Recent Submissions

  • Exploring Grapes of Wrath, Oleanna, and Tribes: A Directorial Journey

    Sampieri, Peter (2016-05-01)
    Within this thesis, I will compile a culminating prompt book of my directing experiences this year for my Assistant Directorship on Grapes of Wrath by Frank Galati, my capstone project Oleanna by David Mamet in Directing II, and my presentation of Tribes by Nina Raine for the SDC Fellowship at KCACTF Region I. My work on Grapes of Wrath was based far more on my in rehearsal experience. For this reason, I digitally captured much of the rehearsal process, which may be found as an appendix to my written work on Tribes and Oleanna.
  • Embracing the Female Theatrical Perspective: Directing Sophie Treadwell's "Machinal"

    Sampieri, Peter (2014-05-01)
    The whole of this project includes my direction of the fully realized production of the play Machinal by Sophie Treadwell, and the research and analysis that was required in order to mount the show. Dramaturgical research, script analysis, process logs, and the design work of the respective designers are all included elements. The role of the director is to lead and inspire a team of creative individuals in order to help tell the story of the play at hand. it is important that this project occurred because as a female director, it is a rarity to be able to direct a play that has been written by a woman, which focuses on a female protagonist. Please visit the Honors Lounge to experience the full thesis. Materials include: design information, dramaturgy, sound clips, video, and dialogue analysis.
  • The Romeo and Juliet Project: Teaching Shakespeare to English Language Learners

    Kiernan, Julie (2016-05-01)
    The No Child Left Behind Act says that schools must assess students at all grade levels and change their standards, and help those who may be at a lower level because every student is entitled to an education. By creating a unit plan teaching Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, specifically making modifications for English Language Learners, Native English speakers will also learn and be challenged. Using theatre games and reading scripts to build vocabulary of the ELLs, mainstream students will also learn about the culture of ELLs to better integrate them into the school system. Theatre not only helps the students to elevate their vocabulary but also helped them to be more comfortable around the students in their classes because they all had to be included together all the time. This unit plan can be used in English classes which will further merge students because not all students take theatre classes but English class is usually required.
  • Personal Growth and Confidence Building in the Middle School Student Facilitated through Theater

    Sampieri, Peter (2015-01-01)
    Studies done through the American Alliance for Theatre and Education have shown that, “In addition to building social and communication skills, overall involvement in drama courses and performance has been shown to improve students’ self-esteem as well as their confidence.” Unfortunately due to lack of funding, many public schools, especially low-income, inner-city schools are unable to support a drama program. For my honors thesis, I would like to prove the theory of the importance of theatre as a tool for building self-confidence by producing and directing a show in a local, inner-city middle school as I feel that this is a critical age when self-esteem is most fragile and where theatre would be most beneficial. I will carry out this production with a minimal budget, supporting the idea that theatre can be done with little funding and can eventually become a self-sustaining program within the school. This program will incorporate the Common Core College and Career Readiness Anchor Standards for speaking and listening for grades six through twelve provided by the Massachusetts Curriculum for English Language Arts and Literacy.
  • The Tortoise and the Hare: One Turtle's Journey to Discover the True Nature of Art and Life

    April, Celena Sky (2015-05-01)
    Human connection is something we all need in order to live fully, yet we often find ourselves hiding away behind a protective shell. Especially in this day and age, we are usually expected to have it all “figured out” and to present ourselves confidently. This can make it difficult, if not impossible, to reach out. One way we connect is through art, and more specifically, stories. Stories help us to empathize and put ourselves in another’s shoes. The Tortoise and the Hare: One Turtle's Journey to Discover the True Nature of Art and Life is the story of a young man struggling to connect: with his parents, with his friends, and with himself. Through writing this story, for which I drew on personal experiences and feelings, I show how it is possible to express the self through art, and allow others to see it. In conclusion, I have found that this willingness to be take risks and be exposed to others is directly related to a sense of fulfillment and connection.
  • Technical Director of "A Servant of Two Masters"

    Morris, Christopher (2014-05-17)
    The process and responsibilities involved in being the technical director in a theatre production, from pre-production to post-production. An online portfolio will also be created to include both A Servant of Two Masters, which the project is to be based on, and previous roles in productions that I find to be appropriate. The purpose of the portfolio is to take what I've learned in school and to apply it to a means that will help in my future career path.
  • Two Minutes Too Long: The Importance of Absurdist Theater

