Exciting news from the Drama Department at Austin Community College!
NEWS and UPDATES
The cast and director of This Day Forward by Nicky Silver
directed by Perry Crafton

photo credit: Jaden Davis
Letter from the Interim Department Chair
Season’s Greetings and Happy Holidays from the ACC Drama Department.

We are extremely thankful that we have enjoyed such a successful fall semester, and we sincerely appreciate your attendance and support for all that we have done this year.

We do have one final event before the holiday break and that is our ACC Fall Drama Student Showcase. This event will highlight performances of scenes, monologue, and readings from our performance students, and design exhibits from our technical theatre students. The showcase will be held December 11 at 7:30 PM in the Austin Playhouse Theatre on the Highland campus. Following this performance, we will celebrate our semester with a catered holiday party. This event is free and open to the general public, and we would welcome your attendance.

We have many events in store for the spring semester, and we will let you know about those as they occur. But for now, we wish you a happy holiday season, and a well-deserved winter break.


Perry Crafton
Interim Drama Department Chair

NEW ACC Drama Student Organization Alert!
Do you fancy the fine arts? Do you enjoy acting, designing, singing, or dancing? Or do you want to make new friends? If you said yes to any of the above, you'll be happy to know, there's this and more now available at the Cypress Creek Drama Club! Come alive and join us for the exceptional and wonderful by showcasing your talents, having fun, and making friends! Explore the everything in the arts, decompress from school, utilize helpful resources and so much more! We welcome everyone to join us for the  mystifying world of theatre! 
REGISTRATION for SPRING SEMESTER
courses is OPEN NOW!

FACULTY SPOTLIGHT:

Kristen Rogers




Interview by Jamie Rogers

Where are you from? What schools have you attended?

I was born in Brookfield, Wisconsin, but I only lived there until I was five years old. I've moved a lot in my life, so I have lived in Texas (multiple times), Illinois (multiple times), Minnesota, New York, and California. I earned my B.A. in Theatre Arts from Winona State University in Winona, Minnesota, and my M.F.A. in Acting from the Actors Studio Drama School in NYC. I am currently finishing my Ph.D. in Interdisciplinary Fine Arts at Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Texas.

What is your past/current research?

Over the course of my career, I have done quite a bit of work researching "forgotten" women in American theatre, such as Cheryl Crawford, an independent Broadway producer and founder of the Actors Studio, Marguerite Zorach, a visual artist who designed for the Provincetown Players, and Susanna Haswell Rowson, who is sometimes referred to as "the mother of the American musical." However, I am currently A.B.D. (All But Dissertation), so my most recent research has been in support of my dissertation, "Mediatizing the 'Madwoman': An Analysis of the Treatment of Female Mental Illness on Stage and Screen."

How long have you been teaching in the ACC Drama Department and what classes have you taught?

I began teaching as an adjunct at ACC in the Fall of 2016. I have primarily taught Introduction to Theatre courses, mostly in the Early College High School programs.

Why did you decide to pursue directing as a profession? What kind of material are you drawn to?

I got into theatre kind of backwards. I was a band nerd (a drummer) in high school, and I started playing percussion in the pit band in the musicals we did. I was also on speech team, so some of the drama kids were my friends, and I just kind of started hanging around at rehearsals. I was always interested in the process - in how decisions were made and how things got done. Pretty soon, I began stage managing and then assistant directing. By my second year of my undergraduate degree, I felt pretty confident that I wanted to be a director. After my junior year, I did a directing apprenticeship with New York Stage and Film through the Powerhouse program at Vassar College. That pretty much sealed the deal!

I am typically drawn to plays that ask questions or pose problems. I want the theatre I create to inspire ongoing conversations. I tend to like shows that are not easily defined - not strictly comedy or tragedy - plays that seem to be relatively traditional in form on the surface, but then subvert expectations in some way. My favorite plays often feature strong female voices and intimate ensembles.

Why did you choose to direct Lisa Kron’s Well for ACC Drama’s spring 2019 production?

