The Raven: Poe’s Brooding Poem Haunts the Stage


[ MUSIC ]>>HELLO, AND WELCOME
TO “TALKING POINTS.” I’M DAVE KELLY, DIRECTOR OF
ADVANCED MEDIA PRODUCTION AT CAL STATE, LONG BEACH. TODAY WE’LL BE TALKING ABOUT
THE THEATRE ARTS DEPARTMENT, AND IN PARTICULAR, A
RECENT STUDENT PRODUCTION AND ADAPTATION OF EDGAR ALLAN
POE’S FAMOUS CLASSIC POEM, “THE RAVEN.” MY GUESTS TODAY ARE
TWO REPRESENTATIVES OF THE THEATRE ARTS DEPARTMENT. THEY ARE ANNE D’ZMURA, THE
DEPARTMENT CHAIR AND HEAD OF DIRECTING FOR THEATRE
ARTS; AND LIZZY FERDINANDI, A RECENT GRADUATE OF THE
THEATRE ARTS PROGRAM. THANK YOU BOTH FOR JOINING
US ON “TALKING POINTS.”>>THANK YOU FOR HAVING US.>>THANK YOU.>>AND LET’S START THE
CONVERSATION BY TALKING ABOUT THE THEATRE ARTS
DEPARTMENT IN GENERAL. GIVE US A BRIEF OVERVIEW OF THE
MANY ACTIVITIES THAT ARE GOING ON IN THE DEPARTMENT AND,
ALSO, GIVE US A SENSE OF A GUIDING PHILOSOPHY THAT MOTIVATES THE
WORK THAT YOU DO THERE.>>SURE. WELL, WE HAVE AN
INCREDIBLY ACTIVE DEPARTMENT. WE HAVE AN UNDERGRADUATE
PROGRAM, AS WELL AS A GRADUATE PROGRAM. AND OUR UNDERGRADUATE
PROGRAM HAS THE GENERAL MAJOR, AS WELL AS THE TECHNICAL MAJOR,
AS WELL AS PERFORMANCE EMPHASIS. AND OUR GRADUATE PROGRAM HAS
AN MFA, MBA IN MANAGEMENT, MFA IN DESIGN AREAS —
SET, LIGHTS AND COSTUMES — AND THEN AN MFA IN ACTING. AND OUR MFA PROGRAM HAS A
GRADUATE COMPANY, CAL REP, WHICH IS OFF-CAMPUS
AT THE QUEEN MARY. AND THEN OUR UNDERGRADUATES,
WE HAVE A LOT OF DIFFERENT PROGRAMMING. WE HAVE OUR MAINSTAGE
PRODUCTIONS, UNIVERSITY PLAYERS. WE ALSO HAVE THEATRE THRESHOLD,
WHICH IS A COMPANY RUN BY THE STUDENTS, AND THEY
PERFORM A NEW PLAY EACH WEEK. AND THEN WE HAVE STARTED
A NEW COMPANY, EPIC — EDUCATIONAL PERFORMANCE
IN COMMUNITY — WHICH IS AN OUTREACH
PROGRAM INTO THE COMMUNITY AND A TOURING COMPANY. YOU KNOW, WE HAVE AN AMAZING
GROUP OF STAFF AND FACULTY, ALL OF WHOM ARE CONSUMMATE
PROFESSIONALS IN THE FIELD, WITH NATIONAL AND INTERNATIONAL
CREDENTIALS, WHICH IS FANTASTIC FOR OUR STUDENTS BECAUSE,
THROUGH THEIR WORK AND BEING MASTER TEACHERS,
THE SORT OF PROGRAMMING AND EDUCATION THAT THE
STUDENT GETS ARE — IT’S REALLY TOP-NOTCH.>>AND WHAT’S THE
GUIDING PHILOSOPHY?>>WELL, IT DEPENDS ON WHETHER
IT’S GRADUATE OR UNDERGRADUATE. BUT IN UNDERGRADUATE, IT
REALLY IS TO TRAIN OUR STUDENTS IN THE LIBERAL ARTS WITH
AN EMPHASIS IN THEATRE. THEY GOT ALL THE
SKILLS NECESSARY TO MOVE INTO THE PROFESSION
AND/OR GRADUATE SCHOOL. WE’VE BEEN DOING AN AMAZING
JOB GETTING OUR STUDENTS INTO GRADUATE PROGRAMS. YALE, NYU, CAL ARTS, COLUMBIA
— YOU NAME IT, THEY’RE THERE. BUT ALSO TO TEACH THEM THE
SKILLS THAT CAN BE TRANSFERABLE TO OTHER PROFESSIONS, AS WELL. AND THEN, WITH THE GRADUATES,
IT IS TO PREPARE THEM FOR THE PROFESSIONAL WORLD. YEAH.>>LET’S TALK ABOUT