    Jaros, Michael (2021-05-01)
    Theater of the Absurd is relevant to society today. In looking closer at European and American Absurdism, I have explained the relevance to all society as a whole. Absurdism is important as a genre and should not be overlooked. My thesis centers around defining the Absurd and it’s importance.
  • An Objective Look Into The Directing Process

    Kiernan, Julie (2021-05-01)
    This paper is meant to display the authors journey as a young and developing director as she works with two actress on four different and varying monologues of the directors choosing. The monologues are from Medea, Macbeth, A Doll's House, and A Streetcar Named Desire. Each monologue provides its own series of challenges for the director to work through with each actress. It displays the work that a director must do to better help their actors in their work of a piece. Such as breaking down the plot of the play and the character arc. Understanding the character and being able to convey that information forward. This is followed by notes from the different stages of the rehearsal process. Concluding with a reflection of the process both positive and negative aspects. As well as what the author will be able to take away as she graduates and enters the world of directing.
  • Lemons Lemons Lemons Lemons Lemons

    Sampieri, Peter (2020-04-01)
  • The Time It Takes

    Harvey, Michael M. (2020-05-01)
    One crucial job of the theatrical world is the stage manager, acting as a facilitator and hub of communication for the entirety of the production from the beginning to the end of its process. The knowledge of what the all-encompassing job that a stage manager performs is not common knowledge outside of the small world of theatre. I will document all of the time that I spent working on the spring 2020 production of Bedroom Farce, as directed by Celena Sky April, and compile the data into graphs. Following each section of the process, I will look over the collected times and break down what the work that is being done is and what it leads to in the show as a whole. The project includes graphics to easily visualize how time within a part of production is broken down, paperwork from the production, and analyses of the six parts of the production. The production was broken down into six parts in order to look more closely at each period of time focusing on what takes place during each phase of production. The purpose is to closely look at the amount of time being spent by a student on a singular show in college theatre. This amount of time is generally undervalued by those in the theatre world and completely unknown by those outside of theatre. This project intends to educate about the work that goes into a commonly unheard-of job in the theatre.
  • Kit and Kaboodle: One Actor’s Exploration of Method and Technique in Creating a Character

    Kiernan, Julie (2020-05-01)
    This paper delineates the author’s exploration of acting methods and techniques in the process of building a role for a production. The author is an actor cast in the role of Kit in Salem State Theatre’s fall 2019 production of Top Girls by Caryl Churchill, directed by Julie Kiernan. The author sought to discover which method(s) of acting she finds most useful in creating a character. There are six methods that were utilized and explored in cooperation with the rehearsal process: Constantin Stanislavski’s System, Sanford Meisner’s method, Uta Hagen’s Object Exercises, Robert Cohen’s method, Jerzy Grotowski’s approach, and an adaptation of Linda Hartley’s work on Body-Mind Centering as taught by Kate Kohler Amory. The author employed a selection of the various exercises that the texts outline for each method during a personally scheduled studio time that was separate from the production rehearsals. The project consists mostly of personal reflections written as the author tested out various elements of these methods to see which worked for her process and which didn’t. The author sought to discover a repeatable process with which to enter the professional world of acting that may guide her in the creation of future roles. For the author, this project acts as a culmination and consolidation of what she has learned in her career at Salem State University. In her attempt to find her own personal acting method, her process might serve to aid other actors on the same journey to find their own best way to create a character.
  • Looking Backward, Moving Forward: The How And Why Of A Degree In Theatre

    Cunningham, William (2019-05-01)
    This paper seeks to process the usefulness and purpose, as it pertains to the author, of obtaining a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Theatre with a performance concentration by examining the production process of Poison of Choice written and directed by Professor William Cunningham (Bill) and produced during the fall 2018 semester by the Salem State University Theatre and Speech Communications Department. It identifies concrete theatrical knowledge acquired through a detailed breakdown of the production process, and the author’s personal artistic process as an actor in the production. This is followed by a reflection on the positive and negative elements of the author’s experience, observing areas of growth educationally and artistically and concludes with a decision as to how the author will utilize his degree professionally following graduation.
  • A Stage Manager Prepares

