Thoughts from Thanksgiving Break

Not many family Thanksgivings pass where I have the opportunity to reflect on my life, my experiences, and my relationships enough to discern what exactly I’m thankful for. However, going to college is where all of that began to change. It wasn’t until then where there were drastic changes and challenges that came up where I really began to note all of the people in my life that remained consistent, as well as the type of relationships I hold the dearest.

Anyone that has grown up in a small town can tell you about the effects of predetermined expectations. People assume they know everything about you, given that so often they know you and your family as well as those you spend your time with. When you live in that kind of setting, people can often assume they know what you’re capable of without considering the resources available. When I was in high school, I considered myself fairly average. I wasn’t the top of my class, I wasn’t the most well-known person, and I certainly wasn’t able to do everything I wanted to do. I’ve always dreamed of working in the performing arts and being a part of the stage.There was a lot in my life I wanted to accomplish, but people assume they know you based on what they hear about. Ever since my oldest brother John went to college back in 2009, I knew that college would be where that would begin to change. Here at SUNY Oswego, I found those opportunities, and I learned that ambition can be a defining characteristic all in itself.

This Thanksgiving, I am thankful for every person in my life who has given me a chance to accomplish something bigger than myself. As a person, I define myself by the type and quality of work that I do, rather than the titles affiliated with them. Every responsibility I’ve been granted here at Oswego, every leadership position and opportunity, has all been provided by somebody who was willing to take a chance on me. It’s been because of those chances that I’ve been able to be a part of so many amazing projects here. I had an incredible experience on the Media Summit as the Event Promotions Director. I’m currently the PR Representative for the Shaun Cassidy Fan Club Improv troupe and am the Wardrobe Run Crew Chief for the student honors production of ‘Boeing, Boeing’. I’m also an intern with the Marketing and Communications Department and am going to be helping manage Dramafest next semester with the Oswego State Theatre Department. I’m so happy to be in a place that puts faith into my ambitions.

Most of all I’m thankful for the people in my life who believe in me and support me; friends, family, my mom and dad. I’m happy for the opportunities I have, but it’s all of the wonderful people in my life that remind me every day that it’s not about the things you can do, but the type of person you are. The people close to me in my life are genuine and help remind me what is important. Without them, I wouldn’t be the person I am today. Happy Thanksgiving everyone.

The New Face of Dramaturgy at Oswego State Theatre

‘Clybourne Park’, written by Bruce Norris, notably takes place in the time periods 1959 and 2009. With racism being evident the world of the play, the audience witnesses prejudice in America during both the Civil Rights Movement as well as the modern setting of 2009. Racism isn’t always obviously spoken about in the show, as it’s often shown in the context of microaggression. These contrasting worlds, one historically familiar and one that we live in, are portrayed in order to prompt the questions, “What am I like?” and “Do I do that?” Its prevalence takes different forms depending on the time period.With historical significance playing such a key part in the production, an important piece of the process is ensuring historical accuracy as well as performing script analysis. That is where the role of dramaturgy comes in.

This semester has brought many changes within Oswego State’s Theatre department, one of which has come from the hire of the new theatre history and criticism professor Dr. Toby Malone. Malone, whose experiences originated in acting, got his Ph.D. in Theatre at the University of Toronto and there shifted into focus on Dramaturgy. He was attracted to dramaturgy as it bridged the gap between performance and the scholarly aspects of theatre. His early work focused on the structure of Shakespearean plays. Through his work in dramaturgy with theatres, he ensured that the necessary cuts made to the heightened language of Shakespearean plays wouldn’t detract from the overall comprehension of the shows. His thesis research included analyzing cuts made to 16 different productions of ‘Richard III’ and analyzing the cultural beliefs and values of the different time periods based upon the cuts that were made to the individual productions. Malone within his teaching very much stresses the importance of the study of the textual structures of the plays as well as the typical research-based approach to dramaturgy.

The department in the past has become accustomed to assigning one student to act as the dramaturgy for each individual production. This semester, Malone’s THT334 Dramaturgy class are doing dramaturgy for both “Clybourne Park” and “Boeing, Boeing”. Students within the class are immersed in research and interpretation of texts within the realm of the current theatre season. Malone is integrating a digital aspect into the program, having students build a website known as a “Dramaturgy Hub” for both ‘Clybourne Park’ and ‘Boeing, Boeing’. Over his professional career, he had noted that having a book created by the dramaturg containing reference material for the actors often went underused, as actors often don’t have the time to sift through it. He then decided to adopt those resources into a website format. SUNY Oswego’s dramaturgy hub contains facts about different elements of the plays, an “Ask The Dramaturgs” section where members of the production team can submit questions, a glossary for complex language within the text, and other focused research developed by the dramaturg team. Students of the Dramaturgy class have been currently shadowing rehearsals and performances of the ongoing production ‘Clybourne Park’, which premieres Thursday, October 19th, 2017. The students are focusing on reviewing the progress of the show, checking for inconsistencies that need further research, and ensuring that the story being communicated onstage will be understood by the audience.

To see what SUNY Oswego’s THT334 Dramaturgy class has been up to, check out the updated Dramaturgy Hub for ‘Clybourne Park’ at https://sites.google.com/oswego.edu/clybournehub/home

Also, don’t forget to see ‘Clybourne Park’ at Waterman Theatre Thursday, Oct. 19th, and Friday, Oct. 20th at 7:30 pm and Saturday, Oct. 21st at 2pm. Next week the dates are Thursday, Oct. 26th and Friday, Oct. 27th at 7:30 pm and Saturday, Oct. 28th at 2pm with an ASL interpreter.

Introduction: Anna Chichester

Hello! My name is Anna Chichester, and I am one of the new student bloggers for SUNY Oswego. I am a sophomore Public Relations and Theatre major with a minor in Arts Management. I can be seen around campus as a performing member of the Shaun Cassidy Fan Club Improv troupe, the Event Promotions Director for this year’s Media Summit, an active member of Blackfriar’s Theatre Organization, as well as a social media intern with the Department of Marketing and Communication. I will be posting blogs relating to my current projects and about other things seen around campus.

As an involved member of Oswego State’s Theatre department, I will also be managing publicity for this semester’s mainstage production of Clybourne Park directed by Henry Shikongo as well as the student honors production of Boeing, Boeing directed by Megan Hickey. Be sure to follow SUNY Oswego Theatre on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter for updates on the production process.