LIZZY FERDINANDI, SINCE SHE’S HERE TODAY. AND LIZZY, YOU WERE THE
FIRST UNDERGRADUATE STUDENT TO DIRECT A MAINSTAGE
PRODUCTION.>>YES.>>AND I WANT TO
GO TO YOU FIRST, AND THEN WE’LL GO BACK TO LIZZY. BUT HOW DID THAT HAPPEN? GIVE US THE SYNOPSIS
ON HOW LIZZY WAS CHOSEN TO PRODUCE “THE RAVEN.”>>WELL, I’M A NEW CHAIR
THIS YEAR, BUT I WAS CHARGED WITH PUTTING THE
SEASON TOGETHER, WITH THE SEASON PLANNING
COMMITTEE, WHICH IS COMPRISED OF FACULTY AND STUDENTS. AND I’VE ALWAYS WANTED
OUR DIRECTORS TO HAVE THE OPPORTUNITY
TO BE ON THE MAINSTAGE, BECAUSE IT IS JUST THE NEXT STEP
FOR THEIR EDUCATIONAL PROCESS. AND WE HAD ACTUALLY
SCHEDULED ANOTHER PLAY, BUT WE DIDN’T HAVE
THE RIGHTS YET. BUT WE WERE WAITING
FOR THEM, AND LIZZY, WHO WAS ONE OF MY
STUDENTS IN DIRECTING CLASS AND HAD DIRECTED SEVERAL
SHOWCASE PRODUCTIONS AT WHAT IS NOW CALLED
THEATRE THRESHOLD… AND I WENT DOWN, ON A FRIDAY, BECAUSE THEY HAD CHOSE
THURSDAY NIGHTS AND FRIDAYS. AND FOR SOME REASON,
I DIDN’T PREVIEW IT. I THINK I WAS OUT OF TOWN. AND I WATCHED THE SHOW,
AND IT BROUGHT TEARS TO MY EYES FOR SEVERAL REASONS. ONE WAS BECAUSE IT
WAS SO BEAUTIFUL AND SO CREATIVE AND
SO IMAGINATIVE. AND REALLY VERY MATURE, IN HOW
SHE HAD WORKED WITH THE COMPANY. AND ALSO BECAUSE IT REALLY
SHOWED HER TRAJECTORY THROUGH THE PROGRAM. AND SO, I WENT TO THE
SEASON PLANNING COMMITTEE, AND I SAID, “LOOK. THIS IS THE TIME TO DO IT. WE HAVE A STUDENT WHO IS READY.” AND SO THEN I GOT THEIR
APPROVAL, AND THEN I SPOKE WITH LIZZY, AND WE PUT
IT INTO THE MAINSTAGE. AND WE WERE JUST DELIGHTED.>>LIZZY, WE’RE GOING
TO TAKE A LOOK AT A VIDEO CLIP OF
THE PERFORMANCE. BUT FIRST, I WANT TO ASK
YOU ABOUT YOUR MOTIVATION AND YOUR INCENTIVE FOR PRODUCING
OR DIRECTING THIS SHOW. WHAT WAS IT ABOUT THIS
EDGAR ALLAN POE POEM THAT MOTIVATED YOU TO WANT TO
PRODUCE A STAGE PRODUCTION?>>WELL, I HAVE A STRONG
BACKGROUND IN DANCE, AND I KNEW AFTER DIRECTING
SEVERAL SHOWCASES THAT I WANTED TO EVENTUALLY DIRECT
A MOVEMENT PIECE. AND I DIDN’T WANT TO
CHOOSE JUST ANY STORY; I WANTED TO BE INSPIRED. SO, I REALLY DIDN’T GO
LOOKING FOR THE MATERIAL. BUT ONE DAY, I JUST
THOUGHT OF THE “THE RAVEN,” AND I HAD STUDIED
IT IN HIGH SCHOOL. AND I ACTUALLY KNEW MORE
ABOUT “TELLTALE-HEART” THAN I DID ABOUT “THE RAVEN.” BUT FOR SOME REASON, THE
WORDS WERE STUCK IN MY HEAD, AND I READ IT OVER AND
OVER AND OVER AGAIN. AND ALL OF A SUDDEN,
I WAS GETTING ALL OF THESE STAGE PICTURES
IN MY HEAD, AND I COULDN’T GET THEM OUT. AND I JUST KNEW THAT I
HAD TO MAKE IT HAPPEN.>>IT’S QUITE A VISION. WE ARE GOING TO TAKE A LOOK NOW AT A VIDEO CLIP FROM
“THE RAVEN.”>>WELL, LIZZY, SHE’S UNIQUE
IN TERMS OF HER COLLABORATION. SHE’S VERY MUCH INTERESTED
