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Student directors give it their all

February 2012


During the third week in January, St. Ambrose University Theatre students and their professors participated in the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival at Iowa State University in Ames, IA. The students spent the entire week attending various auditions, workshops, plays, acting scenes and displays brought to Ames from all over the KCACTF Region 5. SAU was well represented in their numerous Irene Ryan auditions, design expos and Tech Crew Showdown, also making an impression with their directorial skills.

val-zawadaJunior Val Zawada '13, (right) director of this past fall's Studio Theatre production of Touch, applied and was accepted to participate in the Society of Stage Directors and Choreographers (SDC) National Fellowship Scene Audition. The application process included a directing resume, cover letter and recommendation from a faculty member. Zawada was chosen as one of the 16 student directors going to Ames. She chose a scene in December from The Trestle at Pope Lick Creek by Naomi Wallace, featuring actors Tim Stompanato '13 and Brooke Schelly '15.

After presenting their scenes, each director must interview with the judges, who critique everything from their rehearsal process to their analysis to future plans. Zawada didn't make it to the finals but that doesn't faze her. "I am hoping to participate again next year and come back strong! I got some good criticism and support from the judges, and will definitely be taking their advice into consideration for future directing endeavors."

morgan-griffin

Senior Morgan Griffin '12 (left), a student in this year's Directing Class (taught by Dr. Cory Johnson), was accepted into the Faculty Directing Showcase. To be accepted, students had to submit letters of recommendation from a member of the faculty, personal essays and a resume. Students who were accepted then assisted a professor in the production of a pre-chosen scene. The student directors help with casting, script analysis, blocking, actor conference and overall concept. The scenes were then showcased with six other Faculty-Directed scenes and a winner was chosen.

Griffin was matched with Winona State University's Dr. Jim Williams and their scene was Mustapha Matura's Welcome Home, Jacko. Williams and Griffin's production was well received by the audience and tied for Best Faculty Scene with another production. Griffin came home with an Assistant Director Commendation. "I really enjoyed the overall experience," she says, "Jim was great to work with, as were my stage manager and actors. This was my last KCACTF, so I'm glad I left with a commendation certificate that I can frame!"

Congrats to Val and Morgan for making the St. Ambrose University Theatre Department proud!

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