posted by School of Theatre Faculty & Staff on 1/26/2013
The live tweet is in progess, follow @TheatreOCU to learn more about technical rehearsals for School of Theatre productions #AaronLightingProf #HeadofDnP #ProfAsselin and more
Designing Treasure Island
posted by School of Theatre Faculty & Staff on 1/23/2013
The design process for Treasure Island was a little different compared to other period shows I’ve done because the “storybook” nature of pirates and Treasure Island were more important to the director and design team than true realism. The novel Treasure Island is one of the most dramatized books of all time, which means that our audience’s understanding and ideas of pirates will stem from classic stereotypes. We focused more on the "fantastic" qualities of the story, and this gave way to more emotional and abstract research than literal or historical during our design process.
My favorite design aspect of Treasure Island was the decision to set the story on a sharp, rough, rocky terrain, as opposed to a tropical island beach. We wanted to reintroduce both the novelty of pirates as well as the potential for danger and terror they imply. By setting it in a dark, harsh landscape, we chose to emphasize the feelings of aggression and unpredictability.
OCU is great about allowing us opportunities early on so that student designers and technicians are given the chance to grow as much as possible in their time here. The sheer number of productions we work on allows students to collaborate with so many different combinations of people that we are truly pushed to our potential and every new creation shows growth from the last.
The wealth of creative ideas within the OCU production team never ceases to amaze me. The ideas truly come from everyone and our need for collaboration runs deep. I love how involved everyone can be and that some of my best choices weren't initially my ideas, but developed from conversations with other designers or the director.
Senior, BFA Design/Production major – scene design emphasis
Scenic Designer for Treasure Island
Join us for a live tweet of a technical rehearsal at OCU on Sat Jan 26th
posted by School of Theatre Faculty & Staff on 1/22/2013
Check out what a typical technical rehearsal is like for TheatreOCU students. This Saturday January 26th, join us as we’ll be live tweeting our 10 out of 12 technical rehearsal for Treasure Island, the spring co-production between TheatreOCU and Oklahoma Children’s Theatre.
The student designers, stage manager, faculty and other technicians will tweet throughout the day. Check in to find out what a typical technical rehearsal is like for students at TheatreOCU. We’ll get started at 10:00am on Saturday.
Follow us @TheatreOCU
Head of Design & Production
Design/Production students at USITT-SW Winter Symposium
posted by School of Theatre Faculty & Staff on 1/19/2013
A group of OCU Theatre Design and Production students and faculty are at the 2013 USITT-SW Winter Symposium in Huntsville, TX this weekend. Three students entered their designs in the student design and technology competition:
Sydney Russell, scenic design for Another Part of the House
Jeff Sherwood, sound design for Another Part of the House
Jason Stewart, sound design for A Christmas Carol
They’re eligible for lots of cool prizes, including a free trip to the USITT National Conference in Milwaukee this March. They are also participating in a variety of workshops including: Rendering, Mask Making, Puppet Building, Projections, Color Theory, and Signal Flow for Audio. The symposium is a great venue for networking and making connections to new colleagues as well as potential jobs.
And the spring semester begins!
posted by School of Theatre Faculty & Staff on 1/18/2013
TheatreOCU is back in full swing! The spring semester has started and we already have four shows in rehearsal. Treasure Island (a co-production with Oklahoma Children’s Theatre) was back to rehearsal a few days before classes started and the sword fighting is to die for. Barber of Seville (the first Opera of the semester) has begun music rehearsals and will be moving into staging rehearsals this coming week. In addition to our main stage season, our first two Stage II’s of the semester, Julius Caesar and As Bees in Honey Drown, are in full swing! Auditions for the final three Stage II’s and the spring OCUEdge season will finish up this weekend. And to top it off, we cast The NYC Senior Showcase. This is an opportunity for our students to audition in front of some of the biggest casting agents in NY this summer!
It’s been a busy first week for our design and production areas as well. In addition to all of the production work, our Design and Production students have been working on their KCACTF (Kennedy Center American Collegiate Theatre Festival) presentations. In addition, several of our students are off to present and attend seminars at the USITT Southwest Symposium in Huntsville, TX this weekend.
As always we’re keeping busy but loving every moment! The excitement of the new semester is always amazing: new opportunities, new goals for every student, and a chance to try out new ideas and make big design choices.
