By Veronica Morales—
(Updated on Jan. 27 @ 3:30 p.m.)
On Jan. 19, the Tarleton State University Theatre Department conducted auditions for the first round of student directed one-act plays in the Clyde H. Wells Fine Arts Center.
Theatre students Morgan Hill, Sarah McGrath and Jesus Rodriguez conducted their first auditions as directors for the advanced directing course offered at Tarleton.
“These plays serve as a capstone experience for theatre majors. It is an opportunity for students to direct a full production prior to graduation. Many of our students go on to teach high school, and this experience is very much like they might have with UIL One-Act Play. The students select, pay all royalties, audition, cast and direct the plays. Most of the students are seniors,” said Mark Holtorf, Associate Professor of Theatre Arts.
Directing is a common course taught at most universities that offer a degree in theatre. This course has been at Tarleton for over 28 years and has been taught by Holtorf for the past 10 years. Holtorf, who has been at Tarleton since 1988, has experience in different areas of theatre, from building sets and setting lights to performing and directing.
“We offer a BFA, Bachelors of Fine Arts, Theatre Generalist degree. Our philosophy is that, at the undergraduate level, a student needs a broad foundation in all aspects of this diverse art form. Students will take classes and put laboratory hours in everything from hanging lights to building scenery and costumes to performance as well as the more academic classes such as Theatre History, Theatrical Criticism and Shakespeare. Other schools that offer a BFA require students to concentrate. This is typically in the areas of Design, Technical or Acting and Directing,” said Holtorf.
Due to the small size of the theatre department, advanced directing is only taught on an every-other-year basis. One-act plays take place in the spring semester of even numbered years, making this semester different from the previous three.
This is a new experience for many students who often work in areas other than directing. For many students, this course serves as an opportunity to gain experience in directing plays similar to those commonly done in high schools.
“I usually stage manage and do lighting, but I hope to gain a different outlook on the theatre background. I usually work with the director through stage managing and lighting, but with this, I’m the director, and I have to work with the actors, and I make the decisions. Decision making is a big part of it,” said McGrath, Director of Woman and Scarecrow.
Morgan Hill, Director of All Hallows Eve, said, “I hope to add another notch under my belt on another aspect and facet of theatre and understanding and overall being well-rounded knowledge theatre person, because I do hope to one day teach theatre and make sure I bring to my students every possible thing that I can to help them.”
Woman and Scarecrow, All Hallows Eve and The Brothers Grimm Spectaculathon (directed by Rodriguez) will open to the public on Saturday, Feb. 13, at 1:00 p.m. in the workshop theatre of the Clyde H. Wells Fine Arts Center. The plays will run back-to-back and are free of cost.
Four different student directed plays will be presented Saturday, April 16.