IN EVERYBODY’S THOUGHTS AND WHAT EVERYBODY HAS TO GIVE. SO, IN TERMS OF TELLING
THE STORY, I FEEL LIKE IT’S A COMBINATION OF MY CHARACTER,
AND ALSO WHO I AM. A LOT OF THE DANCE PIECES,
SHE ASKED FOR MY INPUT. AND SHE HAD ME CREATE
SOME OF THE THINGS I DID, AND THEN SHE TWEAKED THEM. SO, I FEEL LIKE, IT’S
ALMOST LIKE A MIXTURE OF INTERWEAVING BOTH
OUR INTERPRETATIONS, AS WELL AS EVERYBODY
ELSE IN THE SHOW. [ MUSIC ]>>ONCE AGAIN, THAT WAS A
CLIP FROM THE STAGE PRODUCTION OF “THE RAVEN,” DIRECTED BY UNDERGRADUATE
STUDENT LIZZY FERDINANDI. LIZZY, WHEN I LOOK AT THAT
CLIP, THERE ARE FOUR WORDS THAT COME INTO MY MIND. AND THOSE FOUR WORDS
ARE “SOMBER,” “INTENSE,” “DRAMATIC” AND “PROVOCATIVE.” WERE THOSE THE KINDS OF
EMOTIONS THAT YOU WERE TRYING TO EVOKE IN THE AUDIENCE?>>ABSOLUTELY, ALL OF THOSE. BECAUSE I KNEW THAT, WELL,
WHEN I READ THE POEM, MY FIRST THOUGHT WAS THAT
IT WAS INCREDIBLY SAD. BUT I FELT, IN ORDER TO GIVE
A CONTEMPORARY FEEL TO IT, I HAD TO ADD THAT SENSUALITY
AND THAT ALLURE IN ORDER TO FULLY MAKE IT
RELATABLE TO THE AUDIENCE THAT WOULD BE SEEING IT. AND SO, I TOOK THE TRADITIONAL
THEMES OF LOVE AND LOSS AND GRIEF, AND I ADDED THAT ADDITIONAL SENSE
OF SENSUALITY AND… ALLURE AND, YEAH.>>THE DARK OBSESSION. SO THIS REPRESENTS
THE DARK OBSESSION OF LENORE ONCE LENORE
HAS PASSED, AND THEN, THE RAVEN COMES IN
AND MOCKS THE MAN, WHO IS THE PERSON
TELLING THE STORY.>>YEAH, SHE’S ALMOST
LIKE THE ANTITHESIS OF LENORE, HER COMPLETE
OPPOSITE, BUT ALSO, FAIRLY SIMILAR IN
THE MAN’S EYES, AND THAT’S WHY HE’S
DRAWN TO HER. BECAUSE SHE ALSO
GIVES HIM SOMETHING THAT LENORE COULD
NEVER GIVE HIM, AND THAT’S WHY HE’S
SO DRAWN TO HER.>>RIGHT. AND APPARENTLY, THE
AUDIENCE FELT THE SAME WAY. I’VE GOT THE REVIEW
FROM “THE DAILY 49ER,” WHICH IS OUR CAMPUS NEWSPAPER
HERE AT CAL STATE LONG BEACH. AND CONTRIBUTING WRITER
KATIE ANDERSON DID A REVIEW OF “THE RAVEN,” WHICH
YOU’RE AWARE OF, BECAUSE SHE INTERVIEWED
YOU AS PART OF THE REVIEW. BUT JUST FOR OUR AUDIENCE
HERE, KATIE WRITES, “THE PLAY KEPT THE
AUDIENCE ON THE EDGE OF THEIR SEATS THROUGHOUT
THE ENTIRE PERFORMANCE. IT WAS ENTERTAINING FROM START
TO FINISH AND EXTREMELY MOVING. AND THE USE OF LIGHTING,
MOVEMENT AND COSTUMES HELPED CREATE THE
ABYSMAL FEELING OF THE POEM.” I’D SAY YOU HIT A
HOME RUN ON THAT ONE. WHAT DOES IT FEEL LIKE TO
GET A REVIEW LIKE THAT?>>INDESCRIBABLE, REALLY,
BUT I’LL TRY TO DESCRIBE IT. SO REWARDING. SO GOOD. I’M SO PROUD
OF THE SHOW. IT’S DEFINITELY —
IT IS THE HIGH POINT OF MY UNDERGRADUATE CAREER. AND WHEN YOU START OFF
DOING A SHOW, ESPECIALLY ONE THAT IS DEVISED AND ADAPTED,
AT LEAST, WELL, FOR ME, I REALLY DIDN’T SET OUT
TO GET GOOD REVIEWS. THAT’S NOT WHAT I HAD IN MIND. I JUST WANTED TO
CREATE SOMETHING. I WANTED TO TELL THE STORY,