Happy New Year from the Production Management office, and Happy Spring Semester from TheatreOCU!
posted by School of Theatre Faculty & Staff on 11/8/2012
Three years ago the presidents of APO and USITT decided to try something new and unheard of. The theatre technicians and the actors took a step outside of the theatre building and signed up to be a part of OCU’s annual Homecoming events. I’ve participated for the past three years, and have led the team for the past two. Our team has expanded to three organizations, led by the students of USITT (the theatre design & production students), along with Alpha Psi Omega (the theatre honors society), and Spectrum (the universities LGBT organization). We participate in many events amongst the Greek houses and other small organizations to show our OCU pride and passion.
Homecoming is a way for us to use our creativity in a completely different way. We spend many nights together as a team planning and creating school spirited designs. Our organization’s favorite event is the “Spirit Structures” (essentially a float that stays in one location). Over the course of 5 days, with approximately 10 people helping out, we created an oversized “GAME OF LIFE: The OCU Edition”. The board includes squares from the very first day you get to campus to the day you graduate. It has 3D buildings, a tangible spinner to play the game, and includes several elements that the committee required us to incorporate creatively.
As the Homecoming Chair for our group, I led the group in the designs, gathering materials and people to help. With so many rehearsals going on at once, finding time and gathering people to help out is difficult. But, after three years, we have team members that love Homecoming so much that they’re willing to spend their nights outside painting float, or working of props, or spend the night learning dances! As the week comes to a close on my Senior Year Homecoming I can honestly say some of the best memories I will take away from college comes from Homecoming week each year.
Thoughts from a student costume designer
posted by School of Theatre Faculty & Staff on 9/30/2012
As the Costume Designer for Another Part of the House, my process included design meetings with the director and other designs, the creation of the rendering to communicate my vision to the costume shop, fittings, and dress rehearsals. The process starts with design meetings where the director, Sarah, told us her vision and concept for the show and where she wanted to go with it. From there I collected images of the time period as well as images that inspired me for color, texture, shape, and mood. The time period was set in the Victorian era, 1895, the inspiration images consisted of pictures of heat, mourning, the Cuban culture, and family.
I developed a set of sketches that were what I saw the costumes looking like and Sarah picked her favorites. Then I created my final renderings, which were the designs to communicate to everyone working on the show that this is what the costumes are going to look like. Then I started to go to storage to pull some already made garments that would work for the shop and I went fabric shopping for the pieces I wanted to build.
The next step was to call the actors in for fittings. Part of the Victorian era's aesthetic is a form fitting waist, therefore the actors needed to come prepared with their corsets or we couldn't fit them because their costume wouldn't fit.
After the show was assembled and the garments made we had a dress parade which was a great time for me because I got to see what the costumes look like under show light and what all the actors look like as an ensemble wearing the costumes. Then came the dress rehearsal involving hair and makeup and getting the actors familiar with when and where their costume changes were. Finally, we opened the show and we had many fresh pairs of eyes watching our creations as a whole.
Another Part of the House was the biggest and best learning experience for me, I'm only a sophomore so I felt excited and nervous at first but I had a great support team and the show was a success. I'm very proud of myself.
After I graduate from OCU, I'd like to work for a company touring a show as a dresser or working on a cruise ship. Then I'd like to go to graduate school, and eventually become the resident costume designer for a professional theatre company.
Thoughts from a student stage manager
posted by School of Theatre Faculty & Staff on 9/30/2012
It’s the final weekend of Another Part of the House and as we close up this production I can easily say this has been a journey I won’t forget! I was lucky enough to begin my process many months ago during the design process. I always find being part of the design process is fantastic, especially in an abstract production such as APOTH. Hearing how our small Black Box space was going to be transformed into a 6-room house helped me as I began my own prep work. The spatial limitations were really important for me to take into consideration as the stage management team began working out entrances and exits, costume quick changes, deck changes, and prop hand offs. Through the rehearsal process our team worked very closely with our director to come up with creative solutions for being quiet backstage as well as onstage transitions and tracking the performers props from room to room.
When we moved into the space and began layering in the lights and sounds the show was brought to a new dimension. We had a few unique challenges as a stage management team to overcome, such as a booth where only part of the stage was visible. The production team worked together to solve the challenges and the show has been running for a week so far.
