• 2020-2021 Season,  North Star

    The Power of Music

    by Sydney Southwick, dramaturg   “This little light o’ mine, I’m goin’ let it shine. Let it shine, let it shine, let it shine”   BYU’s production of North Star begins with these lyrics from one of the most popular gospel songs in the world. Music has a special power to evoke all kinds of emotions from sadness to joy and fear to inspiration. Although literature and speech can do the same, music has impactful storytelling properties that cannot be found in any other medium. “Strange Fruit” is one of those songs. In 1937, Abel Meeropol wrote “Bitter Fruit” in response to a photo he saw of the lynching of…

  • 2020-2021 Season,  North Star

    The North Star

    by Sydney Southwick, dramaturg In preparation for the North Star auditions last November, Gloria Bond Clunie, the playwright and director of this production, hosted a virtual workshop for BYU’s theatre arts students, entitled “In the Company of Stars.” Attendees listened and learned as they shared with each other their first times experiencing race. In response to these conversations, Gloria asked the students to imagine a vast sky full of stars. In the distance, at the tip of the Little Dipper, there is a bright constant: the North Star. Gloria recalls scouring the sky in search of the North Star with her own father. It was a symbol of hope and…

  • 2020-2021 Season,  An Ideal Husband

    Closing the Social Distance

    by Charisse Baxter, dramaturg For Oscar Wilde’s Victorians, ‘social distancing’ was a very different idea from the one we’re dealing with today. It wasn’t physical – theaters and other entertainment venues were packed, people lived on top of each other in tenements, boarding houses, and even servants’ quarters – but it was (as with us) very much a feature of how they saw the world. Their view was that, while the social classes might rely on one another, they should only interact as little as possible, and should never mingle. There was an entire subset of people known as “social climbers”: merchants and businessmen with lots of money, gentry and…

  • 2020-2021 Season,  An Ideal Husband

    Photo Tutorials from Mabel

    by Charisse Baxter, dramaturg Put the FUN in InFlUeNcer! Give your pics a little @DarlingMabel flair! Start with the basics, and get to know your angles, framing, and story.   5 Awesome Photography Tips for Social Media Success  Take things to the next level – everyone needs a little ‘touching up’ now and then!   Pop some popcorn, take a few minutes out of your busy Twitter schedule, and relax with some new photo skills: Social Media Photoshop Tutorial And you may (or may not) be a mommy blogger, but these tips for getting great photos with squirmy subjects work for everyone! You can thank me later! 8 Tips for…

  • 2020-2021 Season,  An Ideal Husband

    Oscar Wilde – A Timeline

    by Charisse Baxter, dramaturg Though most often remembered as a playwright, Wilde was a popular author of essays, poems, and short stories as well. His one novel is a classic, and his lectures and memorable aphorisms attracted followers and fans years before his plays became successful. His private life drew even more attention, but his writings and scripts have withstood the test of time. 1854 – Born Oct 16 in Dublin, Ireland 1871 – Attended Trinity College, Dublin 1874 – Attended Magdalen College in Oxford, England and was a distinguished scholar; became a leader in the Aesthetics movement and was noted for eccentric fashion and behavior 1882 – Toured the…

  • 2020-2021 Season,  An Ideal Husband

    Fan-atical Victorian Conversation

    by Charisse Baxter, dramaturg Smoke signals. Pictographs. Hieroglyphics. Morse Code. Computer programming. Lemon juice. Emojis… and so much more! The quest to communicate has been constant throughout the history of humanity, and along the way, all kinds of methods of exchanging information have either lost their meaning for a while, or were always intended to be secret and used only by those ‘in the know.’ During the Victorian era, when Oscar Wilde was writing his society-skewering plays, there were several communication methods employed by those who were in on the underground code-speak. One such method was the ‘language of flowers’, with which messages and feelings could be expressed by particular…

  • 2020-2021 Season,  An Ideal Husband

    The Ideal Social Media Fast

    by Charisse Baxter, dramaturg For many, social media platforms dictate time, energy, relationships, business and marketing, education, family communications, and ways to interact with the world around them. Technology is constantly evolving, on the one hand making it hard to ‘keep up’ and feel like you’re in the know, and on the other providing ever more efficient, exciting tools to explore the world. Connections are being made through time and space, families past and distanced being brought together online. During a BYU Education Week devotional Elder David A. Bednar said “Social media channels are global tools that can personally and positively impact large numbers of individuals and families. And I…

  • 2020-2021 Season,  One Acts by Maria Irene Fornes

    Study Guide for Manual for a Desperate Crossing and Letters from Cuba

    by Laynie Calderwood and Angela Moser, dramaturgs If you’d like to spend a little more time with the study guide for this production, we’re providing a link here. This is the complete study guide, as it is found within the program for our production. MFDC Study Guide Also, below you will find the attributions for the photographs and artwork included in the study guide, and links to other works referenced. Thanks for reading! Works Referenced Robinson, Marc. The theater of Maria Irene Fornés. The John Hopkins University Press, 1999. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, “The Danger of a Single Story.” TEDTalks 2009. Images Title Page (and background image) Abstract New York Manhattan…

  • 2020-2021 Season,  One Acts by Maria Irene Fornes

    Experiencias Vividas

    by Laynie Calderwood, dramaturg As a white American, I grew up understanding a single story of immigration. I’ve always been told people come to America for a better life, to pursue their “American Dream.” I’ve always been taught that every immigrant gains more by coming here than what they leave behind.  In my dramaturgical process, I found that while many immigrants did experience some components of the single story I had been taught all my life, all of their processes were more complex and layered than I originally had assumed. These complexities challenged me; they made me rethink and question a lot of what I felt like I had known. …

  • 2020-2021 Season,  One Acts by Maria Irene Fornes

    The Avant-Garde Theatre of Maria Irene Fornés

    by Angela Moser, dramaturg Maria Irene Fornés never had a single one of her works have an opening night on Broadway. She has never been a mainstream author, although she is revered as one of the most prolific and creative artists in the theater world. Something about her work has always been seen as too difficult for mainstream audiences, or too avant-garde to understand. The word “avant-garde” comes from the French language, and it refers to innovative approaches to art-making, art that pushes the boundaries of creativity. Fornés moved forward with her work to reflect an originality of vision. She used her bicultural identity to lead in many aspects of…