• 2020-2021 Season,  Illusionary Tales Turn of the Screw

    Filming Day for Turn of the Screw

    by Makenna Johnston, dramaturg “Pay no attention to the [film crew] behind the [fire] curtain.” Dramaturgy work is not limited to the stage; dramaturgs are needed in film as well.  Because of the multimedia nature of The Turn of the Screw, I was able to attend a filming day for some of the pre-recorded scenes. I made sure to attend the day when the most gore and violence would be filmed, because, like those in the Victorian era, I have a fascination with the macabre.   Filming took place on the Pardoe stage behind the fire curtain. This created a dark, rectangular space for the cast and crew to work…

  • 2020-2021 Season,  Illusionary Tales Turn of the Screw

    Post Mortem Photography

    by Makenna Johnston, dramaturg As you can see in The Turn of the Screw, the Victorian era was shrouded in death. Complications from industrialization, as well as high disease and infection rates, caused high mortality rates, especially in younger demographics. Because of this, the living found comfort in one of the most fascinating mourning practices of the Victorian era: post-mortem photography.  Due to the high cost of photography during the Victorian era, post-mortem photographs were often the first, and only, photographs families had taken of their loved ones. The mourning would commission a daguerreotype or a photograph taken by a long-exposure camera. Long exposures when taking photographs meant that the…

  • 2020-2021 Season,  Illusionary Tales Turn of the Screw,  Uncategorized

    Interviews with the Student Devising Team

    by Makenna Johnston, dramaturg In a ‘special projects’ theatre class held between January and March of 2020, four students and their professor began devising a show. Their devising team? David Morgan (professor), Clara Wright, Mikah Vaclaw, Sten Shearer, and Dylan Wright. Their source text? The Turn of the Screw, a novel by Henry James.  Though the team’s original devising process was cut short due to the Covid-19 pandemic, aspects of their invaluable contributions to the production live on. Each student deviser’s unique perspective about the story and devising process are explored below. Clara Wright  Our professor David Morgan had the idea to create a devised piece of theatre to take…

  • student productions,  student projects

    The Power of Connection

    by Laynie Calderwood, dramaturg Disconnect is a play about grief and grief can be an interesting thing, when you really look at it. The characters in this play are really doing everything BUT properly dealing with their grief and yet, somehow, that is more relatable for us as an audience than if they WERE properly dealing with their grief. Playwright, Rob Ackerman, wrote, “While Patty and Steve clash and fail to communicate, they manage to tidy an unkempt room, set a lavish table, and perform a whole domestic ballet” (Author’s Note, Disconnect). That’s why this show is so engaging, because it’s relatable. Everyone can see themselves up on the stage…

  • Pirates of Penzance

    Behind the Pirates…

    by Shelley Graham, dramaturg In the program for Highlights from Gilbert and Sullivan’s Pirates of Penzance, we include a short study guide to learn more about our production team’s perspective on creating this unique show. You can download that guide here:PenzanceStudyGuide. And because the sound design and audio engineering were essential to this production’s success, I reached out to our audio engineer, Troy Sales, to see what his thoughts were on the process.  Here is what Sales had to say about this experience. One of the challenges was to efficiently record the whole cast, 4 or less people at a time. My goal was to help them sound like they…

  • student productions,  student projects

    Virtual Program Guide for Talking With

    by Lillian Bills and Spencer Fields, dramaturgs This student theatre lab (mask club) production of Talking With… by Jane Martin was directed by Sarah McDonald, with dramaturgy by Lillian Bills and Spencer Fields. Below you can scroll through the virtual program for this production, or download the PDF version if you prefer. Thanks for watching!         Download the PDF here: Talking With Program  

  • 2020-2021 Season,  Pirates of Penzance

    A Pirate Slideshow

    by Shelley Graham, dramaturg   Often one of the dramaturg’s major responsibilities is to help the cast and production team understand and truly live in the world of the play. Because of the condensed timeline for this show, there was a dramaturgy presentation as part of the first rehearsal. The cast was given some basic information about Gilbert and Sullivan’s history and a quick primer on theatre in the Victorian era, and that was it! The rest of the historical context, visual image research, and production history was available to the cast as part of an online learning module that they could access outside rehearsal time. But as we moved…