For me this was an adventure because this was the first piece of contemporary “magical realism” I’ve had the thrill to work on. Being surrounded by performers who were embodying this genre added a different vibe to our process and how we worked within our rehearsal space. Now off to finish up this spectacular run!
Thoughts on the second show of our season, Another Part of the House
posted by School of Theatre Faculty & Staff on 9/18/2012
“Another Part of the House” by Midgalia Cruz is a re-imagined version of Lorca’s original play “House of Bernarda.” After the death of her second husband, the matron Bernarda forces her five daughters into an eight-year period of mourning; her obsession with appearances and the repression of her daughters’ desires lead inevitably to tragedy. Cruz has remained true to Lorca’s plot-driven story while doing away with his smoldering metaphors and understated style. Instead, Cruz shows an unflinchingly provocative version of Lorca’s characters who reveal how women respond when confronted with love, sex and jealously. According to Cruz, "It's about how women give up their power to men and desire, especially when they can't be out and open about who they are and who they love."
Cruz moves the setting from Spain to the town of Santa Clara, Cuba during the months of February-June 1895. Cruz employs a historic metaphor with her choice of time and place paralleling the start of the second Cuban revolution against Spain. Santa Clara was a key location in the revolution, and there is a monument dedicated to Che Guarvara in present day Santa Clara. Cruz also moves the play into a mixed genre of realism, surrealism and Indigenous storytelling (i.e. “Magical Realism” in Euro-American terms). Cruz synchronizes time and place (many scenes occur simultaneously); while “place” itself (the house) serves as a driving force of action /character. She also incorporates instances of the unseen and interactions with otherworldly realms; and uses Lorca’s poetry as songs to underscore character development and action. Cruz’ specific choice to relocate the story to Santa Clara Cuba on the eve of its revolution against Spain contributes to the notion of “place” as another character and serves as a parallel to the rebellion brewing inside Bernarda’s house. The directorial expanded use of sound harkens’ to Lorca’s penchant for the use of sound in live performance and contributes to the surreal moments in the action.
The biggest change in Cruz’s version involves the characters. One of the Reparto’s in Santa Clara is named “Villa Josefa” which likely inspired Cruz to tell the story through the eyes Bernarda's crazy mother Maria Josefa, who makes only brief appearances in the original. In “Another Part of the House” Maria Josefa drives the action, pushing her granddaughter Adela to run away with Pepe el Romano, with whom all the sisters are obsessed. Pepe, unseen in Lorca’s play, now appears here, mute but in the flesh, an instrument controlled by Maria Josefa the grandmother. He shape-shifts between a lamb and a human who appears mute throughout the play and serves the dramaturgical element of the unseen other-worldliness.
According to Teresa Guitterez, of WLS-TV “Another Part of the House, originally a play by Lorca, “turns the original inside out so that all the rooms are exposed.” The word “exposed” is central to the artistic notion this production and translates to the design, look and feel of the show. This notion also extends into the very selection of this show to open the celebration of our 90th year of performance on the campus. It is a rare for a university campus to demonstrate its devotion to diversity as reflected by its theatre season offerings. Thanks to our department visionaries, Lance Marsh and David Herendeen ours is one of the few actor training programs in the nation dedicated to producing culturally-specific performance with student artists of color from our School of Theatre and our School of Music. This practice “exposes” our students, campus community and audiences to a range of performance styles while showcasing the talent of our diverse student artists within our performance programs.
A typical weekend at TheatreOCU
posted by School of Theatre Faculty & Staff on 9/15/2012
It's a typical Saturday for School of Theatre students, faculty, and staff at Oklahoma City University. At 2:15pm we have the following going on:
- I'm watching the first tech rehearsal for Another Part of the House, the second show of TheatreOCU's 90th anniversary season. The production features a cast and production crew of our students, it's entirely designed by Theatre Design & Production majors (scenery, costumes, lighting, sound, and props) and has a student stage management team.
- There's a lighting focus call going on in the Kirkpatrick Theatre for the musical Legally Blonde. Our students are working with Professor Aaron Mooney and our Master Electrician Heidi Hamilton in preparations for tech next weekend.
- Legally Blonde is in rehearsal today, under the direction of Dr. David Herendeen, the all-student cast, and student Stage Management team is putting the finishing touches on the show before moving into the theatre tomorrow for spacing.
