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The Sustainability and Safety of Student Stage Managers in Educational Theatre

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An auto-ethnographic overview of the author's personal experiences in professional and educational stage management in Arizona. Provides a critique of ASU's stage management program and offers solutions to improve the sustainability and safety of student stage managers.

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2020-12

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Pandora: A Play by Abbey Toye

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Pandora is a play exploring our relationship with gendered technology through the lens of artificial intelligence. Can women be subjective under patriarchy? Do robots who look like women have subjectivity? Hoping to create a better version of ourselves, The Engineer

Pandora is a play exploring our relationship with gendered technology through the lens of artificial intelligence. Can women be subjective under patriarchy? Do robots who look like women have subjectivity? Hoping to create a better version of ourselves, The Engineer must navigate the loss of her creation, and Pandora must navigate their new world. The original premiere run was March 27-28, 2018, original cast: Caitlin Andelora, Rikki Tremblay, and Michael Tristano Jr.

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2018-05

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The Stories We Tell: A Comparison of How Attic and American Tragedy Have Shaped Cultural Narratives

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The purpose of this paper is to explore what can broadly be described as the "American cultural narrative" by investigating and analyzing a particular element of American culture, the tragic play. In this paper, fifth-century Athenian and twentieth-century American tragedies

The purpose of this paper is to explore what can broadly be described as the "American cultural narrative" by investigating and analyzing a particular element of American culture, the tragic play. In this paper, fifth-century Athenian and twentieth-century American tragedies are placed side by side, investigated, and analyzed with the hope of discovering aspects of the genre that are unique to American playwrights and might teach us something about the way in which we, as Americans, are separated culturally from others. The paper begins by analyzing the nature of the tragic genre before detailing how it has played a similar role here in the United States as it played in fifth-century Athens. Then, by analyzing primary texts, I seek to identify those unique aspects of the American form of the genre that reveal new insight into the American cultural narrative. The paper concludes by suggesting that the greatest insight that the tragic genre has to offer is that personal redemption and individualism are unique to American tragedy, suggesting that they might be unique aspects of the American cultural narrative.

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2018-05

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Original Sin: A New Play and Poetry Collection

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Original Sin is a new play and poetry collection that tells the stories of mythological women and femmes, including Eve, Niobe, Queen Isis, Hera, Athena, Demeter, Ganymede, and Persephone. The words are comprised of the monologues of living women interviewed

Original Sin is a new play and poetry collection that tells the stories of mythological women and femmes, including Eve, Niobe, Queen Isis, Hera, Athena, Demeter, Ganymede, and Persephone. The words are comprised of the monologues of living women interviewed specifically for the purposes of this project, fighting to "take their stories back" from the monolithic male voices which have held them fast. These words were converted into a free verse poetic series of monologues intended to be presented on the stage. At its core, Original Sin is about the relationship between hope and loss, and how empowerment is born from their collision. Original Sin was first written, directed and staged by Emily Adams at Binary Theatre Company in Tempe, Arizona. The first production opened at the Prism Space on February 23rd, 2018.

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2018-05

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Reveal

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Reveal follows the story of high school student Jason as he navigates the hardships of high school and the personal hardships of sexual identity. The thesis was created through research of other LGBTQ performers and interviews conducted on campus. It

Reveal follows the story of high school student Jason as he navigates the hardships of high school and the personal hardships of sexual identity. The thesis was created through research of other LGBTQ performers and interviews conducted on campus. It includes a one-act script followed by a list of the sources that I used to further my writing experience.

