Recent Submissions

  • From One Mentally Ill Artist to Another: An Actor Takes on Bo Burnham's Bleak Musical Humor, Inside-style

    Jaros, Michael; Schuster, Rachael (2023-05-01)
    In 2020, actor and comic Bo Burnham filmed, directed, produced, and acted in Inside, a musical comedy special filmed in his guesthouse. Inside is a piece of artwork dripping with sarcasm that reflects Burnham's cynical view of the world. It is laden with apparently genuine moments brought into question by Burnham's performativity. Burnham and his stage persona are two very different people, and Inside shows how he straddles this line and blends the personal and the performer into one entity whose mental stability is questionable at best. Upon my first viewing of Inside during COVID-19, I heard my voice overlaid with Burnham's. His performativity and self-criticism resonated strongly with my creative spirit. The harshly realistic concepts of acting to survive and existing in a hyper-critical, Internet-saturated world felt like he was peering into my anxiety-riddled mind. Analyzing Burnham's comedy specials and considering the suffocating post-COVID landscape I still find myself in, I selected songs and monologues I could re-perform. Pulling from fevered breakdowns and journal entries, I wrote monologues, weaving together my texts and his into a cohesive story, interspersed with my recreations of his witty and often startlingly melancholy music, and created, filmed, and recorded this all in one academic year, solely in my dorm room. This film is a space where the lines between my acting and ramblings, captured by the camera, are blurred so indistinguishably that no one, perhaps even myself, can tell the difference.
  • Creating Character Through Costume: The Costume Design Process for Small Mouth Sounds

    Kiernan, Julie; Kiff, Sam (2023-05-01)
    As people, we use our appearance to convey ourselves for others to see. This concept pertains to Theatre Arts as well. In theatre, the costume designer creates costumes, or appearance, of a character. The job is to curate a perception of the character that matches the director’s vision. To achieve this, there is a process. Every designer’s different. I chose to document this process, leading to the creation of my thesis. I designed Bess Wohl’s Small Mouth Sounds. Unlike many, this play has minimal dialogue. Without the aid of character dialogue, my costume choices had to express the personality of the six characters. The rigorous design process is too large to cover in the world of an abstract. However, it is spoken about, in detail, in my process paper: a personal recollection of my process, and thoughts, throughout my costume design journey. This consists of an explanation of my process, from analysis to conceptualization, to final costume. Paired with my personal commentary on my findings and thinking for each stage of the process. Imagery, from early sketches to finalized renderings, even the accredited stage photography of the final costumes is included in the form of a digital portfolio. This collection of images will provide insight into my rapidly evolving designs, with yes, even more commentary, as I gained a better understanding of both the world of the play, and the world of costuming.
  • Crying Laughing: An Exploration of the Fundamental Differences and Overlap Between the Two

    Sampiere, Peter; Caliskan, Stephen (2023-05-01)
    When we think of theatrical plays, we tend to categorize them as either “comedy” or “drama”. Despite there being innumerable sub-genres, we usually recognize the core of the work as being either comedic or dramatic. Although there are obviously differences between these two overarching genres, there tends to be significant overlap between them. My thesis explores not only the fundamental differences between comedy and drama, but also this very overlap. To achieve this, I have written two plays, first workshopped in theater Professor Bill Cunningham's playwriting class last semester, using the playwrights’ primary tools–plot, characterization, dialogue, and theme–and although one is “comedic” at its core and the other “dramatic”, I have sought to examine the link between the two. The first play is a modern comedy that deals with the absurdity of our relationships, and the invariable humor that arises as a result. The second is a period piece set in the 1800’s, and its theme deals with what happens when our moral complacencies meet the sins of our past. Although the two plays are different in style, dialogue and even theme, I have sought to link comedy and drama in both works. In these plays, as in life, there is pain in humor and laughter through our tears. To prepare for this project, I have closely examined the plays written by my favorite playwrights, including Neil Simon, Arthur Miller, Woody Allen, and Sam Shepard. I have learned about the process of crafting a play both from these masters and in the playwriting class I had taken last semester, and have worked with the primary tools at the playwright's disposal to craft each piece. I found that workshopping my plays in that class to be a wonderful education in learning what works, what doesn’t, and whether or not I am communicating what I want to say with each piece to an audience. I have been able to workshop my plays even further in conjunction with my advisor, Professor Peter Sampieri, as we have worked with actors who have helped read each scene aloud. This has enabled me to tighten up each play considerably. On Thursday, May 11, I intend to put both my plays on their feet, in the form of a staged reading of each. I will judge this project to be successful if I have created a community of shared experience within the audience. If they are able to recognize some of themselves in either of these plays, and if they can identify with both the humor and the pathos, I will consider my work to have been worthwhile.
  • The Intersection Of The Head And The Heart: A Playwright’s Journey In Logic And Emotion

