As we get closer to the beginning of a new year, we look to members of our Texas Theatre and Dance community who have shared their artistry and research with the larger American theatre community. In the second part of our two-part summer series, we take a closer look at the ways in which our undergraduate and graduate students, faculty and alumni have been involved this summer.
From early July to late August, Quetta Carpenter (Lecturer in Acting) will be playing “Mistress Page” in The Merry Wives of Windsor, “Exeter” in Henry V and “Nurse” in Shakespeare in Love at Illinois Shakespeare Festival. The Illinois Shakespeare Festival is an annual production dedicated to engaging audiences through new interpretations of Shakespearean works. Also acting in the festival will be intern actor and fourth-year B.F.A. in Acting major, Annemarie Alaniz (Anon(ymous), ENRON) who will be playing “Anne Page” in The Merry Wives of Windsor, “MacMorris” in Henry V and a role in Double, Double, a new play for young audiences by Nancy Steele Brokaw.
Robert Ramirez (Associate Professor; Head of Acting Program), a renowned text and vocal director within our ranks, has been busy this summer working at both the Guthrie Theater and the Notre Dame Shakespeare Festival. For the Guthrie Theater’s current run of West Side Story (on stage through August 26, 2018), Ramirez has served as the production’s vocal coach, giving actors and actresses the tools needed to capture the energy and emotion of this larger-than-life musical. Ramirez then heads to the Notre Dame Shakespeare Festival where he will play “Iago” in The Tragedy of Othello, the Moor of Venice.
While some of members of our community have been seen on stage, other have committed themselves to sharing their passion for theatre through research and writing. Dr. Paul Bonin-Rodriguez (Associate Professor, Performance as Public Practice) is a writer-performer and dancer with a gift for research and educating others. During the month of June, Dr. Bonin-Rodriguez conducted an extensive research project called the Knowledge Building Initiative (KBI) for the National Performance Network/Visual Artists Network (NPN/VAN). The KBI, funded through a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), seeks to implement ongoing methods for measuring, documenting and archiving contributions made to community well-being through the organization’s practices and partnerships. After completing his stay with NPN/VAN, Dr. Bonin-Rodriguez will spend July teaching quantitative analysis skills to students at the History of Capitalism Summer Institute at Cornell University and a course on entrepreneurial strategies at Institute for Curatorial Practice in Performance at Wesleyan University.
From August 1-5, graduate students from Dr. Paul Bonin-Rodriguez’s Fall 2017 Cultural Policy in the Arts Seminar will be presenting a panel of papers at the Association for Theatre in Higher Education Conference in Boston, Massachusetts (moderated by Dr. Bonin-Rodriguez). This year’s ATHE Conference will focus on resistance and protest and their effects on theatre in higher education. Featured papers and authors in this panel include Alexis Riley (Ph.D. student in Performance as Public Practice), Nic Hamel (Ph.D. student in Performance as Public Practice), Siri Gurudev (Ph.D. student in Performance as Public Practice), Priya Raman (Ph.D. student in Performance as Public Practice), Jeffrey Gan (M.A. in Performance as Public Practice) and Kristin Perkins (M.A. in Performance as Public Practice).
In the world of dance, five B.F.A. in Dance students (along with one alumna) have recently been in New York City for the Dance Education Lab’s (DEL) Summer Institute, a professional development program for educators and artists interested in developing their dance education curricula. Thanks to a generous contribution from the Arnhold Foundation, Carolina Sirias (B.F.A. in Dance major), Victoria Murillo (UTeach Dance major), Isaac Iskra (UTeach Dance major), Sarah Maggard (B.F.A. in Dance major), David Cruz (B.F.A. in Dance major) and Allyson Morales (UTeach Dance alumna and AISD Elementary Dance Educator) have enjoyed workshops and training sessions with the DEL co-founders, Ann Biddle and Jody Arnhold.
Looking ahead, Generic Ensemble Company will be performing and producing 893 / YA-KU-ZA, written by Daria Miyeko Marinelli (M.F.A. in Playwriting candidate), directed by kt shorb (Ph.D. in Performance as Public Practice candidate) and Jesus I. Valles at the Consortium of Asian American Theatre Artists national conference and festival in Chicago August 16-17. The play follows the story of “Aya”, who bids to become the first female member of the infamous Japanese crime syndicate, the Yakuza, and features Mia Dedear (B.A. in Theatre and Dance major) and kt shorb with lighting design by Aaron Curry (M.F.A. in Design and Technology candidate), scenic design by Iman Corbani (M.F.A. in Design and Technology candidate) and sound design by Jess O’Rear (Ph.D. candidate in Performance as Public Practice).
Finally, Barbara Chisholm (Lecturer in Acting) will be portraying “Annie Wilkes” in a production of William Goldman’s Misery and Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park from September 1-29, 2018. Based on the book by Stephen King of the same title, Misery is a tense psychological horror where “true life becomes stranger than fiction when an acclaimed romance novelist wakes up in the home of his ‘Number One Fan.’”
Congratulations to all these members of the Texas Theatre and Dance community on their achievements and ongoing projects this summer. We extend that same congratulations to all other department affiliates working to sharpen their skills and create, cultivate and support work that speaks to the community at large.
Photography Credits: West Side Story (Featured: Mia Pinero as “Maria” and Marc Koeck as “Tony”) photographed by T. Charles Erickson; Dance Educational Lab’s (DEL) Summer Institute including Carolina Sirias (B.F.A. in Dance major), Victoria Murillo (UTeach Dance major), Ann Biddle (Co-founder of DEL), Jody Arnhold (Co-founder of DEL), Isaac Iskra (UTeach Dance major), Sarah Maggard (B.F.A. in Dance major), David Cruz (B.F.A. in Dance major), and Allyson Morales (UTeach Dance alumna and AISD Elementary Dance Educator); 893 / YA-KU-ZA (Featured: Mia Dedear (B.A. in Theatre and Dance major) as “Aya” and kt shorb (Ph.D. in Performance as Public Practice candidate) as “1”) photographed by Errich Petersen; Misery (Featured: Barbara Chisholm as “Annie Wilkes”) photographed by Tony Arrasmith & Associates; Featured Photo includes Annemarie Alaniz (B.F.A. in Acting major), Robert Ramirez and Dr. Paul Bonin-Rodriguez