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It's a new year and a new quarter. At the School of Drama that means new classes and new opportunities. It's only fitting that we get to welcome 2014 with new work. During the first week of the quarter, graduate students immersed themselves in workshops with visiting artist Whit MacLaughlin, artistic director of New Paradise Laboratories in Philadelphia. Then, for our first show of winter quarter, student-director Tina Polzin stages the world premiere of EM Lewis' Reading to Vegetables. All that just in the first month. It's going to be a full and fulfilling 2014!
In this issue:
Reading to Vegetables
The opportunity to bring a brand new play from page to stage is rare for student directors. With Reading to Vegetables, Tina Polzin, a student in our Professional Director Training Program (PDTP), will work directly with Portland-based playwright EM Lewis to create a Hitchcockian world of suspense on stage for the very first time. Inspired by Milgram’s famous “Obedience to Authority Studies” of the 1960s, this psychological thriller centers on a pre-med student, working as a research assistant, who poses as a coma victim. Her test subjects unwittingly share their secrets, and when a terrible accident occurs, the audience is left to decide who is responsible.
A post-show talk with EM Lewis will be held on Saturday, February 1.
Tina Polzin moved to Seattle just a few months before receiving her acceptance into the UW MFA Directing program. “I believe in actualizing what you want and I am really happy with the way my choices manifested themselves.” Now, in the middle of her second year, Polzin is directing the world premiere of EM Lewis’s Reading to Vegetables. She took time out of a busy schedule to talk about what drives her to direct, the lessons she’s learning, and what the future may hold.
Why did you propose Reading to Vegetables for your main stage project?
I wanted to work on new plays this year and Ellen is a fabulous writer. I am drawn to plays that have a strong social or political message told through a very human story, and I like them to be entertaining. Vegetables unfolds like a Hitchcockian thriller – you know something happens at the beginning, you just don’t know what until the end.
What are the advantages of pursuing an MFA?
You get feedback in a constructive and concise way, and then you have the time to apply it and get more feedback. You have time to devote just to art. I knew I would have the concentrated time to work on my craft and figure out how to better it, and in bettering it be able to sustain myself with my art.
What are the companies you’d like to work with in the future?
I really like that The Rep and ACT foster local artists. I appreciate places that have new works, hire local artists, have a connection to their community, and are also giving their community a broader view. I’d like to find a place where I continually make work that I and my fellow artists believe in and that is affecting a community of which we are a part.
Read our full interview with Tina here.
Theatre from the Inside Out Dinner Event
In this highly interactive presentation, Andrew McMasters (PATP '95) demonstrates the lessons of improvisational theater and discusses how his workshops with businesses help drive creativity and innovation. His presentations cover creativity and problem solving, brainstorming, reframing situations, accepting change as opportunity, and stimulating creative thought and vision.
Andrew is a leading expert in experiential learning, working with theatrical techniques to help participants learn through the use of fun and laughter. Andrew holds a BA in Theater from Temple University and an MFA in Drama from the UW, as well as a certificate in Arts Management. Originally from Philadelphia, he relocated to Seattle in 1990 where he met Mike Christensen and started Jet City Improv. He works nationally as an actor, and has taught improv and theater internationally.
Reefer Madness is a musical satire of a 1936 anti-marijuana propaganda film of the same name. It chronicles the story of high school student, Jimmy, whose life unravels after being introduced to marijuana. The musical portrays the dangers of drugs and addiction with an over-the-top comedic twist.
Last month, Holly Arsenault (BA '01) was named by The Seattle Times as one of the 13 for '13 people poised to shape the arts in the Pacific Northwest. As Executive Director of Teen Tix, Holly works to connect young people with the arts through discounted tickets, workshops, and a Teen Press Corps.
Many of our alumni were honored theatrical excellence by the Seattle Times Footlight Awards. Highlights include Trouble in Mind and Broke-ology named as Top Mainstage Plays. Both were directed by faculty member and alumna Valerie Curtis-Newton (MFA '96). Pamela Reed (PATP '75), Amanda Zarr (PATP '09), and Richard Nguyen Sloniker (PATP '09) were honored for their Great Performances. Jocelyn Maher (BA '13) was recognized as a Fresh Face. Jennifer Lupton (MFA '80) and Andrea Bryn Bush (MFA '07 and staff) were recognized for their Dazzling Designs. Congratulations to all our alumni!
Photo by Erika Schultz/The Seattle Times
Wednesday, January 22
January 23-February 2
January 29-February 9
Saturday, February 1
For a full list of upcoming shows and events, visit drama.uw.edu
Banner Photo Credit: Anna Lamadrid in Reading to Vegetables (© Mike Hipple)
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