AND GETTING THOSE REACTIONS AND THOSE REVIEWS IS
JUST ICING ON THE CAKE.>>ALL RIGHT. WELL, WE JUST HAVE A COUPLE
OF MINUTES LEFT BEFORE WE HAVE TO TAKE A BREAK, AND
IN THE SECOND SEGMENT, WE’LL TALK ABOUT THE
COLLABORATIVE EFFORTS INVOLVED IN PUTTING A PRODUCTION LIKE
THIS ONTO THE MAINSTAGE. BUT GOING BACK TO THE ESSENCE
OF THE POEM, WHICH WAS WRITTEN IN 1845, HOW DO YOU
TRANSLATE A POEM FROM 1845 INTO CONTEMPORARY TERMS?>>I WOULD SAY BY
FOCUSING ON THE THEMES THAT ARE MOST RELATABLE. AND I THINK THOSE WERE
LOVE, LOSS AND GRIEF, BECAUSE EVERYONE
CAN RELATE TO THOSE. EVERYONE EXPERIENCES
LOVE, AND UNFORTUNATELY, EVERYONE EXPERIENCES LOSS,
AND SO THEY GO THROUGH GRIEF. AND SO, I THINK THE MAN’S
JOURNEY IS SO RELATABLE TO EVERYONE, AND IT
COULD HAPPEN TO ANYONE. HIS, OF COURSE, IS
A DARKER STORY AND NOT EXACTLY WHAT WE
MAY WANT FOR OURSELVES. BUT IT IS RELATABLE, AND ADDING
THE CONTEMPORARY MUSIC JUST PULLED IT ALL TOGETHER.>>AND WHEN YOU WERE IN THOSE
DARK HOURS OF THE NIGHT, WONDERING IF THIS WAS GOING
TO HAPPEN, WHAT WERE SOME OF THE CONCERNS THAT YOU
HAD, ABOUT MAKING THIS WORK?>>WELL, SINCE WE HAD
DONE THE SHOW BEFORE IN A MUCH SMALLER VENUE, MY
BIGGEST CONCERN WAS BEING ABLE TO EFFECTIVELY TRANSLATE IT TO
A BIGGER STAGE AND HAVE IT WORK. BECAUSE I KNEW SOME MOMENTS,
THAT I WAS REALLY ATTACHED TO, I KNEW THAT THEY WOULDN’T
TRANSLATE TO THE BIGGER STAGE AND THAT THEY JUST
WOULDN’T WORK. SO, MY CHALLENGE WAS
LETTING GO OF THOSE MOMENTS AND CREATING NEW ONES
OR SPECIFYING MORE. AND THAT WAS A HUGE CHALLENGE,
BUT ULTIMATELY MORE EFFECTIVE.>>WE’RE GOING TO HAVE TO
TAKE A BREAK RIGHT NOW, BUT WE’LL COME BACK AND TALK
ABOUT THE COLLABORATIVE PROCESS. AND STAY WITH US. WE WILL BE BACK WITH MORE OF OUR
CONVERSATION ABOUT “THE RAVEN.” [ MUSIC ]>>YOU ALWAYS MADE SURE
I BRUSHED MY TEETH.>>YOU TOLD ME THAT
SMART WAS COOL.>>YOU ALWAYS TOLD
ME TO DREAM BIG.>>TO ALL OF THOSE
PARENTS WHO TOOK THE TIME TO MAKE RAISING THEIR CHILDREN
THE MOST IMPORTANT JOB, WE’D LIKE TO SAY…>>THANK YOU.>>THANK YOU.>>FROM THE BOTTOM OF MY
HEART, THANKS, MOM AND DAD.>>THIS MESSAGE IS BROUGHT
TO YOU BY THE U.S. AIR FORCE.>>ALL THE PREPARATION,
THE TRAINING, IT ALL COMES DOWN TO THIS. [BACKGROUND MUSIC]>>TO BE A WINNING TEAM, YOU HAVE TO WORK
LIKE A WINNING TEAM.>>WE HAVE A JOB TO
DO OUT HERE TODAY.>>SOME PEOPLE THINK
IT’S ABOUT MUSCLE, BUT IT’S REALLY ABOUT HEART. A LOT OF HEART.>>MY TEAM DEPENDS ON ME.>>AND MY TEAM IS 50,000 STRONG. [ MUSIC ]>>LOOKS LIKE A LOT
OF WORK’S GOING ON. [ MUSIC ]>>ALL RIGHT.>>LET’S GO. [CHEERING]>>THIS IS WHAT IT FEELS
TO BE PART OF A TEAM.>>A WINNING TEAM.>>THE ACTION TEAM.>>ARE YOU IN?>>ACTION TEAM! ACTION TEAM!>>GET IN ON THE ACTION
AT ACTIONTEAM.ORG. ARE YOU IN?>>WELCOME BACK TO
