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Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Mastering the Art of Long Days and Sleepless Nights.
My time at Villanova Theatre

I’m not going to lie, grad school is hard.  And as much as I love this program, it can be brutal!  I have a number of friends who are attending graduate school for Theatre and they are stressed and tired just like we are here, but I don’t think their programs are quite as all encompassing as the M.A. in Theatre program at Villanova. 

Coffee becomes your best friend in Grad School.

Some insight:  all graduate students here earn a Master of Arts in Theatre, a comprehensive degree with equal emphasis on scholarly and practical experience.  We are here to learn it ALL, not just acting or stage management or directing (as you might in an M.F.A program), we are all afforded equal opportunities to try anything and everything that interests us!  This means that not only are we LOADED with tons of academic work, readings, projects and papers, we are also the ones building the sets, props, and costumes, stage managing, and acting in the main-stage shows.  (I am not even in The Drowsy Chaperone and I’m tired!)

It's the little things!  The Drowsy Chaperone Co-Creator and Original (Tony Award Winning) Man in Chair, Bob Martin, visits a performance of The Drowsy Chaperone at Villanova Theatre.  (Bob martin is in the Middle.  Lisa Lambert, also a Co-Creator joined us!)

All of that aside, I couldn’t imagine myself at another program.  Through the tired tears, the sleepless nights, and the stress of getting our first Production History done (the first big project for our Dramaturgy – Classics class), I am confident that once I graduate from the Villanova M.A. in Theatre program, I will be able to handle absolutely anything that may be thrown my way.

My Production History Binder on August Wilson's The Piano Lesson.

The biggest challenge that I see myself facing here is that the program is only two years, and there is so much I want to get involved in, achieve, and accomplish!

If you are interested in learning more about the Villanova Masters in Theatre Program, or more about Villanova Theatre in general, please contact Annetta Stowman.  Auditions and interviews for the incoming class of 2013 are in February.  Visit for more information.  Wish me luck as finals approach!

-Brie Knight

1st Year Graduate Assistant
Marketing and PR Department

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Sarah Moya - Villanova Undergraduate Theatre Minor Interns this Semester at the Abbey Theatre in Dublin, Ireland

You may remember Sarah Moya as Shelley in Villanova Theatre's Batboy: The Musical:

Here, Sarah tells us her tales of interning at the Abbey Theatre in Dublin!

I am an archival intern under Mairead Delaney at the Abbey Theatre in Dublin. I have now been working there for about a month and a half and work about 9 hours a week, and I must say that it is quite possibly the best time to be working at the Abbey. From the newly acquired building they plan on using to expand the theatre, to the recent digitization project for the Abbey archives and their partnership with NUIGalway, there is a lot of new and exciting things happening for the Abbey! It was incredible, I got to meet several Abbey actors and writers, including Stephen Rea, and I even got to meet the Irish President! I could not be more honored to be a part of it all. Then again, as I'm told, there is always something big and exciting happening at the Abbey, so I'm sure I have more in store.

 Most of my work for the first few weeks involved dealing with documents that were going to be put online as part of the digitization process. I was cleaning and helping restore documents that were up to 110 years old, scanning them or taking pictures of them. A lot of the time, Mairead would go through the history of a lot of these documents with me, allowing me to learn more about the rich history of the Abbey, which is certainly extensive. Along with the preparations for the digitization project, I very recently started a research project in which I'm tracking the Abbey's American tours, looking at where they were and what theatres they played at, then updating the information accordingly, hoping to help make the information that the Abbey already has more accurate and relevant to researchers who come in seeking information. 

Every day, I'm amazed by some of the things that Mairead has in her collection. And every day, she's getting something new. It is very cool being a part of the archival section of the Abbey because the best way to learn the history of a place is put yourself in it. I also get to interact with other departments, such as props, communication, and set design, since they come to the archives to ensure that what they may be presenting or performing with is historically accurate. 

I would definitely recommend this internship to another Villanova student. It has been such a welcoming environment where I have always been treated with respect and as a co-worker. I am happy to answer any questions for those who are looking into the internship.  