I first read Well a few years ago, when a friend of mine directed it. I knew of Lisa Kron through her writing in Fun Home , of course, and to some degree through her decades-old work with the Five Lesbian Brothers. But I had never come across Well before. I did not get a chance to see my friend's production, but I loved the script, so I added it to my ever-growing "to-direct" bucket list.

When Perry Crafton asked me whether I would be interested in directing this spring, we had a long conversation about the department's goals, potential benefits for student learning opportunities, and more. I came back with a handful of options, Well among them.

Well is such an interesting piece of theatre. It has all of the qualities that I find so interesting - it tackles some big questions, it subverts expectations, it has strong female voices and an intimate ensemble, and it is definitely difficult, if not impossible, to define.

You recently directed productions of In the Next Room, or the vibrator play at Southwestern University and Little Women:The Broadway Musical at Texas Tech. What is it like coming in as a guest director and getting the opportunity to work with their undergraduates?

Coming into a program or company where you are a sort of unknown entity is always an interesting experience. At Southwestern, I felt really welcomed and embraced. At first, I did not know anyone there. But the faculty operate at such a professional level, and they clearly lead by example. They are working artists and scholars, and they hold their students to high expectations. So when I came in, I was treated as a colleague immediately, and the students gave me their trust and respect very quickly. With a show like that in particular, trust is so vital. We were really able to dig deep and explore. Across the board, the students were really open to working with me both as a director and, in a way, as a teacher. And we had a lot of fun along the way! It made for a wonderful experience.

Texas Tech was a little bit different because, even though I had been gone for a few years, I knew and had worked directly with most of the faculty there. However, the B.F.A. in musical theatre is a new program at Tech, which had started after I left, and most of the cast was drawn from that program. So I hardly knew any of the students! Also, at Tech you're working with both graduate and undergraduate students as actors, designers, and production team members. So the levels of experience and education can vary greatly. But in some ways, I think that mix is part of the joy! It's really important to keep the balance of process and product in mind.

Every production is a learning experience, of course, but knowing that you're working in educational theatre where everyone is at a different level working to hone their craft while simultaneously collaborating to create an outstanding production is such a privilege!


In the Next Room, or the vibrator play
Southwestern University

photo credit: Carlos Barron

Little Women:The Broadway Musical
Texas Tech University

photo credit: Bill West-Davis

You have directed and worked with Jaston Williams (of Greater Tuna
fame) on productions such as A Wolverine Walks into a Bar and most
recently Clear to Partly Crazy . How did you come to work with Williams
and what have those experiences been like?

Jaston came to Texas Tech during my first year there. He was a respondent for the annual Raider Red's One-Act Play Spectacular, and I had directed one of the student-written one-act plays. After his public feedback for each of the plays, he pulled me aside and told me how impressed he was with my work, and he asked me about my career and my goals as a director. We developed a relationship while I was at Tech, and we always had great conversations about the work. When I moved to Austin in 2015, he was in the process of writing A Wolverine Walks into a Bar , which is a collage of scenes and monologues written to be performed by Jaston and the incomparable Lauren Lane. He asked me to work as one of the co-directors for that show, and we cultivated a wonderful working relationship. So when he wrote his next piece, his newest one-man show ( Clear to Partly Crazy ), he asked me to direct. It has been such a joy! Jaston Williams is an incredibly gifted writer and performer, and an extremely generous collaborator.

What are you currently working on?

At the moment, I am directing the musical The Secret Garden: Spring Version at for the Education program at the Georgetown Palace Theatre. I am also, of course, beginning my work on Well.

Any advice to students who wish to pursue directing as a career?

Go see as much theatre as you can. In lots of different kinds of venues.
Read plays. Plays from the canon, yes. But also new plays. (Look up the New Play Exchange - it's an amazing resource)!
Read books about directing. I love Katie Mitchell's The Director's Craft. But there are lots of good ones out there!
Take classes in directing - but also in acting and design!
Look at paintings and study composition in visual art.
Cultivate relationships with playwrights, with designers, with other theatre artists.
Reach out to directors whose work you admire and see if they are willing to talk to you. Ask them questions. Ask if you can be an assistant director for them some time.
Look for calls for directors at local theatres and apply.
Find places where you can propose plays you want to direct.
Be bold, be hungry, and go for it!

