• 2012-2013 Season,  Gone Missing/Cleverest Thief

    How to Make a Moment

    by Ariel Mitchell, dramaturg Devising is a type of theater that creates a play by building theatrical moments, or little theatricalized scenes that we string together into a production. Instead of writing a script, we perform it and then record it. The script is the last thing to be created. When creating a moment, the first thing you do (at least according to our process) is take an interview or a couple of interviews that share an idea, feeling, or theme and tie them together with a theatrical idea. For example, if an interview is about a girl who lost her sister to cancer, while she is speaking a hospital…

  • 2012-2013 Season,  Gone Missing/Cleverest Thief

    Creating a Character

    by Ariel Mitchell, dramaturg One of the hardest things for any actor is creating a character. The actor has to be able to separate themselves and their mannerisms from the mannerisms of the person they are trying to portray. This is especially hard when trying to depict a real person that you have met and interviewed. In order to differentiate yourself from a character the easiest thing to do is to heighten their ticks (fiddling with a necklace, drumming fingers, running a hand through their hair, etc.) and try to match their vocal tone and posture. Unfortunately, heightening these aspects of a person often come off as comical. Whenever is…

  • 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,  Henry 5

    The “Henry 5 Project” in Performance

    By Anne Flinders, dramaturg On the 28th of November, the TMA 401 class performed their devised production of Henry 5 as a Mask Club performance in the Nelke Theatre on BYU’s campus before an audience of theatre students, professors, and invited guests. The production was prepared and staged by four groups that had been created during the semester from the TMA 401 class. Each group was assigned to prepare one of the first four acts from Shakespeare’s The Life of King Henry the Fifth. The groups each chose their own concepts, developed their own cuttings of the script, and created costumes and props supporting their productions. After working on these…

  • 2012-2013 Season,  Phantom of the Opera

    Behind-the-Scenes with the Phantom Costume Designers

    by Nicholas Sheets, dramaturg The other day I visited the basement of the HFAC, known for its labyrinth-like feel and lack of sunlight (there are no windows). I navigated the halls until I arrived at the Costume Studio. I was curious as to what was going on in terms of costume making for Phantom. There are three design teams working on the costumes for our production. One team is working on the costumes found in the three operas within the musical. The first opera is Hannibal. This is the scene where we return to the opera house and Carlotta is singing. During this practice the new opera owners enter: André…

  • 2012-2013 Season,  Gone Missing/Cleverest Thief

    Nailing Down the Script (otherwise known as killing babies)

    by Ariel Mitchell, dramaturg Over the course of devising, we have become very attached to certain ideas, interviews and moments. Some of these include a couple who posted a plea on Craigslist for their missing Chihuahua, while warning potential finders not to touch him, or a guy we met at the BYU Creamery on 9th who enthusiastically relayed his story of his lost water bottle (which we then turned into an epic rap battle). We are fond of these moments and people we have come to know and love. But, unfortunately, we have too many wonderful moments to fit into our 30-35 minute play. That means one thing… It’s time to kill our babies. As…

  • 2012-2013 Season,  Holiday

    Design Insights-Holiday Costume Concept

    by Mallory Mckey, Co-Costume Designer In the early stages of my design work as I was finding images and researching—I was trying to think of some way each character was connected. I was also trying to find my color palette. I’m a visual person and I love seeing color and texture.  I was thinking about gold and silver a lot for some of the characters, and then I realized that was the connecting piece. Gold, silver, and money!  Once I hit on that idea, there was no stopping me.  I immediately started looking up pictures of money and specific bills and coins.  The more I looked, the more I could visualize…

  • 2012-2013 Season,  Gone Missing/Cleverest Thief

    Horizontal Theater

    by Ariel Mitchell, dramaturg One of the most well known theatrical companies to use the devising method is the Tectonic Theater Project headed by Moisés Kaufman. Some of their most well known works include 33 Variations, Gross Indecency, and The Laramie Project. In each of these cases, the company implements the technique of horizontal theater. The traditional setup of theater is vertical. You begin with a text. Then you add set, costumes, lights, a director’s concept, and actors. You build upwards always referencing the foundation (i.e. the text) off of which every decision is based. Horizontal theater on the other hand treats every aspect of theater as equally important. Instead…

  • 2012-2013 Season,  A Second Birth

    The Spirit of Afghanistan: Final Thoughts on A Second Birth

    by Katrina Forsythe, dramaturg It’s been over nine months now since Professor Hollingshaus introduced me to A Second Birth and asked if I would be interested in working on it as the dramaturg. Has it only been that long? I loved the script from the start, and have continued to love it even more as it has changed over all this time. Ariel has been such an inspiration, and she is always so unstinting with her praise. There have been a lot of details I have had to hunt down in the process of bringing this play to life. For example: “How do you tie a head scarf?” “How does…

  • 2012-2013 Season,  A Second Birth

    A Playwright’s Perspective: Writing vs. Collaborating

    by Ariel Mitchell, playwright One of the greatest things about being a playwright is that after you have ‘finished’ writing you get to hand over your words to a team of people and watch them bring them to life. Many people ask, “How can you do that? Doesn’t it bother you? Do you have any say in the production process? How much?” A lot of writers find this unattractive because they want to spell out every thing from the way a character looks to what they do to the very thoughts that go through their mind as they live their lives. I have one answer for these people: write a…