    Cunningham, William; Rossmeisl, Stephanie (2022-05-01)
    Logic and emotion are often seen as antithetical. In most people’s minds, the former connects to the scientific, the mathematical, the intellectual, the objective, and the tangible, while the latter relates to the artistic, the ethical, the subjective, the spiritual, and the intangible. In my process journal, I use my original full-length play, The Intersection of The Head and The Heart, as a means to explore these human qualities’ roles in arguably theatre’s foremost topic of examination: the shared human experience. This ultimately examines whether or not an effective intersection between the two even exists. A detailed breakdown and analysis of the play, as well as commentary on my sources of inspiration, techniques, and overall process from writing to performance, demonstrates how the intersection can be examined, both during the process and in the finished product. Finally, I conclude with my personal, academic, and artistic growth over the years. Particular consideration is given to how this is all a greater reflection of my own life experiences.
  • The Facets Of A Stage Manager: The Intersection Of Relationships And Responsibilities Of A Stage Manager

    Harvey, Michael M.; Lebeau, Cassandra (2022-05-01)
    A stage manager’s job comes with numerous responsibilities that all require a working relationship with so many other positions within production to make everything run smoothly. How do these responsibilities and relationships intersect? This project aims to discover how the responsibilities of a stage manager change according to the relationship to the position they are working with in the present moment. To discover how a stage manager's work may differ between relationships, I will be conducting interviews with different positions and disciplines in a production process, for example, directors, actors, multiple types of designers, props masters and technical directors, to learn what their relationship with a stage manager looks like and what types of responsibilities a stage manager has that pertains to their job. Additionally, a survey will be sent out for theatre professionals across different disciplines to take regarding their experiences in their relationships with stage managers based on their job position, as well as a survey to understand the stage manager’s perspective too. The surveys and interviews will be used to analyze stage manager responsibilities from both their own perspectives and the perspectives of others involved in the theatre making process. The conclusions drawn from the surveys and interviews will aid stage managers in understanding the complexities of their relationships within a production and the ways that their job intersects with those relationships.
  • An Exploration Of The Exclusion Of Affinity Groups In The Arts Through The Lens Of Wendy Wasserstein's The Heidi Chronicles

    Sampieri, Peter; Bradley, Hannah (2022-05-01)
    Theatre serves as a reflection of the human experience, but not every human's experience is reflected on and off the stage. Actors and directors often say that there are no small roles, only small actors, which applies to every aspect of the theatre. However, not everyone is treated as though they have an equal role in the world; Women and the LGBTQ+ community are just two of the marginalized groups commonly underrepresented in all of the arts. As a queer, femme-presenting individual, I have often wished to see myself on the stage, but the theatre has fallen short. I used Wendy Wasserstein's The Heidi Chronicles to explore injustices against women and other affinity groups not spoken for in the arts and the world through the lends of the theatre. The cast and creative team of this piece included others who have also wished to see people like them in their disciplines, which warranted discussion of out own experiences throughout the creative process. In directing Wasserstein's piece, I focused on asking how women and the LGBTQ+ community are forgotten about in the arts and what can be done to remedy the lack fo representation. The theatre aims to start conversations and contribute to making a difference. I want my creative peers and audiences to be thinking about the inequities they see in their own lives and ask questions that spark change.
  • SM 101: An Eventful Memoir Of A Stage Manager

    Harvey, Michael M.; Boisvert, Bovie (2022-05-01)
    This thesis is a graphic novel which goes through the ups and downs of a show through my eyes as a stage manager.
  • Exploring Grapes of Wrath, Oleanna, and Tribes: A Directorial Journey

    Sampieri, Peter; Flynn, Morgan (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; Grove, Emily Fay (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; Barrett, Emily Margaret (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; Rittershaus, Alise (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; Colford, Colin (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; Blackbird, Casey Leone (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; Henry, Emily (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; Belley, Sarah (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; Roth, Maddie (2020-04-01)
  • The Time It Takes

    Harvey, Michael M.; Pobiedzinski, Megan (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; DiCarlo, Demi (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; Zubricki, Stephen (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; Sullivan, Cassidy (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.

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