Date of Award
Master of Fine Arts
Bryan C. Reeder
The nucleus of my thesis will be the direction of "Suddenly Last Summer'', by Tennessee Williams. This play will be performed under my direction for The St. Charles Theatre Company on October 27 and 28, November 3 and 4, 2000. "Suddenly Last Summer'' was first introduced to the public at the York Theatre, in New York City, on January 7, 1958.
It is my intent to present my own interpretation of this play and document my process of directing it in a community theatre environment. This becomes even more interesting to me because, although the St. Charles Theatre Company has been in existence for nineteen years, this is the first production in a new space that we are allowed to use as our exclusive new home.
This creates more problems to be solved that go beyond the direct ion of the play. We have to tum what was a reception hall that housed a small proscenium stage into a black box theatre that will serve our community effort for many other plays.
Before we can perform the play in question, we need to build walls and platforms, reinforce a stage floor, paint and plaster stage and walls, and build risers for audience members to sit o n. These preliminary necessary endeavors must be handled before the production of "Suddenly Last Summer'' can go up. Needless to say, this will take a large portion of our funds to accomplish which means my budget for this production will be small and require a minimal expenditure to produce.
Chapter One of my thesis will focus on background information regarding Tennessee Williams and his family with particular attention paid to the situations that arose culminating in his sister's lobotomy. Chapter Two will be comprised of a script analysis of the play based on the process taught in Francis Hodge's book Play Directing. Chapter Three will be a journal documentation of the rehearsal process, including what we did at each rehearsal, what problems we encountered, and what solutions were devised. This chapter will also include information on the remodeling of the theatre space by the St. Charles Theatre Company.
Chapter Four will include objective feedback from the cast, crew, audience members, and my thesis committee members as to how successful I was at communicating the play's message and my objectives. It will also focus on my performance as a director and will answer such questions as where did I succeed, what could have been improved, and what I learned from the experience.
Being a community project, this will require the expertise of many people. Theatre is always a team effort, and this project is no exception. The concept of team spirit is one that attracted me to this profess ion in the first place. My hope is that this thesis can help others start their own community theaters in an effort to keep live theatre thriving in communities everywhere.
Vullo, John, "A Directorial View of Tennessee Williams' Suddenly Last Summer" (2001). Theses. 250.
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