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

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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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2018-12

Once On This Island - An Exploration of Nontraditional Casting

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Only in the world of acting can an individual be denied a job simply on the basis of their appearance, and in my thesis, I sought to explore alternatives to this through the concept of nontraditional casting and casting against

Only in the world of acting can an individual be denied a job simply on the basis of their appearance, and in my thesis, I sought to explore alternatives to this through the concept of nontraditional casting and casting against "type", which included the presentation of a full-length production of the musical "Once on this Island" which I attempted to cast based on vocal quality and skill alone rather than taking physical characteristics into account. I researched the history and implementation of nontraditional casting, both in regards to race and other factors such as gender, socio-economic status, and disability. I also considered the legal and intellectual property challenges that nontraditional casting can pose. I concluded from this research that while nontraditional casting is only one solution to the problem, it still has a great deal of potential to create diversity in theater. For my own show, I held the initial auditions via audio recording, though the callback auditions were held in person so that I and my crew could appraise dance and acting ability. Though there were many challenges with our cast after this initial round of auditions, we were able to solidify our cast and continue through the rehearsal process. All things said, the show was very successful. It is my hope that those who were a part of the show, either as part of the production or the audience, are inspired to challenge the concept of typecasting in contemporary theater.

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2014-12

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Whispers from Above: Creative Community Exploration of Grief

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Whispers from Above is a creative project that aims to normalize the conversation and validate the emotional experience of grief, through the use of art therapies. Art therapy can be expressive in which someone creates their own work, such as

Whispers from Above is a creative project that aims to normalize the conversation and validate the emotional experience of grief, through the use of art therapies. Art therapy can be expressive in which someone creates their own work, such as visual art, poetry, performance, music, movement, etc. Art therapy can also be receptive in which someone analyzes and understands someone else's artwork. This project was released on SoundCloud in order to make grief resources more accessible to all and to build an online community.<br/><br/>Whispers from Above worked with twelve poets, fifteen artists, six different interviewees, and multiple musicians to create a month of grief support. The finale piece of Whispers from Above was devised from the twenty-nine poems used within this month-long healing journey. All the individual poems were woven into a single devised poem to be presented as the final piece symbolizing that no one is alone in grief.<br/><br/>Whispers from Above is creative community exploration of grief, loss, and death in which we hope contributors, and listeners find solace and support. This series will exist on SoundCloud after March 27th, 2021 with a monthly release of a poem or interview accompanied by art, and music.

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2021-05

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The Importance of Watching Live Theatre: Once on This Island’s Impact on Audiences’ Views on Cultural Awareness, Identity, and Class Divisions

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My study explores how watching live theatre can impact students’ views on cultural awareness, identity, and class divisions. 22 students who had little to no previous participation with the arts were chosen to see the musical, Once on This Island

My study explores how watching live theatre can impact students’ views on cultural awareness, identity, and class divisions. 22 students who had little to no previous participation with the arts were chosen to see the musical, Once on This Island , at ASU Gammage. Once on This Island offers a story of hope, love, and sacrifice that inspires audiences to fight for what they believe in. The students were asked to fill out a pre-show survey before seeing the show and participate in a discussion concluded by a post-show survey after they watched the show. The questions in the surveys and discussions revolved around the students’ feelings towards cultural awareness, identity, and class divisions. The responses revealed that students were introduced to a new culture and became more tolerant of engaging with other cultures as they were immersed in a new perspective. Also, students reexamined how they identified themselves and what the role of relationships played on their identity. Finally, the study found that through seeing the live production, the students became more accepting of all social classes because they were able to empathize with characters in a different social class than themselves.

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2020-05