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2018-05

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More than a Moving Backdrop: Projection Design in Theatre

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More than a Moving Backdrop: Projection Design in Theatre is comprised of two parts, a research paper and a guidebook. This thesis is about using media/projection design, in conjunction with other elements of design, to create the world of the

More than a Moving Backdrop: Projection Design in Theatre is comprised of two parts, a research paper and a guidebook. This thesis is about using media/projection design, in conjunction with other elements of design, to create the world of the story on stage and take the storytelling to the next level. The research paper starts with information about unique opportunities offered through media, including using media as a new way to tell old stories and a way to bring cinematic elements, such as rapidly switching locations, into the theatre. This information is followed by an examination of a few disadvantages of using media in theatre. Some of these include the expense of the technology required to use media, the steep learning curve with the necessary software and hardware, and the fact that media can very easily become a distraction for the audience. The paper then covers ways to use media design with a purpose beyond simply setting location with examples from recent Broadway productions. Some of these methods include using media as a way to bring the audience into the mind of the main character, such as in Dear Evan Hansen. Another way to use media is for accessibility, such as projecting supertitles, which can be seen in the recent revival of Spring Awakening through Deaf West Theatre. In this production, the supertitles are integrated into the design and fit the aesthetic of the rest of the production. The third example mentioned in this paper is using media as a backdrop to support the production's aesthetic, such as in Anastasia. This section is followed by an analysis of three personal experiences as a media designer. The research portion of the thesis concludes with thoughts about where media could go in the future, given media's basis in rapidly evolving technology. The second part of this thesis is a guidebook, created specifically for college age directors and media designers. The guidebook starts with a brief history of media design in theatre and uses of media outside of theatre. Next, the guidebook contains the same information and examples about using media with purpose from the research portion, translated from more academic language, to more easily digestible language. This is followed by a large section, specifically directed toward media designers, about collaboration with other designers. This section is filled with information and advice gathered from personal experience and surveys sent to fellow designers. The guidebook ends with an advice section from and to directors and media designers about working together and creating a common language to collaborate successfully. Hopefully the guide will help ease trepidations for working with media design.

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Date Created
2018-05

One-Act Play and Creative Processes

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This creative piece aims to blend theatre writing with my father’s career of professional golf. Research was conducted through interviews, scholarly articles, and conversations between my thesis director and second reader. In the search for information and answers, I found

This creative piece aims to blend theatre writing with my father’s career of professional golf. Research was conducted through interviews, scholarly articles, and conversations between my thesis director and second reader. In the search for information and answers, I found the connection between my written style and personal experiences. This is important to me as a writer and any other aspiring writer, because it helps analyze strengths and create a more impactful story.

This entire creative piece is a testament to pursue writing in the film and theatre industry, and acts as a student’s own personal take on how creative writing can be developed, analyzed, and improved. The scope of this project was to better understand modern writing and playwrights by creating my own piece. The general findings in this project demonstrated the high difficulty that storytelling demands. Specifically, linking dialogue in plays to meaningful character development.

As such, a major conclusion indicates that masterful script writing falls on each character being fully developed so that they may move through scenes and the plot with the proper emotional stakes.

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2019-05

A Plot Discovered

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Thomas Otway’s Classic, A Plot Discovered through my own theatrical adaptive process: an exploration of the relationship between power, gender, drugs, music, love, and violence. Conceptually, the piece was adapted into two worlds. The first, a blatant, elizabethan, contrastingly intense

