Interested in how it all happens? Here's an in depth look at the creative process within the department, featuring two shows from Transy's 2015-2016 season.
Brendan Bivens ('16), in his first show with the department, terrified audiences
The Department's season for 2015-2016 was unique. For this year, a theme was chosen: monsters on stage. The two shows chosen to be part of this season were original play Beware Wolf and Other Nightmares and She Kills Monsters by Qui Nguyen.
The monsters theme allowed some very exciting opportunities for every single part of creative process for the two shows.
An excerpt from the production's poster, designed by Jack Girrard
Performed in fall (just in time for Halloween), this production featured 5 original plays and was divided into two different portions.
The first part of the play featured four separate short pieces. For these shorter plays, several students got to try their hand at directing (Justin Wright, Martha White, and Mollie LaFavors). Each was site specific within the theater and required the audience to travel around to different areas of the space to watch each piece. Three of these four scenes required elaborate design work for a werewolf, a succubus, a snake-woman, and a nightmare of a monster.
Transy students got an amazing opportunity to help design and bring these creatures to life themselves. Through a design course geared specifically toward working on this show, team taught by expert professors Mike Sanders and Missy Johnston, students got an opportunity to fabricate all of the pieces for the required characters. These pieces used different silicone and clay molds, as well as a lot of liquid latex.
Under guidance of the designers (Mike and Missy), students created these pieces in the class entitled "Theatrical Creatures." They then helped to apply them when it came time for performance, getting a fully rounded experience working with prosthetics and special effects makeup.
The second part of Beware Wolf and Other Nightmares featured an original one-act play commissioned from playwright Mark Stein. While this portion of the play didn't feature the same need for the elaborate makeup and prosthetics work, it did provide students and designers with some exciting opportunities.
In particular, student Haberlin Roberts ('17) was able to work as Assistant Costume Designer and tackle one of the script's challenges: a fur pelt dress...that could also be tangoed in.
The challenging dress on Charlotte Stephens ('18), in a dance choreographed by Stephanie Robinson ('16)
This show was also special as it allowed students the opportunity to see their work published and performed. In the semester prior to the production, director Michael Dixon put out a call for short plays featuring monsters. Two students (Mattie Bruton and Jessica Wilson) had plays chosen for the production. Many more were able to be included in the published anthology, Evil Genius: Monsters on Stage.
Ultimately, this show allowed every student involved to learn new skills and practice them in a creative, high-stakes venue — from prosthetics work to costuming to playwrighting. The show was successful and exhilarating for both audiences and the creative team.
Director Michael Dixon appeared on WKYT to promote the show and discuss the creative process with students
Want to learn more about the creative process at Transy? Read part 2 of this piece on She Kills Monsters, the second part of this monstrous season.