• 2016-2017 Season,  Argonautika

    Welcome Aboard the Mighty Argo!

    by Haley Flanders and Katie Jarvis, dramaturgs “Sing in us, Muse, the story of Jason and his   Argonauts, how he was sent away on the first voyage of the world to bring back the Golden Fleece.” (Act 1, Scene 1) Hello! Welcome to the 4th wall dramaturgy page dedicated to the spring 2017 mainstage BYU play, Argonautika by Mary Zimmerman. This production is set to perform June 2 through June 17, 2017 in the Pardoe Theatre in the Harris Fine Arts Center (HFAC) on campus. We are thrilled to be giving you a backstage pass into the creation of this epic play, which will feature Greek warriors, gods and…

  • 2016-2017 Season,  Crucible

    A City Set on a Hill

    by Amanda Alley, dramaturg Salem was a town founded on Puritan beliefs. In fact, the settlement was designed to set an example of righteousness for the rest of humanity. Their goal was to separate themselves from the world and create a unified society centered on the principles of their faith. This Puritan community in the New World would be governed by Puritan doctrines, and all would abide in peace. Even the name of the town reflected that ideal: Salem was derived from the Hebrew word Shalom, which means “peace.” The settlement would be an example of righteous living that would shine forth to the rest of the world. Of course,…

  • 2016-2017 Season,  Chariots of Fire

    An American Premiere

    By Shelley Graham, dramaturg There were have been several wonderful coincidences and years of hard work that made the American Premiere of Chariots of Fire a possibility at BYU. You may be familiar with the 1981 film that was the surprise Oscar winner for Best Picture. In fact most people, whether they have seen the film or not, can hum the famous opening theme by Vangelis Papathanassiou. Here is one artist’s take on the popularity of that opening number: Mr Bean and the Chariots of Fire Theme

  • 2016-2017 Season,  Chariots of Fire

    Social Class in the 1920s

    By Shelley Graham, Dramaturg Chariots of Fire takes place in Britain from roughly 1920 to 1924, a time period in which established social mores were changing rapidly. Throughout the play we see the various social classes represented. As Britain emerged from the ravages of World War I (or The Great War, as it was termed then,) there was a major rift in those social classes. Throughout the twenties, the working class would see poverty growing at an alarming rate, while the middle and upper classes fought for cultural prominence. Early in the play we see wealthy young men arriving for their first day of school at Cambridge University. They are…

  • 2016-2017 Season,  Crucible

    The Two Histories of The Crucible (Part Two)

    by Kristin Perkins, assistant dramaturg In the last blog post I wrote, I talked a little bit about the Salem Witch trials as the primary history that The Crucible draws from. There is a second history that demands to be accounted for in a study of The Crucible: the story of the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC), the Red Scare, and Arthur Miller’s involvement. For the sake of total accuracy, this is technically the second Red Scare which happened after World War II and coincided with the height of HUAC activity. The HUAC was a congressional committee tasked with rooting out dangerous communist or “fellow travelers,” the term for being…

  • 2016-2017 Season,  Crucible

    Fanning the Flame

    by Amanda Alley, dramaturg The Crucible revolves around an infamous historical event. But how did it all begin? The Puritans settled in the Massachusetts Bay Colony to create a unified community. However, in the years leading up to the witch trials, all was not well in Salem. There were several social, political, and religious tensions that grew to provide kindling to the fire that became the Salem Witch Hunt. In 1684, the Massachusetts Bay Colony Charter was revoked after colonists broke several of its statutes, specifically those dealing with the separation of church and state. This meant that the colonists were no longer free to govern themselves, and a royally…

  • 2016-2017 Season,  Chariots of Fire

    Birth of the Actor Athlete

    By Amelia Johnson, Assistant Dramaturg What did it take to be a cast member of this show? Time, hard work, and a lot of sweat. But, that is to be expected when your show is about Olympic runners. When you have a passion for something, you strive to be as good as you can at it. When your passion is acting, sometimes you learn new skills in order to play a part. Our actors embraced this and became actor athletes. In addition to learning their lines, blocking, and working to understand their characters, our actor athletes took part in training to get in the physical shape of a runner. They…

  • 2016-2017 Season,  Mary Poppins

    Colors In Mary Poppins

    by Ting Chun Chang, dramaturg In one of the post-show discussions, there was an audience member who asked us about the color of the costume design. We had a conversation of the concept of the design but none of us knew the exact process of how our costume designer Rory Scanlon developed it. Therefore, I brought the question to Rory and this was his reply. In picking colors, I chose the RED for Mary first, giving her the strongest pigment on stage. I wanted Bert and the children to be in the other primary colors, so Bert was BLUE and the children were YELLOW. That left the three secondary colors to…

  • 2016-2017 Season,  Macbeth

    Macbeth’s Lobby Display

    by Jessa Cunningham, dramaturg If you came and saw our production of Macbeth here at BYU last week or the week before, you would have seen this outside in the lobby:  If you looked closely, you would see that the sign reads: “Beware Macbeth’s Story! Do you have something (a fear, worry, etc.) that takes up time in your life? Write it down and throw it into the cauldron to get rid of it. Don’t let it consume your life like some of the characters in the play!” This was an interesting exercise in which many audience members participated. The things written on the little bits of paper ranged from the silly…

  • 2016-2017 Season,  Happysadness

    Everything’s Better With Puppets

    by Rick Curtiss Dramaturg happysadness is better with puppets. Everything is better with puppets. The nature of this phenomenon might not seem obvious at first. After all, puppets are for kids aren’t they? Haven’t we, as adults, moved past the juvenile and broad nature the world of puppets provides? The answer to both of these questions is a steadfast no. Adults love puppets. It might be attributed to nostalgia, butt here is something inherently adult about puppets. This can be seen in the many ways puppets have been marketed for adults. The Muppet Show had kid-friendly content, but the goal was to entertain the whole family, adults included. Others followed this trend with various…