“TALKING POINTS.” I’M DAVE KELLY, DIRECTOR OF
ADVANCED MEDIA PRODUCTION AT CAL STATE, LONG BEACH. TODAY, WE’RE TALKING ABOUT
THE THEATRE ARTS DEPARTMENT AND SPECIFICALLY THE
RECENT STUDENT PRODUCTION OF “THE RAVEN,” EDGAR
ALLAN POE’S CLASSIC POEM. AND OUR GUESTS ARE ANNE
D’ZMURA, THE DEPARTMENT CHAIR OF THEATRE ARTS, AND
LIZZY FERDINANDI, THE STUDENT DIRECTOR
OF “THE RAVEN.” AND I WANT TO START WITH
YOU, ANNE, IN THIS SEGMENT, AND TALK A LITTLE BIT MORE
ABOUT TRACKING THE DEVELOPMENT OF A STUDENT’S PROGRESSION THROUGH THE THEATRE
ARTS DEPARTMENT, BECAUSE LIZZY IS CERTAINLY
A GOOD EXAMPLE OF THAT. HOW DO YOU TRACK
THAT PROGRESSION?>>WELL, YOU KNOW, WE’RE IN
THE BUILDING ALL THE TIME — THE FACULTY, STAFF
AND STUDENTS — BECAUSE WE HAVE CLASSES ALL
DAY AND THEN MANY PROJECT IN REHEARSAL DURING THE EVENING. SO, THE FACULTY GET TO KNOW EACH AND EVERY STUDENT
REALLY VERY WELL. IN THIS CASE, LIZZY
IS A PERFORMANCE MAJOR IN ACTING AND DIRECTING. SO, SHE HAS BEEN TRACKED
THROUGH THE PROGRAM WITH THE PERFORMANCE
FACULTY, THE ACTING FACULTY, AS WELL AS MYSELF
WITH THE DIRECTING. AND LIZZY TOOK THE
BEGINNING DIRECTING AND THE INTERMEDIATE
DIRECTING CLASSES AND THEN SHE ALSO
PROPOSED FOR OUR SHOWCASE, WHICH IS OUR WEEKLY SERIES OF
STUDENT PLAYS, WHICH I MENTOR. SO, I GET TO KNOW ALL OF THE
DIRECTORS REALLY VERY WELL. AND ONE OF THE THINGS THAT WE
DO IS WE TALK VERY SPECIFICALLY WITH THE WORK, ABOUT WHAT WORKS
AND WHY AND WHAT DOES NOT WORK AND WHY, WHICH IS PART
OF THE EDUCATIONAL TOOL. SO THAT THEY’RE ALWAYS
EVALUATING AND STRIVING TO IMPROVE
THE WORK. AND SO, YOU KNOW, IT CAME
ABOUT, AS I MENTIONED EARLIER, WHERE I SAW THE SHOWCASE
— AND I WAS NOT SURPRISED. LET ME SAY THAT. YOU KNOW, LIZZY HAS
AN EXCEPTIONAL TALENT, AND SHE HAS A TALENT AS A
DIRECTOR, AS A CHOREOGRAPHER, AS A COLLABORATOR
AND AS A LEADER. SO, WHEN I SAW HER WORK IN “THE
RAVEN,” AS I SAID, I WAS TEARY, BECAUSE IT MADE ME VERY HAPPY TO
SEE HER SUCCEED IN SUCH A WAY. AND WHEN IT MOVED
TO THE MAINSTAGE, SHE WAS GIVEN THE OPPORTUNITY TO REALLY HAVE A FAR MORE
INTENSIVE LEARNING EXPERIENCE, WITH GRADUATE DESIGNERS AND
FACULTY MENTORS FROM THAT AREA AND OUR PRODUCTION MANAGER
AND THE STAGE MANAGER. SO, SHE REALLY HAD A
FULLY REALIZED EXPERIENCE. AND ONE THING I WANT TO
SAY ABOUT IT, IF I MAY, IS TALKING ABOUT
AUDIENCE REACTION. ONE OF THE THINGS THAT WE
HAVE ARE A LOT OF GE STUDENTS WHO COME TO OUR PERFORMANCES
AND THEN TALK ABOUT IT AND WRITE PAPERS. AND WE GOT SOME AMAZING PAPERS
THAT WERE SHARED WITH ME, TALKING ABOUT HOW
THESE STUDENTS, MANY OF WHOM HAD NEVER SEE
THEATRE BEFORE, GOT IT, WHEN THEY WERE WATCHING
“THE RAVEN,” THAT THEY WERE SO EMOTIONALLY MOVED
AND INVESTED IN THE WORK IN A WAY THEY NEVER
