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Tuesday, January 21, 2014

KC MacMillan Tells No Lies

Villanova Theatre is so lucky to have KC MacMillan, Villanova Theatre MA grad and professional director in the Philadelphia area, on board as director for School for Lies.  Her perspective has been invaluable to the students that are working on the production.  In one actor's words, "she is an absolute dream".   She was kind enough to answer some questions for Villanova Theatre Talk about School for Lies, her work with student actors, and the influence that Villanova played on her career as a theatre practitioner.

How did your education in the Villanova Theatre MA program shape your trajectory as a theatre artist?

So many ways, directly and indirectly.  My major interest at that time was dramaturgy, work I still do frequently at the Lantern, where I am the associate artistic director.  The discipline, specificity, and creativity of the dramaturg is a major component of my work as a director.  And although I didn’t quite realize I was a director until a few years after I graduated with my M.A., my classwork at Villanova, particularly Jim Christy’s directing and styles courses and Harriet Power’s solo performance course, sent my artist-self in that direction, for sure.

How does it feel to return to your alma mater as a professional guest director?

It’s a real honor.  It’s been a real pleasure to work as a peer with Villanova production staff who were here when I was a student (1999-2001).  Back then, I was one of Janus’ assistants in the costume shop.  To work with her, talking about character, palette, etc, as I watched her do with other directors back then, is a joy.  It is also a bit surreal—a measure of how I have changed as a person and an artist.  I’m 36; I’ve been directing professionally more than 10 years and I have 22 productions behind me.  Most of the time that just feels like my ordinary life.  But being back at Villanova, working with graduate students talking about Script Analysis and Dr. Bader’s class—I find myself peering into the past at my 23-year-old Villanova self.  Being that person feels like a lifetime ago…but also not really that long at all.

Can you say a few words about School for Lies?  What makes it a special show to work on?  What about it has been enjoyable so far?

I’m having a great time.  It’s a style I have worked in frequently, having directed two previous productions of Moliere and an adaptation of another classical play by David Ives.  Or as Ives calls it, a “translaptation,” reflecting his desire to honor the classical playwright’s work, but to adapt it with his own playwright’s tools and the ‘music’ of contemporary language.  It’s fun to share the aesthetic of high comedy with these student actors, helping them to unlock the secrets of the verse, find a physical vocabulary for the world, and plumb the text for the jokes.  Which are often obscene.  The atmosphere of our rehearsal room has been thoughtful, hardworking, joyful.

School for Lies runs February 11th-23rd.  Call 610.519.7474 or visit for ticket information.