This semester has been full of sweet blessings. I coached and accompanied our Theatre Arts and Performance Studies Irene Ryan nominees to the Region 8 Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival in Oahu, Hawaii.
Our fall production of The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee that I directed was asked to participated in the Evening of Invited Scenes and we had 4 original cast members plus our Assistant Director present so we remounted two musical numbers to great response from the audience.
I am teaching Theatre and Society to a new cluster of students who are willingly walking through the inspirations of theatre artists historical and contemporary to gauge the relevance and social functions of theatre in our changing cultures. We flip the classroom with the help of a WordPress Blog on which they read/post about myriad theatre ideas and movements.
The Creative Arts Entrepreneurship Minor for which I developed a new course teaching The Creative Mind to business students was approved for next year!
Opera Workshop is developing another semester of beautiful vignettes from well-loved operas, operettas and early classical musicals. I am always so proud of the hard work and artistic growth that comes from the students in this interdisciplinary craft.
Once again I am the faculty advisor for the graduating Senior Projects. This year’s graduating class marks my 4th year at USD. These students started here when I started here. Among them are original plays, live radio theatre podcasts, and independent films. Two have collaborated on a Student Lab production of This Is Our Youth and are culminating their work into 1) a director’s reel and 2) a psychological examination of actors’ emotional journeys. The presentation of their work will be at the end of their semester and I will probably be all mushy-eyed as they walk across the platform to take their diplomas on May 22nd.
Finally we have initiated and are enjoying the first cast of Alpha Psi Omega, Alpha Eta Omega chapter here at USD. It is the national theatre honors society in which we have 11 members who have shown dedication of scholarship and craft to the department. We have outings to see shows, perform service for the department and the San Diego theatre community at large, and will be looking forward to more events and opportunities to spread the good-theatre-word as the society grows!
Get lost in the eyes of a child and discover that you know very little in the grand scheme of life.
I practice moments of simplicity to remove the noise of knowledge, ideas, and necessity that easily crowds our daily lives. Take your hands off the computer mouse. Set your feet flat on the floor in front of you. Place your hands, palms up on your knees and focus your eyes on one, undisrupted place in front of you. (Try not to let it be an image that makes you wander.) Expel all the air you have in your lungs. Let it all out. All of the air, gone. Then simply sit up. That’s it. Just bring your spine to an easy and upright position. The air you need falls in. You don’t have to “take a breath” or “inhale”. The simplicity of being is that your body already wants to “be” so it knows to let the air fall into your lungs. Rest in that practice for anywhere from 30 seconds to 2 minutes and be kind to yourself as you finish. Remind yourself that color and light are all around you effortlessly. Clarity comes from allowing yourself to see without prescribed understanding. Openness to not knowing will reveal new insight.
Courses this semester:
Theatre and Society
Voice and Speech
This semester my students will be developing life skills that transfer into any field, interpersonal relationships, spiritual discovery and global change making. As recipients of the USD Provost’s Enhanced Faculty Student Interaction fund, we will be traveling out of the classroom and into the audiences to see: BRIGHT STAR (The Old Globe), NEXT TO NORMAL (San Diego Musical Theatre), and FOOL FOR LOVE (Cygnet Theatre).
As part of the Theatre Arts and Performance Studies Lunchbox Series, we will host the 3rd annual Conversations with Alumni during Homecoming week. I look forward to seeing many of our theatre alumni and hearing their musings on life-after-USD.
Opera Workshop will perform a delightful program of music from such great compositions as The Marriage of Figaro, The Mikado, Abduction from the Seraglio, Fiddler on the Roof, and Into the Woods, and Candide. The performance on November 16th will be held in the Shiley Theatre at 2pm. Join us!
There are many exciting creative collaborations on the horizon for the coming spring, including the Theatre Management and Entrepreneurship class and Senior Projects, along with other developing projects.
Already my classes are fostering expressive and welcoming discussions and performances. The students are full of ideas, motivation and curiosity… what delight!
Returning to USD’s campus after this exciting summer, I am recharged for the fall semester. Over the summer I attended the annual conference of the Association for for Theatre in Higher Education (ATHE) in Scottsdale, Arizona. Notwithstanding the remarkable heat and phenomenal lightening storms, I presented a paper in a session titled: Let Them Dream The Impossible Dream. My paper discusses how educators can help enrich the theatre major’s training with entrepreneurial tools and business etiquette to navigate the often-unmapped desert of employment in the arts. Today’s college student is facing a delicate economic and uncertain career planning. With strategies and tools, graduates with theatre degrees can design a career either as an independent artist or as part of a larger organization – in the arts or ANY field. I am excited to be part of the vanguard of educators deciphering the necessity of this kind of education and developing a pedagogical approach to its introduction.
Theatre and Society classes participate in a flipped pedagogy of internet interactive learning by commenting on videos, exploring instructional media and taking online assessments.
A private WordPress group site of student created and commented blog entries.
Fall 2013 semester’s class made amazing group posts for their final projects which led to dynamic, well-crafted presentations that surprised these undergraduate, non-theatre majors and inspired many to get further involved in theatre either at USD or in their own towns!
Courses I’ll be teaching:
Opera Workshop (Musc 154 & 354)
Theatre and Society (Thea 111-01)
My two sections of Theatre and Society will be attending the Cygnet Theatre’s production of Spring Awakening through a grant of the Extended Faculty Student Interaction Fund from the USD Provost’s office.
From last semester’s Theatre Arts and Performance Studies (TAPS) production of The Spitfire Grill, actors Lauren Fisher, Mitchell Krassin and Monica Perfetto will be competing in Los Angeles at the 2014 Region VIII Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival for the Irene Ryan Acting Scholarship.
The lunchbox series features a 3-part series on clowning and the physical actor by Terry Glaser, and a specialized discussion of selecting, applying for and moving forward with graduate school by MFA program director, Rick Seer and TAPS professor Dr. Monica Stufft.
At the end of our semester, look forward to our 3rd annual End-of-the-year Bonfire at Fiesta Island!
Come by my new office (Camino 173) and say hello!
Courses I taught:
Acting for Musical Theatre (Thea 385), Theatre and Society (Thea 111-01), and Theatre Practicum (Thea 115, 116, 315, 316) for performance in THE SPITFIRE GRILL.
The TAPS fall musical production of THE SPITFIRE GRILL premiered in the newly renovated The Vassiliadis Family Black Box Theatre to packed houses every night of its two week run.
Lauren Fisher as Percy Talbott arrives at The Spitfire Grill while Joe convinces Hannah to take a chance
Monica Perfetto as Hannah Ferguson and Lauren Fisher as Percy Talbott size each other up in the first days at the Grill
Mitchell Krassin as Joe and Lauren Fisher as Percy find themselves willing to dream of what could be
Zach Jagielski as Eli heading of to war
John McCallie as Caleb standing up to the ghost of Eli
Caroline Vigneron as Shelby allows herself to see the Colors of Paradise that Gilead has always shown
Lauren Fisher as Percy Talbott begins to see the Colors of Paradise in Gilead
Friends in the Spitfire Grill are whipped up into a dance of fun
Mitchell Krassin as Sheriff Joe tells Percy about the missing the outbound train and staying in Gilead
Monica Perfetto as Hannah Ferguson finally decides to risk it all.
Everything worth doing takes effort. I’ve come into a time when I can apply my passion for being of service to others with my lifelong engagement in the arts. Between my teaching, performing and learning, I find moments of clarity, strength, and inspiration that carry me into the next adventure. I am grateful for all that I have been offered in life and love.