The Orion

Backstage Q&A: Students showcase directing talent

Ashiah Scharaga

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MurphyMayer.jpg AmeliaBransky.jpg

Amelia Bransky and Murphy Mayer, senior theater majors at Chico State, are directing for Chico State’s School of the Arts production of the 2014 Donna Stone Breed Memorial One-Acts, which run 7:30 p.m. Thursday through Saturday with a final show at 2 p.m. on Sunday in Larry Wismer Theatre.

The Orion spoke with the student directors about directing, acting and what they will be most excited for come show time.

The Orion: What are you directing for the One-Acts?

Bransky: I am directing two plays, both are post-9/11 themed. One’s called “The Enemy” and the other one is “Armageddon,” and they’re both about America in a post-9/11 state and people reacting out of fear and loneliness and a sense of patriotism.

Mayer: I’m directing “Bolero,” written by David Ives, and it is a
story of a fractured couple living in a post-9/11 world, dealing with
trying to trust each other through the way that 9/11 has scarred both of
these individuals personally. It’s just a quick, 20-minute look into a
night in their lives.

The Orion: What do you like about directing?

Bransky: I really like how collaborative it is. The way I run my rehearsals and the way I run any of my production meetings I guess is very collaborative; it’s based off of dialogue. It’s just as important for me that my actors understand where I’m coming from and that I’m understanding where they’re coming from. And I often find that through that understanding, we can create really specific moments that wouldn’t have been found without that.

The Orion: What makes it so different from acting?

Mayer: There’s definitely a lot more work that goes into directing, because you basically need to do the actor’s homework as opposed to all the other homework for the whole play. So, it’s a lot more responsibility, and I think it’s an even bigger reward. Because it’s a lot more work, and just seeing what you had originally thought and seeing what it becomes and what it grows into is like the ultimate reward.

The Orion: What are you excited about for this production?

Bransky: Oh I’m just, I’m really excited. Because I think there’s not a lot of opportunity for such intimate moments to be on stage in full-length productions, and we all picked one-acts that were really well-written, really essential to have a relationship between two people. So for the actors, it’s been a really, really fun
challenge. And I think for the audience there’s a lot of really beautiful
tension that we’ve crafted throughout the pieces, and so I want them to be just
as involved as the characters in their experience.

Mayer: I’m totally excited to see it with a live audience and see how they react to the whole show. It’s gonna be hard for
me as soon as it opens not wanting to give notes. I’m gonna
try to not do that and just let them take it from there.

The Orion: Anything you want to add?

Mayer: I think this is a great opportunity for students to support other students’ work in the arts and to kind of bring theater alive again.

Ashiah Scharaga can be reached at [email protected] or @AshiahD on Twitter.

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Backstage Q&A: Students showcase directing talent