- TheatreOCU's first show of this season, a co-production with Oklahoma Shakespeare in the Park, Othello opened last night at the Myriad Garden's Water Stage in downtown Oklahoma City. Directed by Lance Marsh (Artistic Director for TheatreOCU) and starring Kevin Asselin (our Professor of Movement/Fight Choreography) as Iago. The cast, crew, and management team features many School of Theatre students. They have another performance tonight at 8pm.
- TheatreOCU's third production of the 90th season, Angels in America, has just begun rehearsals downstairs in Studio A. They have a welcomed day off today, but will be back at it tomorrow at 1pm.
- Our first Stage II production of the year Betrayal, directed by senior undergraduate BFA Acting major Marisa Lerman, is well into rehearsals. Betrayal will move into the Black Box Theatre right after Another Part of the House.
We have four productions in rehearsal this weekend, and one in performance already. Our students keep busy at Oklahoma City University. If you like to stay busy working in the Theatre, take a look at what else we have going on this season: http://www2.okcu.edu/Theatre/TheatreOCU/
Head of Design & Production
Cheese & Crack
posted by School of Theatre Faculty & Staff on 9/13/2012
Congratulations to 2010 BFA Acting graduate William Steuernagel on the success of his Portland-based business, Cheese & Crack. Beginning in the Summer of 2012, Cheese & Crack prepares gourmet cheese, charcuterie, and homemade crackers, and incorporates an increasingly popular urban trend: the food cart. The marriage of these two ideas has propelled Cheese & Crack amongst the most delectable Portland eateries.
Steuernagel has already received accolades from Food Carts Portland, has been named amongst Portland's best new food carts of 2012 in The Oregonian, and has been deemed a "food truck that breaks the mold" by Culture Magazine: The Word on Cheese.
Cheese & Crack expounds on the basic idea of a lunchable from our childhood days. The difference is quality. Steuernagel makes all of the crackers from scratch each day, and he purchases his cheeses, etc. from the local market. He then packages them in a box to grab on the go. Each box costs $8 and allows the patron to choose a base of one stye of homemade cracker, two items from a selection of local and imported cheeses and cured meats, a side of either pickled items or seasonal fruits, and to top it all off either a mint or a spread.
For more information on Cheese & Crack, visit the website at www.cheeseandcrack.com.
posted by School of Theatre Faculty & Staff on 9/6/2012
Congratulations to Dr. David Pasto who has been recently published in the International Journal of the Humanities (Volume 9; Issue 10).
Dr. Pasto's article "The Ethics of the Postmodern Science Play" examines the issue that although science plays depict different scientific fields (physics, chemistry, astronomy, biology, etc.), they all depict similar ethical issues related to science. Science plays tend not only to portray scientists and scientific theories, but also to dramatize the ethics of science. This paper defines the term "science play" and then discusses the ethical issues raised in postmodern science plays. These issues include the obsessive pursuit of science which causes scientists to ignore their families, the competitive nature of scientists, and the effects (both known and unforseen) of scientific discoveries on society.
Oklahoma City University School of Theatre (TheatreOCU) produces one science play per year in their regular mainstage season. Last year, TheatreOCU produced "The Farnsworth Invention" by Aaron Sorkin, which told the story of the competitive race to distinguish the physics behind the production of the first television. In this years's 2012-2013 Mainstage Season, TheatreOCU is producing "Gray's Anatomy" by Spalding Gray which follows the story of Spalding Gray's ever-widening search for a cure for an unusual eye disorder.
Dr. Pasto has a BA from Cornell University, MA from the University of Pittsburgh, and PhD from the Univeristy of Michigan. As a Professor of Theatre at Oklahoma City University, he teaches theatre history, dramaturgy, acting, and directing. He has published articles and given presentations on Spanish Golden Age Theatre, as well as publishing his translation of "The House of Trials" by Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz. He recently created an arts integration course entitled "Science on the Stage" and has given presentations about the course at conferences at the University of Oxford and in Washington, D.C. While at the Association for Theatre in HIgher Education conference in Washington, D.C. earlier this August, Dr. Pasto also performed the role of the comic servant in a staged reading of "The Force of Habit," a new translation of a Spanish play.