THOUGHT WAS POSSIBLE. AND SO, I ATTRIBUTE THAT
TO LIZZY AND HER CARE OF THE MATERIAL AND HER ABILITY TO REALLY LEAD A
COMPANY FORWARD.>>AND LIZZY, AS THE DIRECTOR
OF THIS MAINSTAGE PRODUCTION, AS THE CLICHE GOES, “HEAVY IS
THE HEAD THAT WEARS THE CROWN.” AND SO, YOU WERE WEARING
THE CROWN FOR THIS ONE. WHAT’S IT LIKE TO COLLABORATE
WITH ALL THE DESIGNERS, THE SET DESIGNERS AND
THE COSTUME DESIGNERS AND THE MAKEUP ARTISTS AND
THE ACTORS, THEMSELVES, AS WELL THE FOLKS
THAT DO THE LIGHTING AND THE MUSIC AND SO FORTH?>>IT WAS DEFINITELY A
LEARNING EXPERIENCE, OF COURSE, BUT IN A BEAUTIFUL WAY. BECAUSE I’M ALWAYS TRYING TO
WORK ON MY COMMUNICATION SKILLS. BUT WITHIN THIS PROCESS, I
FELT LIKE I GREW SO MUCH, BECAUSE I HAD BEEN SLOWLY
LEARNING HOW TO DELEGATE, TIME MANAGEMENT,
COMMUNICATION — ALL THINGS THAT I
STARTED LEARNING WHEN I FIRST STARTED TAKING
THE DIRECTING CLASSES. AND I’VE BEEN SLOWLY IMPROVING
AS I’VE GOTTEN MORE EXPERIENCE. BUT TO BE ABLE TO COMMUNICATE
WITH THE WHOLE TEAM, I DEFINITELY HAD TO TAKE
THE CROWN OFF AND PUT LIKE MY THINKING HAT ON, TO BE
ABLE TO EFFECTIVELY COMMUNICATE WITH SO MANY DIFFERENT PEOPLE,
WITH SO MANY DIFFERENT IDEAS AND TO GET US ALL THE SAME PAGE. BECAUSE IT’S NOT JUST A
CONVERSATION BETWEEN MYSELF AND THE LIGHTING DESIGNER OR
MYSELF AND THE COSTUME DESIGNER. IT’S A CONVERSATION
BETWEEN ALL OF US, AS WELL AS THE FACULTY
MENTORS AND ANNE AND EVERYONE INVOLVED. AND SO, IT WAS REALLY ALL ABOUT GETTING EVERYONE
ON THE SAME PAGE.>>AND THE VISION IS YOURS. THE VISION IS YOURS, BUT IT’S
ALSO A COLLABORATIVE VISION, BECAUSE YOU DO HAVE THE INPUT
OF ALL THESE VARIOUS ASPECTS AND THE VARIOUS ARTISTS
THAT CONTRIBUTE. SO, HOW DO YOU, WHEN YOU
GET THIS TEAM TOGETHER, HOW DO YOU GET THEM TO SEE
YOUR VISION AND YET STILL SHOW THAT YOU ARE OPEN TO
THEIR SUGGESTIONS?>>SOMETHING WE’RE TOLD A
LOT IN THE DEPARTMENT — AND I THINK IT’S SO TRUE — IS HOW YOU TALK ABOUT YOUR WORK
IS THE WAY YOUR WORK WILL BE. SO, WITH EXPLAINING MY
ARTISTIC VISION TO PEOPLE, I TRY TO EXPLAIN THIS AS CLEARLY
AS POSSIBLE AND AS PASSIONATELY AS POSSIBLE, BECAUSE I FEEL
LIKE, WHEN YOU’RE PASSIONATE, THAT IGNITES PASSION IN OTHERS. SO — AND I VERY MUCH THINK THAT
WAS THE CASE WITH “THE RAVEN.” ALL THE DESIGNERS GOT ON BOARD
IMMEDIATELY, AND THEY JUST LIKE GOT IT, RIGHT AWAY. AND THEY ALSO HAD
THEIR OWN IDEAS THAT EXPANDED ON MY OWN VISION. FOR EXAMPLE, THE LIGHTING
DESIGNER HAD THIS CONCEPT OF CREATING THESE TWO DIFFERENT
WORLDS, WITHIN THE AUDIENCE: LENORE’S WORLD AND
THE RAVEN’S WORLD. AND WHEN SHE TOLD ME THAT IDEA,
I AUTOMATICALLY STARTED THINKING ABOUT WHAT I COULD DO,
CHOREOGRAPHICALLY, WITH THAT, AND THAT FUELED MY IDEAS. AND SO, IT WAS JUST
AN ONGOING DIALOGUE, AND WE ALL INSPIRED EACH OTHER.>>AND YOU HAVE A BACKGROUND
IN DANCE AND THE FACT THAT THIS PIECE WAS HEAVILY
CHOREOGRAPHED IS EVIDENT FROM THE CLIP THAT WE SHOWED. HOW DID YOU USE THAT
TRAINING AS A DANCER TO MOTIVATE THE ACTION
ON THE STAGE?>>WELL, I FEEL LIKE,
IN DANCE AND IN ACTING, YOUR BODY IS SO IMPORTANT. AND I FEEL LIKE THERE’S NO WAY
THAT YOU CAN LIE WITH YOUR BODY. YOU CAN LIE WITH YOUR VOICE, AND
PEOPLE MIGHT NOT PICK UP ON IT, BUT THERE’S NO WAY
THAT YOUR BODY CAN LIE. THERE’S TELLS. SO I FEEL LIKE EVERYTHING
THEY DID HAD TO BE MOTIVATED. IT HAD TO COME FROM SOMEWHERE. SO, I REALLY STRIVED FOR THAT AND HAVING EVERY LITTLE MOVEMENT
BE MOTIVATED AND HAVE A PURPOSE.>>WHERE YOUR PERFORMERS
TRAINED DANCERS THEMSELVES?>>SOME OF THEM WERE,
AND SOME OF THEM WEREN’T. BUT ALL OF THEM MOVED WELL. MOSTLY, WHEN I WAS AUDITIONING,
IDEALLY, I WAS LOOKING FOR DANCERS AND MOVERS, BUT
ABOVE ALL, I WANTED PEOPLE WHO ARE COLLABORATIVE
AND WERE GOING TO BE ABLE TO EFFECTIVELY TELL THE STORY.>>YOU MENTIONED THE LIGHTING
SETUP BUT ALSO THE COSTUMES AND THE PROPS AND SO ON. THERE IS THIS KIND OF DARK
INTENSITY TO EVERYTHING. HOW DID YOU COME UP WITH
THAT DARK INTENSITY?>>WELL, I THINK
IT’S WITHIN THE POEM. AND IT WAS ALSO A
COLLABORATION BETWEEN ME AND THE COSTUME DESIGNER. I FELT LIKE THE DARK COLORS
CONTRIBUTED TO THE MOOD SO WELL. AND ESPECIALLY WITH THE ENSEMBLE
— WE CALLED THEM “SHADOWS” — THEY NEEDED TO BE ABLE TO
IGNITE THAT SENSE OF FOREBODING AND FEAR, BUT ALSO FADE
INTO THE BACKGROUND AND BE ALMOST FLIES ON THE WALL. AND THE COLORS DID THAT.>>AND AS FAR AS WORKING WITH
THE ACTORS, WHAT WERE ANY OF THE CHALLENGES THAT YOU FACED THAT YOU THOUGHT MIGHT BE
DIFFICULT, BUT YOU WERE ABLE TO OVERCOME IN WORKING
WITH THE ACTORS?>>I WOULD SAY JUST, AGAIN,
MAKING SURE THEY UNDERSTOOD WHERE I WAS COMING FROM. BECAUSE SINCE IT WAS A
COLLABORATIVE ENVIRONMENT, IF THEY DIDN’T KNOW MY VISION,
THEY WOULDN’T HAVE BEEN ABLE TO CONTRIBUTE THEIR OWN IDEAS,
WHICH WAS VERY MUCH ENCOURAGED. SO, I MADE SURE MY
VISION WAS CLEAR TO THEM. THEREFORE, AS THE PROCESS WENT
ALONG, THEY WERE ABLE TO COME TO ME WITH SOME OF
THEIR OWN IDEAS THAT CONTRIBUTED TO
MY OVERALL VISION.>>AND AT WHAT POINT IN THIS
PROCESS DID YOU KNOW THIS WAS GOING TO WORK — THIS
PRODUCTION, THIS CHOREOGRAPHY, THIS LIGHTING, THIS
COSTUME DESIGN — ALL OF IT IS GOING TO WORK?>>THAT’S A REALLY
GOOD QUESTION. WELL, I REALLY CAN’T
ANSWER THAT WITHOUT TALKING ABOUT THE SHOWCASE FIRST,
BECAUSE WITH THE SHOWCASE, IT’S LIKE A FOUR-WEEK
REHEARSAL PROCESS. IT’S VERY, VERY QUICK,
AND THAT’S A SHORT TIME TO GET ALL THESE
DIFFERENT ELEMENTS TOGETHER.>>FOR OUR AUDIENCE, FOR
THE BENEFIT OF OUR AUDIENCE, WHAT IS THE SHOWCASE PROCESS?>>WELL, IT’S… LIKE ANNE MENTIONED,
