Stages: March 2016
Tuesday, March 1, 2016
Tuesday, March 1, 2016
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- Remarks from the Chair
- Donor Profiles: Lisa Kornetsky '86 teaches what she learned
- UMass students take over a new space to present a new work
- Leanne (Fader) Coronel manages the stars
- Meeting one of the minds behind Collidescope: Co-Creator Talvin Wilks
- One of our own was in the room where it happened: The Grammys
First things first, I have an invitation to extend to you all: I hope that you can clear your schedules on April 4 at 4 p.m. to join us for the Rand Lecture with Talvin Wilks and Ping Chong!
Some of you probably remember Talvin from his time as New WORLD Theater artistic director, or his visits to our campus as a guest instructor or guest artist. We’re thrilled to be welcoming him back as one of the artists for the sure-to-be-incredible production of Collidescope 2.0 (read on for a short interview in this issue with Talvin). He co-created that show with the spectacular Ping Chong, and we are excited that they are doing a new version that incorporates elements of the racial history and social justice movements of this area. We are thrilled to be working with both Talvin and Ping. I am really looking forward to their Rand Lecture presentation — which is actually going to be less of a lecture and more of a moderated Q&A with our very own Priscilla Page. Bring your questions for these two great artists!
The Rand Lecture is free and open to everyone, and I’d love to see some of you alumni and theater friends there. If you can make it, please let me know — send me an email and I’ll make sure to say hello!
On a somewhat related note, I want to bring you up to date on an idea Talvin helped put into motion many years ago and which has come to fruition in the past two years — our Multicultural Theater Certificate (Click here to listen to an oral history podcast on the MTC). MTC coordinator Priscilla Page recently sent me a status report on how that certificate is going, and the short answer is: Great!
We have 9 students pursuing the certificate, seven of them theater majors. An important component of the certificate is interning with a multicultural arts organization, and five of the nine are out in the field, putting their learning to the test in a variety of settings. Priscilla’s goal is to eventually have 12-15 students enrolled in the MTC program; for being two years in, 9 students is right on target. Even students who aren’t pursuing the certificate are benefitting, taking courses that focus on theater artists of color. I am so pleased this important new addition to the Department of Theater is going so well!
Still kinda-sorta related: One of the courses that qualifies as part of the MTC is Professor Megan Lewis’s Grahamstown Festival Course, and another cohort is planning to head over in this third year of the course’s existence. Traveling to South Africa this summer are 11 students who’ve put together a stunning production of Jackie Sibblies Drury's We are proud to present… that was so good, they’ve been invited to perform it as part of the Grahamstown Festival. And here’s where I ask you to think about giving us money — these students need some help to afford to bring their production to the festival, and they’ve got a MinuteFund (UMass’ version of an IndieGogo) set up to help defray expenses. If you’re considering a donation to the Department of Theater, we’d love your support in getting these students to South Africa. You can make a tax-deductible donation on the MinuteFund page. We will be grateful for any donation — please help us represent UMass on an international stage!
What else? Please check out the stories in this issue of Stages to find out about a woman who supports us, an alumna in the inner circles of Hollywood power, and students and faculty participating in a really cool outreach initiative in New York. And, of course, our updates!
And with that, I’m out — I hope to see you on April 4!
Alright everyone, where are your updates? Don’t be shy, send them in. We love to hear about cool projects, interesting new jobs, and exciting landmarks like weddings, babies, and pets — and we know your fellow theater folk do too! Send Us Updates!
Now, onto the news for this issue:
Sound design professor Amy Altadonna designed a new play called The Hampton Years at Virginia Stage Company. "I composed an original score and collaborated with playwright Jacqueline Lawton, playwright and writer on issues of diversity and social justice, as well as Blair Meilnik who was the lead scenic designer for Punchdrunk's Sleep No More. Working with these passionate, insightful artists was invigorating, and the themes of the play resonated with the efforts for diversity and social justice that we are undertaking in our own department.
Lisa Channer '89 sent us news about her Theatre Nove Most's production of The Seagull, now on-going. Minneapolis folks looking for something to do, learn more here.
Undergrad Ben Finn is staging an independent production of The Glass Menagerie in the Curtain Theater, going up on April 19, 20, and 21st. He is serving as a performer and sound designer on the project, and recent alumna Kathryn McNall ‘15 is directing.
Lucinda Kidder ‘03G sent us an email notification about her theater company’s upcoming season. Check out the Silverthorne Theater Company’s season.
Alumnus Aaron Lyons ’99, company member with Antaeus Theatre Company’s A2 company, let us know about their entertaining insult challenge fundraiser, which features some familiar faces:
Everyone’s two favorite fictional presidents, including our own Bill Pullman ‘80G, teamed up for an amusing pair of car commercials:
Emily Taradash '14G has been working as the resident Costume Designer and Costume Shop Supervisor at Ocean State Theatre in Warwick, RI since September. This Season, she has had the pleasure of designing It's a Wonderful Life, Breaking Legs, and 1776 which opened on February 26th. She is currently in the design process for The Miracle Worker, opening April 1st, and will be managing the build process for the final show of the season: Anything Goes.
Alumnus and UMass honorary degree recipient Peter Tolan is an executive producers on The Outsiders TV series on WGN America.
See the trailer here: