During the 2nd semester of my freshman year at Mason, my mentor, Professor Howard Kurtz, asked me to be his Assistant Director for Arthur Miller’s The Crucible in my senior year. The Crucible is a play about the Salem Witch Trials and its affects on a community. At the time, I had no idea this process would lead me to undergraduate research!
When I entered the theatre program at Mason, my goal was to become well rounded in all aspects of the business while developing a strong skill set as an actor. My undergraduate research is helping me achieve my long-term goals because I am developing strengths in areas I am not as knowledgeable in such as directing and dramaturgy. I am also developing great leadership and collaborative skills (which are key assets to succeeding in theatre).
For our production of The Crucible, Professor Howard Kurtz and I want to focus on themes that relate to a modern audience such as community, nature, and the decay of structure. Currently, I am doing bookwork such as extensive character analysis and compiling 5 different versions of the play including the Original script. The goal is to create a dramaturgical packet for the actors. Once we get into rehearsals next year, actors will have this as a guide and we can begin to create a strong sense of community among the actors so that the production will expose those aspects. Professor Kurtz and I want the whole process to be very collaborative and it all starts with us developing ideas to create a society that modern audiences spanning of different age groups can relate to.
Right now, I am creating questions for Act 3 and Act 4. I have discovered different dynamics among different age groups in the play. All in all, my research is a process where I am developing as an artist and a human being. I will continue to push forward with my Oscar research in hopes to uncover new ideas!