Ben Williams, a UTC alumnus, won a 2012 Obie award for Sound Design in the play, “The Select (The Sun Also Rises).” The Obie Awards are annual awards given to theatre artists and groups in New York City. They are said to be “Off-Broadway’s highest honor.”
The play, based on the Ernest Hemingway novel, Fiesta: The Sun Also Rises, tells the story of several Americans who take trips to Paris and Spain in the 1920s.
The theatre ensemble Williams works for, Elevator Repair Service, also won an Obie for Sustained Excellence.
Williams, who was a theatre and humanities double major and University Honors student, has worked for Elevator Repair Service for eight years. Mac Smotherman, Head of the Department of Theatre and Speech, explains Williams’ role in the production.
“Sound is an integral part to this production. He’s on the set in front of the audience while doing it as opposed to sitting in the back in a booth. He’s considered part of the cast,” Smotherman said.
As a student, Williams had roles in multiple department productions, studied abroad in the Czech Republic, and graduated magna cum laude. Smotherman remembers Williams as “very curious and intelligent.”
“He was an excellent student. Very perceptive. One time when I was directing him, I asked him to improve his entrance onto the stage. At first, he asked what I meant. But the next time he came to rehearsal, he understood me and made a terrific entrance. That takes an awareness that can’t be taught. I’m very proud of him,” he said.