Fast and Furious
posted by School of Theatre Faculty & Staff on 8/21/2012
We finished the second day of classes today and things are already moving fast and furious. In addition to classes, there has been a lot of production work going on. Our first mainstage production, Another Part of the House, began rehearsals last night and the set is already down to final paint notes. We have completed auditions for Christmas Carol and our Stage II's and we are onto callbacks. Design meetings for Angels in America and the opera Dialogues of the Carmalites are well under way. Legally Blonde is in auditions and set construction is underway. We pride ourselves on the work ethic of our students, staff and faculty and this year is no exception. Did I mention that our co-production of Othello with Oklahoma Shakespeare in the Park is in rehearsals on campus?
The train has left the station.
Stage and Production Management
The train has just blown through...
posted by School of Theatre Faculty & Staff on 8/16/2012
It's the beginning of the fall 2012 semester, we've done the Theatre freshmen orientation, we've plugged in open design/production assignments, we've had a meeting or thirteen already, we already have one set loaded in and are starting construction on the next, this is how we roll.
I recently discovered that our blog was activated while we were in Washington DC, and the 1st two posts made it. Well, Te Ata went very well, our students did a great job, and fun was had by all. We made it back just fine, the set has been sent off to storage with the Chickasaw Nation, thanks to the Nation for their support on our co-pro.
We're excited about classes kicking off next week; the upperclassmen are returning as we speak, auditions start on Sunday, I just sent out a slew of production meeting invites for Another Part of the House, Legally Blonde, Angels in America and the list goes on. We stay busy at TheatreOCU. Looking forward to an exciting fall...now I have color elevations to work on.
Head of Design/Production
Lyric Theatre Partnership
posted by School of Theatre Faculty & Staff on 7/19/2012
This summer, Lyric Theatre of Oklahoma has kept OCU students, faculty, staff, and almni busy on its four musical theatre shows at the Civic Center Music Hall. The season has already featured Bye Bye Birdie
and Sweet Charity
. Irving Berlin's Call Me Madam
opens next Tuesday, July 24th, and Broadway legend, Chita Rivera, rounds out the season with a live concert August 7-11. For tickets, visit http://lyrictheatreokc.com/lyric-at-the-civic-center/shows or call (405) 524-9312.
Jeff Cochran (Professor of Stage and Production Management) is serving as the seasons Production Stage Manager. Working alongside him are Assistant Stage Managers Becca Koopferstock (BFA Theatre Design/Production '13) and Kathrine Mitchell (BFA Theatre Design/Production '13). Brian Hamilton (Adjunct Voice Teacher) is the Assistant Music Director, Emily Ritter (Entertainment Business '12) is the season Assistant Company Manager. Elizabeth Rescinito (Entertainment Business '13) is working as the Props Assistant, and Jeff Sherwood (BFA Theatre Design/Production '14) is working as the Assistant to the Sound Designer. Charlie Monnot (Registar) is performing in the cast of Call Me Madam.
Performing in the cast and ensemble from the School of Theatre are Alex Enterline, Tanner Hanley, and Leslie Coffman. Performing in the cast and ensemble from the Wanda Bass School of Music are Molly Rushing, Elliot Mattox, Darius Wright, Sheridan McMichael, and James Shackelford. Performing in the cast and ensemble from the School of Dance and Arts Management are Lauren Johnson, Hannah Killebrew, Natasha Scearse, Ben Lanham, and Matthew Sipress.
posted by School of Theatre Faculty & Staff on 7/1/2012
Yep, we're here. Yesterday was a long one, from the 6:20am OKC flight until we called it a night at 10pm in DC last night. Load-in was a little more complicated than we had planned on it going (aka the semi-truck did not fit into the loading dock), but we have a great crew of students and staff here who rolled with the changes. The set is in, the light plot is virtually complete, we'll start focus in the morning. We haven't had a chance to see much in DC yet, hopefully in a day or two. The cast arrives tomorrow and our first tech/dress will be Tuesday night. Looking forward to it. Have a good night.
T-minus 7 hours (11pm Friday night)
posted by School of Theatre Faculty & Staff on 6/29/2012
The OCU/Te Ata tour kicks off tomorrow morning. We're taking our summer production of the play Te Ata to the Rasmuson Theatre in the National Museum of the American Indian at the Smithsonian Institution. The crew's flight to Washington DC departs at 6:20am, can't wait for that early departure. Let's see if all of the students make it to their shuttle pick up at 4:45am. Tomorrow's going to be a long day. We're scheduled to meet the semi truck with the set, costumes, and lighting gear in DC about 4:30pm, then load-in until about 10pm. Wish us luck. Good night.