Thomas Otway’s Classic, A Plot Discovered through my own theatrical adaptive process: an exploration of the relationship between power, gender, drugs, music, love, and violence. Conceptually, the piece was adapted into two worlds. The first, a blatant, elizabethan, contrastingly intense world of realism. The second, a black light neon fueled frenzy of storytelling through song and choreographed movement. The presence of these two worlds living side by side resulting in a deeper look at the effect of drug use on how we perceive our social, political, economic, and emotional climates. The proposed (and completed) time frame for adaption of the play is two semesters, followed by a semester of pre production, casting, designing, directing, and producing. The show went up in the Prism Theatre through Binary Theatre Company April 12th, 14th, and 15th, with an extension to the next weekend by popular demand.
The purpose of this project stands: An idea that sparks a passion, idea, or question in the audience that ties directly into our current political discussion, while remaining integral to the academic world, serving as one of the most concentrated locations of permission to think openly and ask difficult questions. A Plot Discovered in particular achieves this by asking what it means to have power and to not, to be a man in another man’s world, to be a woman in any man’s world, to be neither really man or woman but somewhere in between, the consequences of dictatorship and revolution, why the human condition loves to get high, as well as the devotion and blindness of love on three different levels: friendship, romance, and family. These themes serve the script as it was written in all three of the applied timelines (it’s original 1600s, the adapted 1970s, and our current) leading to the biggest question of them all, do we as humans really evolve or is it a mere illusion painted by our ability to enhance the environment around us?
The desire to adapt A Plot Discovered came during a conversation with my peers during a semester spent studying classical drama at Oxford University. As we debated the themes of the play, a guitarist played post Vietnam War era music in the street below echoing up the cobblestone street and entering our dining hall window. The result was an artistic revelation that would drive my passion into this project for the next two years. Rewriting, designing, casting, directing, and reflecting upon A Plot Discovered has proved not only the most difficult but also the most rewarding event within my undergraduate studies.
View A Plot Discovered miniature documentary here: https://vimeo.com/325355612

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2019-05

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CoriolanU.S.: A Modern Retelling of Shakespeare's Coriolanus

Description

For my thesis I wrote CoriolanU.S., a brand new play based on the storyline of Shakespeare's Coriolanus. It is in modern English and could stand alone as its own work if one was not familiar with the original play. It

For my thesis I wrote CoriolanU.S., a brand new play based on the storyline of Shakespeare's Coriolanus. It is in modern English and could stand alone as its own work if one was not familiar with the original play. It follows Coriolanus, a police officer who decides to run for mayor after becoming a hero in his city for helping quell a protest. Running against him is Brutus, a white, female neoliberal who represents a seemingly different, but sometimes similar, political side. Coriolanus is meant to be symbolic of the modern day Republican party and show how difficult it can be for people of color to interact with the political scene. The play also features Aufidius, a flawed but determined political activist in the city. The work deals with themes of immigration, over policing, and what people are willing to do to implement their version of a better world. In addition to writing this piece, I also directed and produced a production of it at a local arts collective; the show ran for three nights. I worked with a cast of twelve students for a period of seven weeks. We had rehearsals on the Tempe campus. When casting the play, I had to pay attention to race because many of the roles in my new play are written specifically for people of color. Thus, putting together this thesis involved research not only into adapting Shakespeare's work, but also research into adapting his work for people of color actors and audience. From start to finish, my thesis involved reading Shakespeare, conducting research, writing the play, getting feedback on it and rewriting parts, the rehearsal process of the play, and staging the production.

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Date Created
2018-12

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Flop!

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This thesis explores the various reasons that Broadway musicals fail, or "flop". It goes into detail on several musicals of different genres, and explains what their shortcomings were, whether it be a less-than-perfect book, a weak score, or a production

This thesis explores the various reasons that Broadway musicals fail, or "flop". It goes into detail on several musicals of different genres, and explains what their shortcomings were, whether it be a less-than-perfect book, a weak score, or a production team that was not experienced in the skills that it takes to put together a musical. It discusses how long the shows ran for, or if they ever made it into a Broadway house. It looks at what the audience reception was like for each show, and whether the shows were a success with the tough critics of Broadway. In addition to this, I have recorded several of my peers performing songs from the musicals I have discussed in the written portion of this thesis. This helps to educate an audience on what it would have been like for one of the flop's real performances. The videos also do a wonderful job of communicating what the show sounds like, and how it can make an audience feel or react. Lastly, it gives more insight into why the musicals they are from failed to thrive in front of a Broadway audience. Through my research, I have discovered that creating a musical is possibly one of the most difficult feats a team of creative people can accomplish. There are countless reasons for failure in these shows, but overall, I feel that every failure had something to offer, and because of that, are surely worth celebrating.

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2018-05