ve been waiting these two years for this opportunity. But now that the whole thing is coming to fruition, it doesn’t really feel much different from any other show that I’ve been in before. I definitely think that the first two years of school have really prepared me for the show and I feel like I’ve gotten a lot of the tools in order to make the acting the best it can be. This show is definitely quite complex. There are all kinds of things that come back later, or are referenced in a different part of the show, and it’s all of these little connections that make the show so interesting. I also really love that I get to play the character that becomes sort of the crossover between the two different time periods; the last scene, which is when this crossover comes to fruition, is definitely my favorite part of the show, and I really love the ambiguity of the two characters coming together. It is a really beautiful show with amazing costumes, set, lighting, and sound design that really adds to the show. I’m happy that I get to watch the beauty of the very last scene every night as I come onstage.
Kali Scott (Hannah Jarvis)
Arcadia is very complex and driven by energy, character, and relationships. There is a lot to play with and I always have to be on my toes! Also, everyone involved in the production is great to work with. Sarah Shippobotham has the ability to direct people into beautiful, human moments and the play is full of them. It’s funny, sarcastic, sexy, smart, and everyone shines. I’ve never done an accent before, so that’s been challenging and fun. It has been challenging for me to find the ease and subtly, yet driving energy of this world. This play focuses a lot on enigmatic complexity of the world and humans, so finding a way to fully express multiple aspects of a moment or character, giving each its equal due without focusing too much on the moment, has been an exciting adventure.
Joshua Wood (Bernard Nightingale)
It has been a lot of fun. We spent a lot of time analyzing the text as it is a hugely argument driven play. After analyzing language we spent some time building our characters and the world. It has been a very exciting show to work on and I feel like I have learned an incredible amount in the process. This show is a lot more language based than most. It also requires a huge amount of energy. I Love how funny and clever it is while exploring many subjects including sex, literature, math, science, and philosophy. Because it is funny, entertaining, and most of all, it will give you something to think and talk about! The most challenging part has been keeping up the energy and learning to think through each argument every time I say them.
Monica Goff (Chloe Coverly)
The rehearsal process for Arcadia has been really fun and exciting, particularly since we have been working extensively on a lot of different things so we’re always engaged and always working, even when we’re not in rehearsal. Working with Sarah has been really helpful because I have her as my professor for two classes, so we’ve been in constant conversation about acting, text, and how to apply what we’re learning to Arcadia and things we learn during rehearsal to our classes. I am so excited to be in my first show at the U! It’s really thrilling to finally get to apply the skills that we’ve been spending hundreds of hours working on for the past 2 years. I love that this show is really text heavy. It makes you think while you’re watching it and it’s really a challenge to stay in the moment on stage. People should come to see Arcadia because it’s funny, intellectual, and visually stunning!
Arcadia runs November 17-20 at 7:30 p.m. and 19 and 20 at 2:00 p.m. at the Babcock Theatre.
By: Kim Davison
The Department of Theatre students have the opportunity to work and audition for Pioneer Theatre shows located on the U campus. Students have been cast at all levels from regular roles to understudies. Students also have the opportunity to work backstage as dressers for their productions. Having this theatre on campus gives student the chance to meet people in the theatre community and see a behind the scenes look of professional productions.
Two student from the Department of Theatre were cast as swings in Pioneer Theatre Company’s production of The Last Ship. Swings are members of a cast who don’t go on every night, but they are prepared to go on for any of the ensemble roles they are assigned to. They have to be within 10 minutes of driving from the theatre when a show is happening in case someone in the cast cannot perform.
Jamie is from San Jose, California and has been doing theatre from a very young age. This was her first time being a swing, but not her first production at Pioneer Theatre, she was recently seen in Pioneer’s Count of Monte Cristo. “It was scary, but was a great learning experience,” Jamie said. She auditioned for The Last Ship and got called back for the part of Meg, but knew she was too young to play that part. She was offered the part of a swing and knew she would regret it if she didn’t take it.
As a swing, Jamie covered all of the female ensemble member’s tracks. “During the rehearsal process if a cast member was sick, I would have to cover roles I wasn’t originally assigned to, which was crazy,” she said. Even though she wasn’t in the show every night, she never felt like she wasn’t part of the cast, “sometimes being a part of what you love is enough.” She said that this skill set is something she is going to be able to take with her for jobs for the rest of her life.
Bailey got a little taste of what it’s like to be a swing when he was in Young Frankenstein at The Grand Theatre in 2015. “Being a swing was daunting, enlightening, and most of all hard,” Bailey said. He started doing children’s theatre when he was young and in high school he started thinking about pursuing a career in theatre.
He covered seven tracks in The Last Ship, two of which were speaking parts. It takes a highly organized person to be a swing, so he used the two scrips, one for making notes and the other to organize and color-code the blocking for the various characters he covered. The best-case scenario the swing will brush up on the part before going onstage, but that is not always the case, in case of an emergency the swing might have to go in immediately and rely on their memory and practice or the script.
During the production of The Last Ship nobody got sick or injured, so Jamie and Bailey never had to go on for a role. The director let them perform four of the ensemble scenes during the final performance and they got to take the last bow with the entire cast, an experience both Jamie and Bailey were grateful to have. Being a swing is not easy, but hard work can pay off in the end.
by Kim Davison