|Theatre Class Constructs "Fairy Tale Ending" to Its Semester of Study
April 27, 2007
Contact: Bill Giduz
Story and photos by Austin Bell ‘10
Most introductory-level classes serve as a lecture-style overview of a subject. And that’s the way Visiting Assistant Professor Scott Ripley always taught his Theatre 101 class in the past. But this semester he’s taken a more dramatic approach, allowing students the unique opportunity to learn about theatre by producing their own play.
All 30 students in the class, none of whom have had any previous theatre experience at Davidson, were assigned to write a one-act adaptation of a fairy tale. Ripley selected five to read in class, and students then voted for the one they wanted to produce.
|(l-r) Aaron Curley '10 plays "Happy" and Marshall Findlay '07 plays "Grumpy" in "Snow White."|
The class chose an adaptation of “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” written by Natasha Meyer ’10. Meyer reconstructed the children’s classic into a situational comedy, with the dwarfs and Snow White as students in a high school classroom discussing the upcoming prom.
Meyer said Snow White provides an opportunity to “deal with stereotypes in a way that is thought-provoking but funny at the same time, because each dwarf is named by a stereotype.”
Students also chose an assignment in the production, such as acting, dramaturgy, publicity, and directing. Meyer worked with director, Katie Miller ’10, to explore her vision of "Snow White," and hopes the end result "makes people question their expectations.”
Ripley’s goal for the project was to help students appreciate the collaborative process of theatre and its uniqueness as an art form, and to give them an authentic theater experience. Despite their lack of theatre experience, Ripley said students have been enthusiastic about the project, showing up early to the 8:30 a.m. class to prepare for rehearsal, and putting in extra hours outside of class in their respective roles.
During rehearsals, Ripley may whisper suggestions to the director during a scene, or add snippets of theatrical wisdom, but he lets students run the show. Students grapple with the playwright’s and director’s differing visions of the story, and experiment with approaches to characterization.
|(l-r) Paul Stroup '09 is stage manager for the production, and Katie Miller '10 is director.|
“The students are smart, driven, and articulate,” said Ripley. “It’s been very exciting to watch the practical application of their studies in the class.”
Members of the community and public are invited to attend the finale production of “A Fairy Tale Ending,” which will begin at 9 p.m. in Tyler-Tallman Hall of Sloan Music Center on Wednesday evening, May 2. Admission is free, and the play should last about twenty minutes.
Davidson is a highly selective independent liberal arts college for 1,700 students. Since its establishment in 1837 by Presbyterians, the college has graduated 23 Rhodes Scholars and is consistently ranked in the top ten liberal arts colleges in the country by U.S. News and World Report magazine. # # #
Posted By: Bill Giduz