    Morris, Christopher (2019-05-01)
    To continue my journey of developing my skills through the process of a production, I served as the production stage manager for SSU Theatre and Speech Department’s production of the musical Ragtime. Throughout this process, I worked with a management team, including a co-stage manager, to run rehearsals, generate the necessary paperwork to develop a stage manager’s prompt book and, come performance, call the show. To give myself an opportunity to respond to my individual process, I also kept a personal journal. Throughout the rehearsal process I maintained the journal with my thoughts from the week in response to the general notes taken for the production. This allows time for self-reflection, to focus in on how I need to improve as a stage manager day to day. Once the show has closed, I will use these journal entries to reflect on my process. This will be a chance to discuss what I think went well and what could be improved, both in my individual experience and in the process. Ideally, selections from this prompt book, as well as the subsequent journal entries, will be able to serve as an insight into the mind of a stage manager, a potential reference for future managers to use to guide their own process. The production process, and the subsequent skills I have learned, serve me far beyond their place in the theatre. I want to take all that I’ve learned and continue, finding a way to help both myself and others, in the only way I know how: through the process.
  • Contemplative Strategies In The Classroom

    Kiernan, Julie (2019-05-01)
    Contemplative Strategies are teaching methods used to increase student focus, deepen awareness, and create personal connections to the subjects they are studying. Activities such as breathing and meditation deepen learning and have the ability to allow students to learn emotional regulation, increase reflection and empathy, thus opening student’s ability see themselves as an integral part of learning. Contemplative strategies are beneficial to the theater classroom and are also a universally beneficial form of education regardless of content or age group. In this thesis, the research of the theory, practice, current trends, and resources of contemplative pedagogy aids in the creation of a theater classroom unit plan. This unit plan is a segment of curriculum which implements various contemplative pedagogy to provide students with a more empathetic, safe environment where students can advocate for their individuality. Via the use of guided meditation and theatrical warm-ups, students will expand their own relationship with themselves and use this knowledge as the door way to create a performance piece that connects to their identity and their personal world.
  • Uncommon Women And Others And The Story Told Without Words

    Harvey, Michael M. (2019-05-01)
    This project is a documentation of the scenic design process for the Salem State University production of Uncommon Women and Others by Wendy Wasserstein. The production ran between February 14th and February 24th, 2019 in the Callan Studio Theater at Salem State University and was directed by Brianne Beatrice, with assistance from Allyson Kinch. The director’s concept was to force focus on the dialogue within the play by creating a sense of realism and comfort in the environment. This would emphasize the realistic nature of the strong female characters as they attempt to plan their lifelong goals upon their graduation from Mount Holyoke. As the play takes place in the late 1970s as well as the flash-forwards in the early 1980s, the females of the time feel obligated to break their gender norms and become the “uncommon women” who excel in both their education and career choices. The audience watches intimately as they not only attempt to figure out their goals, but as they begin to figure out themselves as empowered individuals. This thesis project will demonstrate step-by-step how I achieved an effective design for this production, as well as exhibit the impact that the scenic environment of a production has on the overall experience of both the audience and the performers.
  • A Study Of Children In Musical Theatre: How We Really Are All In This Together

    Cunningham, William (2018-01-01)
    I never thought that I would be directing a full children’s theatre production while still being a full-time college student. When I was hired at the YMCA of the Northshore three and a half years ago, I never thought that I would be directing at all. At the time, I was very content with teaching my classes, and being a theatre camp counselor in the summer. I had no idea that just a few years later, I’d be not only directing at one of our seven locations, but finding my real passion. Now, I aspire to work full-time as a Creative Arts Director upon graduation, so I can continue this wonderful journey of theatre education across the Northshore. However, that is not what this is about. This past summer 2017, when Senior Creative Arts Director Nicole Heena asked if my schedule would allow me to be able to direct the fall show in the Haverhill location, I knew I had to figure out a way to do it. I’ve worked with the Haverhill students multiple times in the years that I’ve worked for the Y, and they have always been some of the kindest, most fun, caring children that I’ve gotten to work with. When I realized that I would be able to direct them, I did not even hesitate to say ‘yes.’ I knew that it would be difficult being in school full time and also directing, but I definitely wanted to make it work. Going into my thesis, I anticipated that I would be teaching these young actors about what it means to be an ensemble. That regardless of lead roles or how many lines their character has, that the work that they all did together to make the show was what was important, was what mattered. I had no idea the lessons that they instead would teach me, and how much I would learn about teaching in the process. I never had to “teach” these kids how to be an ensemble. The love these kids and the staff have for this program, its values, and each other brought this team together in ways I never could have imagined. Ensemble comes together as a result of great leadership, not only from staff, but from other actors, and those skills are ingrained in these particular actors from the smallest six year old to the oldest 15 year old. The Y Core Values of Respect, Caring, Honesty, and Responsibility taught these kids how to be an ensemble. I was just a guiding hand in that process.
  • On Latino Representation In Theatre