WE’RE PUTTING ON SHORT PLAYS EVERY SINGLE
WEEK, AND EACH PLAY REHEARSES — I THINK IT’S THREE WEEKS, AND
THEN WE GO INTO TECH WEEK. AND SO, OVERALL, IT’S
LIKE A FOUR-WEEK PROCESS. AND THEN WE PERFORM
ON THURSDAY NIGHT, AND THEN FRIDAY AFTERNOON,
AND THEN IT’S DONE. AND — BUT YOU’RE STILL WORKING
WITH DESIGNERS AND ACTORS. AND IT’S ALL STUDENT-RUN. BUT FOR “THE RAVEN,” I DIDN’T
KNOW IT WAS GOING TO WORK UNTIL MAYBE LIKE THE
TUESDAY OF OUR TECH WEEK. BECAUSE WITH A DEVISED
PIECE LIKE THAT — WHENEVER YOU DIRECT
SOMETHING, YOU’RE PUTTING SO MUCH OF YOURSELF INTO IT. BUT WITH THE DEVISED
PIECE, IT’S YOUR SOUL. AND I WAS SO AFRAID THAT IT
COULD EITHER GO REALLY WELL OR REALLY, REALLY BADLY. BUT THEN I KNEW, WHEN I SAW
ALL THE ELEMENTS COME TOGETHER, THAT I HAD SOMETHING GOOD. AND THEN WITH THE MAINSTAGE,
AGAIN, I THINK I KNEW SOONER. ONCE WE FINISHED BLOCKING
THE SHOW, I WAS LIKE, “OKAY. ALL RIGHT. WE’RE DOING OKAY.” AND THE CAST WAS JUST SO
GREAT THE ENTIRE TIME. THEY WERE ALL SO POSITIVE
AND COLLABORATIVE — THE BEST PEOPLE TO WORK WITH. AND THEY REALLY GAVE
ME THE SENSE THAT IT WAS GOING TO GO WELL.>>DID YOU BRING THE SAME
ACTORS FROM THE SHOWCASE INTO THE MAINSTAGE PRODUCTION?>>A MAJORITY OF THEM, YES. AND THEN WE CAST FOUR NEW
PEOPLE WHO INTEGRATED SO WELL. IT WAS JUST THE BEST
OF BOTH WORLDS.>>WHAT WAS THE BIGGEST
CHALLENGE, TAKING IT FROM THE SHOWCASE
IN A SMALLER ENVIRONMENT TO THIS LARGER ENVIRONMENT?>>I WOULD SAY THE — FOCUSING
ON THE JOURNEY OF THE MAN AND HIS RELATIONSHIPS, BOTH
WITH LENORE AND THE RAVEN. BECAUSE IN A MORE
INTIMATE SETTING, IT’S — I WOULD FEEL LIKE IT’S EASIER, BECAUSE THE AUDIENCE
IS RIGHT THERE. THEY CAN SEE THE
SWEAT AND THE TEARS. BUT IN THE STUDIO THEATRE, IT’S
BIGGER, AND THE ACTORS NEED TO PLAY TO MORE PEOPLE. SO, WE REALLY HAD TO WORK
ON SPECIFYING THOSE MOMENTS AND DEVELOPING THE CHARACTERS, SO THAT ALL OF THEIR
ACTIONS WERE CLEAR.>>WE’VE ACTUALLY
RUN OUT OF TIME. TIME REALLY FLIES WHEN WE’RE
HAVING A CONVERSATION LIKE THIS. BUT I WANT TO THANK YOU, LIZZY,
FOR APPEARING ON THE SHOW TODAY AND TELL US ABOUT YOUR
JOURNEY THROUGH “THE RAVEN,” FROM SHOWCASE TO MAINSTAGE. AND NOW YOU’RE A RECENT GRADUATE
OF THE THEATRE ARTS PROGRAM. SO, CONGRATULATIONS, AND
GOOD LUCK IN THE FUTURE.>>THANK YOU SO MUCH.>>AND ANNE, I WANT TO
THANK YOU FOR JOINING US AND SHARING YOUR PERCEPTIONS
OF LIZZY’S TRAJECTORY THROUGH THE THEATRE
ARTS PROGRAM. AND KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK.>>AH, WELL, THANK YOU
FOR HAVING US ON THE SHOW. VERY MUCH.>>MY PLEASURE. AND THANK YOU FOR JOINING US ON THIS EDITION OF
“TALKING POINTS.” JOIN US AGAIN FOR
OUR NEXT SHOW SOON. UNTIL THEN, I’M DAVE KELLY. HAVE A NICE DAY. [ MUSIC ]

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