Second-year Scenic Design MFA candidate Jared Roberts knows the importance of understanding how actors move through space. During his undergraduate studies, he would design a show, paint it, light it, and act in it. “I think it’s really critical that I got to experience the overall arc of a production.” He took that knowledge and applied it to the design for the production of Fifth of July
, which ran last November. Here, Jared gives us insight into the process and big ideas that brought his vision to the stage.
Joseph Ngo and Andrea Salaiz in Fifth of July. Photo by Adam Flynn.
What about Fifth of July made it an exciting play to design for?
It’s straight forward and real. Everything is out on the table. I try to let the script show me how to design for the show versus the time period. I wouldn’t approach it any differently if the script is set two weeks ago or 200 years ago. I’d ask the same questions. Who are the characters? Why produce this show here and now?
If you saw last quarter’s production of Tom Stoppard’s The Real Inspector Hound
, you were lucky enough to see the beautiful, character-defining work of second-year Costume Design MFA candidate Melinda Hare. This quarter, Melinda tackles the costumes for the world premiere of EM Lewis’s Reading to Vegetables
, directed by MFA Directing candidate Tina Polzin. Melinda walks us through the process for taking costumes from sketch to stage, as well as the unique challenges and opportunities of historical and contemporary work.
How do you go about conceptualizing your costume designs? What was the process for The Real Inspector Hound?
I read the script first. There is always an initial designers meeting with the director to find out what in the show is important to the director. What impulses are they following? Where does the director want to take the show? It’s important for me to know the script really well before that meeting, so that I can ask questions. For Hound, I looked at photos and fashion magazines from the time. I looked at production photos of Agatha Christie plays since that is what Tom Stoppard was watching and responding to. I sent off anything relevant from my research to Des [director Desdemona Chiang] to see her responses. Then I did rough sketches. Then changes and more sketches. With Des, she knew what she wanted, but she was also very open to what the designers were bringing to the table.
Reflection by Professor Odai Johnson
The PhD program was represented in full force, once again, at this year’s American Society for Theatre Research (ASTR) conference: faculty, emeritus faculty, graduate students, and alumni all made a strong presence in this prestigious event. Current student Jyana Browne won the Thomas Marshall travel award, while recent UW graduate Gibson Cima, PhD ’12, won the Targeted Research Fellowship. Two other recent graduates, Lisa Jackson-Schebetta, PhD ’10, and Jeanmarie Higgins, PhD ’11, jointly won the Collaborative Research Award. Among the other points of visibility: Associate Professor Scott Magelssen served as conference program co-chair; Professor Emeritus Barry Witham delivered a moving memorial for distinguished scholar and former UW professor Herb Blau; Gib Cima and Professor Odai Johnson delivered plenary papers; and two current graduate students, Bahar Karlidag and Chris Goodson, delivered papers in the working sessions.
Holly Arsenault. Photo by Erika Schultz/The Seattle Times
Last month, Holly Arsenault (BA ’01) was named by The Seattle Times as one of the 13 for ’13 people poised to shape the arts in the Pacific Northwest. As Executive Director of Teen Tix, Holly works to connect young people with the arts through discounted tickets, workshops, and a Teen Press Corps.
Highlights from our Winter 2014 Quarter include:
Whit Week, January 6-10
Whit MacLaughlin, Artistic Director of New Paradise Laboratories, visited and workshopped with graduate students in preparation for his residency this spring where he will create a new work in collaboration with UW students.