-- Sarah Moya, October 2012

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Becoming cooler.

Last week, Joanna gave me some "homework" to do regarding my character in MUSEUM. Tink, she said in her deep, lilting voice, "is a downtown girl. She is not... well... she is not a Villanova girl." With that, I knew exactly what she meant! I had to completely drop the "middle class" in me--I needed to find something deeper, something about me that was much more edgy. My friend & fellow MUSEUM actor, Ashley (she plays Tink's "frenemy," Kate) and I did some research and found some pretty cool things about Downtown Girls:

1. They're not trying to impress anyone. (Unlike me, who likes to make everyone happy!)
2. They don't smile excessively. (Again. If you've
ever met me, you know how difficult not smiling is for me.)
3. They're not easily offended by anyone.
4. They wear much funkier clothes & jewelry than Villanova girls.
5. They're really smart. Book AND street.
6. They listen to cool, underground music.

So, it's been pretty fun working to become my own kind of Downtown Girl. I get to act edgy and tough and much cooler than I actually am. ;) And, Janus (our Costume Designer) says I get to have a blue streak in my hair! If only Ashley & I could get Andy Warhol to appear and hang out with us... then we'd be set.

Tink & Kate are just two of over forty characters you'll meet at our MUSEUM. You don't wanna miss what all these crazy people will get into!

Talk to you soon!


PS. I'm sure I'll have some brilliant insights during tech this weekend. Or, at least I'll have some funny things to share. Look out!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Hi, friends!

Emily again, this time writing about Villanova Theatre's upcoming production of MUSEUM! MUSEUM, which is written by one of America's most inventive female playwrights, Tina Howe, is directed by Joanna Rotté, one of Villanova Theatre's most experienced faculty members. Joanna was taught by legendary acting teacher, Stella Adler, so it's pretty cool to be learning from and directed by someone with so much knowledge!

What's really crazy about MUSEUM is that it features 42 (yes, 42!) actors that range in age all the way from 18-72 years old. Our first read through was such a joy ride--it was so neat to come together and actually hear the silly antics and moving moments all the characters go through. As we read, and at subsequent rehearsals since, Joanna was sure to remind us that our characters are real people experiencing art. "Don't play the comedy; it's about the art," she keeps telling us. That piece of direction is really helpful for me--when the actors are staying true to reality and actually understand their characters, the comedy definitely comes out! Without forcing it, each and every actor is able to bring some kind of comic intent to the play. But behind the comedy lie some really poignant ideas.

Another fun fact (maybe the MOST fun fact!) about our production is that the art in the show's exhibit is being created by actual artists. Pretty cool, huh? Joanna and the production team found real artists who fit the playwright's description of the artists in MUSEUM perfectly. There's Villanova Theatre Prop Master (and painter/sculptor) Ward Van Haute, who is "playing" the Steve Williams character. Ward (and Williams) created hanging soft sculptures that intrigue and delight several of the characters on stage. Lawrence Anastasi is Zachary Moe (well, and his father, "Mr. Moe"... you'll see what I mean when you see the show)--he has created some abstract white paintings that are visited by some very special people. Finally, there's Heather McLaughlin, who is Agnes Vaag. Heather is in the process of creating seven found-object sculptures for the exhibit. My character, Tink, is especially interested in Agnes' artwork--something pretty neat happens when I'm checking out her sculptures, so you'll just have to see the show to find out exactly what it is! All of the artists will appear in the show each night--so it'll be especially fun for the audience to look for them every night!
The best part about this show is the sense of community we're fostering among the cast, crew, production team and the artists. With over 50 people involved, that can be pretty hard to do! But I truly feel that everyone's understanding of the process and respect for the art is helping to foster a great sense of togetherness. I can't wait to see what this week of rehearsal brings! I'll be sure to keep you updated with awesome revelations and the fun and moving moments we encounter.
Talk to you soon!
Photo by Jen Jaynes

P.S. Want tickets to the MUSEUM? Go online or call 610-519-7474. They're going fast, so get to it! :)