TCU Daily Skiff Wednesday, April 21, 2004
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Student ‘shorts’ to debut Monday
Student-directed plays in the theatre department showcase talent and initiative.

By Lauren Lea
Staff Reporter


Theatre students have been working throughout the semester to get their 10 minutes in the spotlight.

On Monday and Tuesday, 11 students will make their directorial debut at 5 p.m. in Hays Theatre. Each play is only 10 minutes long, said T.J. Walsh, an assistant professor of theatre. He said the point is to make the directing experience an integral part of theatre training.

Amy Dullnig, a junior theatre and radio-TV-film major, said she enjoys the challenge of directing and all the work she has been doing.

“For just a 10-minute play, I have done a ton of work and that’s only a fraction of the amount a director of a full-length play does,” she said. “It’s a lot of work but the payoff in the end is definitely worth it.”

Dullnig and several other student directors are enrolled in a directing class, which is required for all theatre majors.

“A student chooses a play out of the pile of 20 without knowing which play they are choosing and reads it in class,” Walsh said. “If they like the play, they keep it and that is their play for the semester. If they don’t like the play, they may return the play to the pile and select another, but the second play they choose is their play for the semester.”

Dullnig is directing “Slop Culture,” a comedy by Robb Badlam that takes place in New York City.

Katie Knapek, a junior theatre major, plays Danielle, a woman who applies for a job with her friends’ help. Knapek said she auditioned for the play because she participated in the directors’ projects last semester and thinks the plays are a great opportunity.

“I think that with these auditions you can go in and truly be yourselves,” she said. “It is a little weird to have all of your peers watching you as you are auditioning, but actually I feel more comfortable in this type of audition.”

The student directors examine ideas and themes, the setting of the play, the biography of the playwright and even the history of production. Dullnig said they analyzed the meaning of the plays and discussed what effects they wanted to have on the audience.

Students then create a concept for the play, which is where they visualize how they want to present the play to the audience. Dullnig said this is where they discuss the meaning of the plays and what effect they want to have on the audience.

Because the plays are class projects, there is no budget allotted for sets and costumes. The plays are all student initiated and Knapek said some sets are as simple as a bed or a couch and the costumes are simple as well.

Walsh said students benefit from the class because it gives them an understanding of what directing really entails.

“Directing is about leadership and vision,” he said. “The students who come through the directing class have an understanding of what authentic leadership is about and how to communicate a vision to others. I think it is among the most important classes we teach in our program.”
 
 
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