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Zany to profound Advanced Directing Class upholds tradition

Scene from Making a Scene 2014

Photo by Elizabeth Dreher '14

Every spring semester students in the Advanced Directing Class each direct a one act play as a final project. The resulting presentation of these projects, called “Making a Scene,” has become something of an Radford University theatre tradition. And as regular audience members will attest, these promise a range of styles and subject matter with something for everyone. If the theme the class chose for the evenings is any indication, this year will be no exception.

“The class always has great fun choosing their theme,” says Wesley Young, RU theatre professor who is the instructor of the class. “And I know they are all very, very excited about showing their work.”

 “Hairy Backs, Head Wounds and Hoping for the Best” features six plays running three an evening on alternating nights under the direction of Grace Ellinghaus, Stuart Boyko, Stephanie Street, Ricky Parks, Parker Solomon and Kevin Schmidt.

Ellinghaus is a sophomore double majoring in theatre and media studies. Ellinghaus celebrates the show she is directing as her seventh production she has been involved in at Radford. “What I like most about my play are the characters,” she says. “It’s about a young woman trying to move on after the death of her abusive husband.” Ellinghaus adds that in spite of the seemingly serious subject, the contrasting personalities of the characters help create some comical situations.

“I’m really excited about the challenge that the show presents to me as an artist,” says Street, a senior theatre major. Street adds that the play centers on a wacky mother-son relationship that requires her to take a very serious subject and cut through it with comedy while maintaining the integrity of the show.

Senior Solomon’s directing project is her final curtain at RU. “It’s almost surreal,” Solomon says. She sees her play as being about two people whose relationship presents myriad possibilities and how that relationship is tested through time.

When asked what he likes most about directing, Parks, who is used to being an actor, says he loves being able to speak and work with actors in a way that is different from being an actor himself. “I like to see the play from a different perspective.” Parks, a senior theatre major, didn’t want to reveal much about his play other than to say it is about a man who hires a woman to come to his apartment.

Schmidt, a junior, is directing a play about a man who has to get in and out of the emergency room in time to meet with one of his biggest clients. For Schmidt it is a love of creating, “Being a director allows me to take all the aspects of theatre and mold them into an experience for the audience.”

Boyko is a graduating theatre major who has aspirations to work in film production. So, it is little wonder that he chose a play set against the making of a big movie. But he points out it relates to the frustrations and joys found in all creative endeavors.

Boyko sums up the excitement of the whole class of fledgling directors thus, “It’s so weird…what’s in my head is going to be up there [on the stage] and people are going to see it. It’s weird, but it’s awesome.”

“Hairy Backs, Head Wounds and Hoping for the Best,” an Evening of One Acts, opens April 30 and runs each evening at 7 p.m. through May 3 in the Hawes Studio Theatre, Porterfield Hall. Admission is free but tickets should be picked up at the Porterfield box office beginning Monday, April 28. These can also be reserved by calling 540-831-5289.

For more information about the RU Department of Theare, visit www.radford.edu/theatre.

Apr 28, 2014
Wesley Young

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