• 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…

  • 2013-2014 Season,  Pride and Prejudice

    BYU’S PRIDE and PREJUDICE goes #BYUPandP

    By Anne Flinders, dramaturg The cast of BYU’s Pride and Prejudice has been in rehearsals for over a month, working together four nights a week and Saturdays. With that much time together, friendships are developing on social media as well as on the rehearsal floor. Here is a sampling of Facebook posts from the cast, staff and fans. [Names in bold are the names of the people who made the posts.]   Laurie Koralewski Payne: Tra-la!! Marvin Payne will be playing Mr. Bennett in the fabulous Melissa Leilani Larson’s adaptation of Pride and Prejudice directed by the also fabulous Barta Lee Heiner at BYU this season! What could possibly be…

  • 2012-2013 Season,  A Wrinkle in Time

    Religion, L’Engle, and “A Wrinkle in Time”

    by Patrick Hayes, dramaturg Scholar Jean Fulton wrote, “L’Engle’s fiction for young readers is considered important partly because she was among the first to focus directly on the deep, delicate issues that young people must face, such as death, social conformity, and truth. L’Engle’s work always is uplifting because she is able to look at the surface values of life from a perspective of wholeness, both joy and pain, transcending each to uncover the absolute nature of human experience that they share.” – “A Wrinkle in Time”. Classics of Science Fiction and Fantasy Literature Today’s blog topic looks at the religious symbolism and spiritual connection woven into A Wrinkle in Time and examines some…

  • 2012-2013 Season,  Gone Missing/Cleverest Thief

    2 plays, 1 night

    By Ariel Mitchell, Dramaturg There has been a lot of confusion about what The Cleverest Thief and Selections from Gone Missing is. Throughout this blog, we’ve shared our process and tried to give background about our project. But, I am remiss to say, that maybe after 10+ blog posts, readers are still unsure what this performance is. I’d like to rectify this. The Cleverest Thief and Selections from Gone Missing is a BYU main stage production of two plays in one night: Gone Missing and The Cleverest Thief. Gone Missing is a devised play (see other blog post) created by the Civilians in 2003. The members of the company went…

  • 2012-2013 Season,  Servant of Two Masters

    Adventures in LA

    by Janine Sobeck, dramaturg For the last week, a majority of the cast and production team for The Servant of Two Masters traveled with a group from the BYU theatre department to Los Angeles for the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival (KCACTF). Though out the year, colleges and universities from around the country are judged on the different shows they produce – everything from the acting to the design to the dramaturgy to the stage management.  Students have the possibility to be nominated for different awards and then every year they come together at KCACTF to compete.  KCACTF starts as a regional competition (Utah is in Region 8, along…

  • 2012-2013 Season,  Henry 5

    “Let us…on your imaginary forces work.” Henry 5 Prologue, Act I

    By Anne Flinders, dramaturg The second week of rehearsals for BYU’s Henry 5 is completed, and the show is taking shape with an exciting look and sound that is unlike most Shakespeare plays. The cast, directed by Megan Sanborn Jones, worked this week on incorporating movement from last semester’s Contemporary Performance Studies class into the play. The opening scene was developed on Thursday using viewpointing for blocking the cast’s interactions with each other and the audience as they present the prologue of the first act.  It will be a highly theatrical opening Shakespeare scene! Another major element of the play is the sparseness of the set and props. This play…

  • 2012-2013 Season,  Phantom of the Opera

    The Power of Spectacle in BYU’s Phantom

    by Nicholas Sheets, dramaturg As The Phantom of the Opera continues to show strong at BYU I began to reflect a little on the power of the spectacle, due in part to my love for works by Andrew Lloyd Webber. Other musicals by Webber, besides The Phantom of the Opera, are also very popular: Jesus Christ, Superstar; Cats; Starlight Express; Love Never Dies (the sequel to The Phantom of the Opera); Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat; and Evita. As the pictures show, there is a lot of eye candy in each of these shows, whether through costumes, musical numbers, scenery, lighting, or even directorial choices. Wherever a Webber musical…

  • 2012-2013 Season,  Henry 5

    “I am Boy to them all.” Henry 5, Act III, Scene 2

    by Anne Flinders, dramaturg Live theatre is always an adventure. And this new year has provided a big one. Rehearsals for Henry 5 began on the 8th of January, and began with quite a surprise. Due to some special circumstances, we had a cast member who had to relinquish her spot. Which means we were faced with the challenge of finding a replacement. The difficulty in filling a newly opened role for this production lies in the fact that the play’s rehearsals are held from 8am to 2pm on Tuesdays and Thursdays during January. Most students, of course, have classes during these times. With only about ten rehearsals on the…

  • 2012-2013 Season,  Phantom of the Opera

    Behind-the-Scenes with the Phantom Choreographers and Dancers

    by Nicholas Sheets, dramaturg This week I slipped into rehearsal to see what was going on with the dancers for Phantom. What I found was super neat. Just like the costume department, the dancing routines are divided as well. In other words, the dancing in this show is so intense that there are two faculty members at BYU heading up this show. Let me give you a breakdown. First, we have Lisa Stoddard in charge of the Masquerade section. I spoke with her and asked her what it felt like to be choreographing a very important scene in Phantom. She mentioned it was kind of scary to take on this…

  • 2012-2013 Season,  Phantom of the Opera

    The Study Guide Process at BYU, à la Phantom

    by Nicholas Sheets, dramaturg Here at BYU we produce playbills for each of the shows. When you arrive, one of the ushers hands you a playbill so you may learn a little bit about the actors and the world of the play. Here are some examples of previous performances’ study guide covers.                                As dramaturgs we are responsable for the study guide found in each of the playbills for our shows.There’s a lot of work that goes into each of these study guides. As an example, I would love to illustrate our process for Phantom of the Opera. Each year advertisers buy ad space to help pay for the costs…