Senior theater students display talent with final projects

Lacey Alexander

Staff Writer

Throughout the final months of the semester, a group of theater seniors will be presenting their final capstone projects during the Monday night performance studios.

In the Theatre Senior Capstone class, twelve senior theater majors are working on their version of a thesis, called a “Creative Project.”

Each student’s creative project is proposed on paper and approved by the theater faculty before the student presents them sometime in the semester. The projects in this semester’s class range from essays about Shakespeare to a comedy routine.

Tori Lee Averett, the chair of the department of theater and dance, teaches the Theatre Senior Capstone class.

“It’s so much more than a project,” Averett said. “It’s a chance to put themselves to the test … to bring an idea from concept to reality.”

Miranda Walton, a senior theater major from Alabaster, is doing a comedy routine for her project.

“A lot that has happened in my life, good and bad, I can turn into a funny story, and that’s how I connect with people,” said Walton. “I use my humor to make people feel better, and having people laugh with me is something that gets me through a hard day.”

Kezia Moore, a senior theater major from Montgomery, said she is working on a book of musical theatre songs that she can take with her to auditions. For her creative project, she said she’ll be putting the book together and performing some songs from it for an audience.

“It’s just needed in the professional world,” Moore said. “I figured this was the perfect opportunity to really workshop it.”

Some students will present their projects in late April or May, and some have already presented. For his senior project, Jay Bowdoin, a senior theater major from Plant City, Florida, presented a thirty-minute reading of his original play, an adaptation of Euripides’ Medea, on Monday, April 2, during that night’s performance studio.

“I picked this project because it gave me an opportunity to challenge myself,” Bowdoin said. “I really wanted to show off my skills and produce something.”

The students sometimes take part in others’ projects. Walton is performing in Margaret Criswell’s senior project, which is an all-female cabaret.

“Most of the songs deal with hard decisions and desperation,” said Criswell. “I wanted to highlight the depth that musical theater has and show that it’s more than entertainment.”

In addition to their project, the students must write a paper reflecting on and defending the project.

The project isn’t the only thing students work on in the capstone class. Assignments in the course include seeing and critiquing a professional production and completing a resume.

Averett said it was rewarding to see students complete the course and project.

“I enjoy seeing them grow, learn and mature over the course of the process,” Averett said. “I especially love the moment when they complete the thing and turn around and say, ‘Wow. I did that. That’s my work.’”

The projects are scattered throughout the months of April and May, but most can be seen during the weekly performance studios, which take place in the Blackbox Theatre in Malone Hall every Monday from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.

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