“Blink and you’ll miss it!”
Short and Sweet: 12 Theatre and Dance Student Directors Showcased During Short Play Festival from December 1 - 4
By Will Taylor
BOONE, NC - The Department of Theatre and Dance at Appalachian State closes its five-production fall 2022 semester with the brand new “Short Play Festival.” The event consists of twelve short plays (or excerpts from full length works) that were chosen, cast, and directed by Appalachian State University students enrolled in the Theatre Directing Techniques class, taught by Dr. Paulette Marty.
The festival will be staged in the Greer Studio Theater at 7 p.m. from December 1 through December 3 with a 2 p.m. Sunday matinee performance on December 4. Six of the twelve plays will be performed on December 1 and 3 with the second half-dozen showcased on December 2 and 4. General admission seating is FREE and on a first-come, first served basis in the intimate theater. For more information, call the Schaefer Center for the Performing Arts box office toll free at (800) 841-ARTS (2787), visit their website, or visit theatreanddance.appstate.edu.
Students in Dr. Marty’s class spent the first half of the semester learning the ins-and-outs of stage direction. From script selection and analysis all the way to staging, they developed the skills and information necessary to become successful directors. They then shifted to the practical application of directing techniques by each choosing a play to direct. Combined auditions for the festival were held in mid-October with over 50 prospective actors trying out for the chance to be directed by their peers.
Dr. Marty says that the purpose of the class is to “give students an introduction to the many skills required for directing.” She says that “all of these techniques cannot possibly be taught and mastered in one class, but it helps students begin to understand each piece of a director’s work.”
This is the first time in over a decade that the festival has been opened to the public; previously it was only open to those in the directing course. “Students who put in the work and the time deserve to be seen. After all the collaboration between the cast, crew, and directors, the most important collaboration is with the audience.” Dr. Marty has taught at the university for eighteen years, starting in 2004. She received her Ph.D. in Theatre and Drama from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and specializes in theatre history, analysis, dramaturgy, and directing.
Catherine Denton, a senior theatre performance major and psychology minor from Goldsboro, NC, is currently enrolled in the directing class. Denton said that during the class they “co-directed short scenes to get a feel of directing peers before applying that experience with actors. We also discussed the importance of callbacks, what to look for during auditions, and how to make actors comfortable in the rehearsal room.”
The class was one of Denton’s first experiences with directing, the other being a musical cabaret performance through a club on campus. She also mentioned that while each student is a director, most students are also stagehands, costumers, lighting designers, etc. Lastly and most importantly, Denton stated that “while it’s a new and overwhelming experience for the class as a whole, we are devoted to ensuring that it all blends together perfectly.”
The festival, serving as the class’s final project, opens a week before finals and will run from December 1 through December 4 in the Greer Studio Theatre at Appalachian State University, with evening performances starting at 7 p.m. and a Sunday matinee on December 4, starting at 2 p.m. The I.G. Greer Studio Theatre is located on campus in I.G. Greer Hall, near Roess Dining Hall, and the entrance to the studio theatre is on the first level, facing Founders Hall. If you attended the Department’s performance of First Year Showcase or The Moors, it is the same venue as those productions. For parking information, please see visitor parking.
Remember, admission is free, but is on a first come, first served basis, so arrive early to guarantee a good seat. Doors for the evening shows will open at 6:30, and at 1:30 p.m. for the Sunday matinee. The plays range from comedies to dark dramas; for additional information on content, please email Paulette Marty at firstname.lastname@example.org.
About the Department of Theatre and Dance
The Department of Theatre and Dance is one of seven departments housed in Appalachian's College of Fine and Applied Arts. Its mission is to facilitate transformative experiences for students and the public, which cultivate compassionate, creative and collaborative communities through theatre and dance. The department also offers coursework for integrated learning through the arts to the general university student population. Its dynamic co-curricular production program provides exemplary theatre and dance experiences to departmental students, the university community and region
About Appalachian State University
Appalachian State University, in North Carolina's Blue Ridge Mountains, prepares students to lead purposeful lives as global citizens who understand and engage their responsibilities in creating a sustainable future for all. The transformational Appalachian experience promotes a spirit of inclusion that brings people together in inspiring ways to acquire and create knowledge, to grow holistically, to act with passion and determination, and embrace diversity and difference. As one of 17 campuses in the University of North Carolina system, Appalachian enrolls 20,436 students, has a low student-to-faculty ratio and offers more than 150 undergraduate and graduate majors.