What are your future plans?

First - finish my dissertation so that I can officially hold the title of doctor! And then ideally, I will eventually hold a full-time faculty position at a college or university while also continuing to pursue professional directing gigs.


STUDENT SPOTLIGHT:

Marcus Speed




Interview by Jamie Rogers
Where are you from?

I am from Corsicana, Texas.

Were you involved in theatre when you were in high school?

Yes I was very involved in my theatre company.

What were the reasons you decided to enroll at Austin Community College?

I enrolled at ACC to finish my basics and to train with the infamous Perry Crafton.

Any favorite classes in the Drama Department and why? Important things you have learned so far?

My favorite classes are Acting 1 and Stage Makeup. I would say I have grown the most in stage makeup just because I have taught myself so much and I have learned so much about the art of makeup and masking.

You currently just finished acting in our production of This Day Forward. Can you tell us what characters you played and how was the rehearsal/performance process?

I was Donald/Leo in This Day Forward and the rehearsal/performance was one of the best journeys I have been on in theatre. The dynamic of the script and characters really allowed me some depth to play with and try new things every rehearsal. It was the best!

Marcus Speed in This Day Forward
photo credit: Jaden Davis
Any overall advice to give to current Drama Majors on ways to get them involved in the Department?

Any way you can get involved in our theatre department I strongly suggest taking action! There are countless opportunities at ACC and they are always announced and posted! If you have never heard of the call board or know where it is, you can walk up to any ACC Drama staff member and ask any question! That’s the best thing about ACC is that our faculty/staff are so open and welcoming that they are here to provide you with the help and guidance you need! It is so easy to get involved and I strongly recommend it! Plus, it’s so much fun!

What does the future hold?

I’m not sure what the future holds, but I can tell you this. It’s bright and loud and it’s calling my name!

Congrats to our ACC Drama Family
(Faculty, Students, and Recent Alum)
for their B. Iden Payne Awards!
Outstanding Lighting Design
Rachel Atkinson,  The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time , ZACH Theatre

Outstanding Featured Actor in Musical Theatre
Joe Kelley, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels , Summer Stock Austin

Outstanding Ensemble Performance  
Gricelda Silva & Kelly Hasandra - in the ensemble of  Polly Mermaid: Apocalypse Wow! , Glass Half Full Theatre

Large Cast Performance in Scripted Theatre  
Crystal Bird Caviel - in the company of  Fixing Troilus and Cressida , Rude Mechanicals

Dramaturgy
Crystal Bird Caviel,  The Brothers Size , Capital T Theatre

YESENIA GARCIA HERRINGTON was nominated by Broadway World (Austin) for
“Best Leading Actress in a Play (Drama)” for her work in The Madres by Stephanie Allison Walker. 

KRISTEN ROGERS is currently directing the Palace Production Company's production of the musical The Secret Garden: Spring Version at the Georgetown Palace Theatre Playhouse. Performances will be the first weekend of December. For more information, please visit: http://www.georgetownpalace.com/
ACC Drama Department 2018-2019 Season

The Real Inspector Hound
by Tom Stoppard
September 27-October 7 in the HLC Acting Studio
Admission is free of charge

This Day Forward
by Nicky Silver
October 25-November 4 in the Austin Playhouse Theatre
General Seating is $8.00

Well
by Lisa Kron
February 28-March 10 in the Austin Playhouse Theatre
General Seating is $8.00

Sight Unseen
April 17-27 in the HLC Acting Studio
Admission is free of charge

Performance times are at 7:30pm for Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings,
and at 2:00pm for Sunday matinees.

Additional information can be found at our newly redesigned website: www.austincc.edu/drama
You can always keep
up-to date with the
ACC Drama Department
by visiting our website
or following us on Facebook and Instagram!