    Cunningham, William (2018-01-01)
    Theatre is becoming more inclusive, more diverse, and I am intending on this paper to to shed light on it, so others may see this too. Growing up I didn’t see much Latino representation in Broadway theatre, so naturally the feeling I got when I was first presented with In the Heights by Lin Manuel Miranda at my high school was incredible. Seeing people on stage that looked like me and had stories like mine for the first time in my life was inspiring. It left me wondering, wanting, and curious to see what else was out there. I also want young people, such as the ones I have run theatre workshops for in my hometown in the summer, to know, that should they choose to pursue theatre, they have role models to look up to in the field and plays that tell stories they can really relate to. This was my inspiration for my thesis. I conducted research on Latinos and Latinas in theatre and interviewed people in the field to hear their experiences. I have also collected data to find out if the number of Latinos in theatre is growing or diminishing. During my research I concentrated on how many Latino actors were playing Latino roles, how many Latinos were playing non-Latino roles, how many plays exist that realistically display Latinos, and what the future of Latino theatre will look like. This is information I want others so that they can see Latino theatre in a new light.
  • The Use Of Lighting Design In The Seagull By Anton Chekhov (Translated By Tom Stoppard)

    Harvey, Michael M. (2017-05-01)
    This project is a documentation of the process of executing the lighting design for Salem State Theatre’s production of The Seagull, written by Anton Chekhov and translated by Tom Stoppard. It was directed by Professor William Cunningham, and opened in the Callan Studio Theatre in December 2016. The director’s concept for The Seagull was to show how the play was really about a story with a lot of love. Within this goal of showing how Chekhov’s characters pursue love, the objective of the lighting design was to highlight the themes of time and nature through focusing on supporting the environment and creating the atmosphere of the forest and lake. In addition to period and environmental research, the design was heavily influenced by the mood landscapes of Russian painter Isaac Levitan. This project will include a concept paper, script analysis, visual research, sketching, a lighting key, a plot with electrics paperwork, magic and cue sheets, and production photos which will highlight the way I was able to visually represent the motifs of time and nature. Through the creation of my design concept, I was able to support the world of the play and provide a sense of clarity to my storytelling.
  • The Seagull: A Character Study Of Nina Zarechnaya And The Role Of Women In Theatre

    Sampieri, Peter; Cunningham, William (2017-05-01)
    As a BFA Theatre Performance student, my senior project will consist of an in depth character study of Nina Zarechnaya from Anton Chekhov’s The Seagull. The initial research and script analysis will be done over the summer and will continue into the fall, with rehearsals taking place throughout the fall semester, leading to the final performances which will take place from December 1st, 2016 through December 11th, 2016. The goal of the project is to explore the inner life of Nina, and compare my own discoveries to the discoveries of other actresses who have tackled this character. By doing so, I hope to explore the universality of this playwright, and discover how the role and the role of women in the theatre has changed over time. My final project will consist of a prompt book (as altered to an actor’s journey), as well as a final performance in the Callan Studio Theatre, in which honors and theatre faculty will be invited to attend. Professor Peter Sampieri, a theatre faculty member, will advise me through the process until he leaves for sabbatical in the spring of 2017, at which time Professor Bill Cunningham will continue to advise me.
  • The Heart of the Puppet: Finding Inner Life and Truth within Puppet Theatre

    Sampieri, Peter (2016-05-01)
    This project is an exploration of my personal journey with puppet theatre and my own philosophies surrounding it. The medium through which I explore these ideas is the final production of a fully realized scene from the play Ubu and the Truth Commission by Jane Taylor. This process is primarily documented through a director's prompt book which includes information on play selection, puppet designs, puppet construction photos, dramaturgical research, script analysis, process logs, blocking notes, and inspirational images needed to conduct the scene. Once I reflected on this process and compiled all of my materials, I decided to share it with others outside of the theatre department at the Undergraduate Research Symposium at Salem State University. This thesis is important to me because it has allowed me to explore my own artistic range as a director and a designer. This thesis is important to my discipline and my community because it exposes people to the art form of puppet theatre which they may not have come across in such a way otherwise.

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