Students explore directing in TH476


Elizabeth Hanson

Senior Destiny Bruno and sophomore Erynne Jamison performed as two Trojan women who were to be sold as slaves in the play.

If you scroll down to the very bottom of the spring 2018 timetable, the final class of the list is TH476, or Directing. For those with no theatre connections, this class is blatantly ignored. But, this hidden gem holds a lot of valuable learning opportunities.

Taught by Instructor of Theatre Patti Heiman, the course teaches students how to choose and direct their own one-act play. With only three students enrolled this semester, the class has taken on an intimacy that has greatly increased its success.

Heiman explained that this course is a requirement of all theatre majors. It teaches students how to do play character analysis, blocking exercises (teaching actors how to move), auditioning, and casting. At the end of the semester, students are equipped with all of the necessary knowledge to direct their own play.

While this class may have certain subjects that need covering, it will eventually become less about class time and more about figuring things out on your own.

“The class sort of turns into independent studies once they cast the show,” Heiman said. “They come in and meet with me individually and we talk about their vision, blocking, communication with actors and I can give them feedback. I also attend some of the rehearsals and give feedback to the student directors.”

Although the direction of a performance comes with a lot of responsibilities, the students are not fearful of the results. Sophomore Shelbie Corwine explained that her experience has prepared her for this kind of work.

“I am very comfortable with this, actually,” Corwine said. “I guess it is just how much theatre experience I have had. It’s really a piece of cake right now.”

This confidence is aided by the knowledge that the students are not alone in their projects. Junior Jason Shipps explained that he enjoys the challenge and the support system.

“It’s been stressful, but in a good and challenging way,” Shipps said. Knowing that we have our professor right there if we need her is nice, but it’s also cool to be turned loose.”

Even though the small numbers are enjoyable, the group strongly encourages more enrollment in the class. Sophomore graphic designer for the Baker Orange Alyssa Glover was adamant that the class is far worth the work.

“I would encourage anyone who is a theatre major to take the class, not only because it is required, but because you can grow in your ideas and your methods,” Glover said. “It is amazing how much I’ve learned in this class and how fun directing truly is.”

The class at the bottom of the timetable holds a lot of possibilities. The students’ one-act plays will be performed in Darby Hope Theatre at 7:30 p.m. on May 3 and 4. There is limited seating.