Two groups of students in Theatre and Speech recently took field trips to Atlanta to see several plays. They enjoyed Dark Play or Stories for Boys by Carlos Murillo at Actor’s Express; My Name is Rachel Corrie, a one-woman show about an American peace activist killed in the West Bank in 2003 and produced by Synchronicity Performance Group; and Richard III at Georgia Shakespeare.
“The plays were excellent, but also controversial,” said Theatre and Speech student Britney Naylon. “In the talkback for My Name is Rachel Corrie, a woman in the audience was from that area and she stood up for suicide bombers! At first the entire crowd was horrified, especially when she got into it with another older woman, it was about five minutes before the director got control over it, but theater is a funny thing. After watching the play we were all able to listen to the woman, who made the argument ‘when all you know is war and death, how else are you going to fight back and what does your life mean to you?’ with open minds instead of open mouths.”
Naylon was pleased to learn about the professional level of theatre available in Atlanta.
“Going to New York or Chicago was never an option for me due to the fact that it is such a huge place to get lost in among other actors and technicians. Seeing the Atlanta theater arena was very exciting, knowing that it’s there and still growing,” Naylon said.
Student actors have an opportunity to practice their craft when The Department of Theatre and Speech continues the 2007-08 season with The Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams.
Originally produced in Chicago in 1944, the timeless story of Tom, Amanda and Laura Wingfield was Tennessee Williams’ first success and launched his career as one of America’s greatest playwrights. Often cited as one of Williams’ most autobiographical works, The Glass Menagerie is a “memory” play that continues to challenge and touch audiences.
The UTC production will honor the theatrical style originally conceived by Williams. The scenery, props, costumes and lighting will step outside the realm of reality, as a world of memory and illusion surrounds the Wingfield family. In the preface to the script Williams stated, “When a play employs unconventional techniques, it is not, or certainly shouldn’t be, trying to escape its responsibility of dealing with reality . . . but should be attempting to find a closer approach, a more penetrating and vivid expression of things as they are.”
The Glass Menagerie is directed by Gaye Jeffers. Set and costume design by Sydney Roberts and lighting design by John R. Burgess. Cast members include Sam Fort as Tom, Jessica Wilson as Amanda, Emily White as Laura and Sean Henon as Jim, the Gentleman Caller.
Performance for The Glass Menagerie will be held in the Dorothy Hackett Ward Theatre on November 9, 10 at 8 p.m.; November 14, 15 at 7 p.m. and November 16, 17 at 8 p.m.