It can be tough to find common ground between aeronautical and astronautical engineering and theater, but sophomore Ashley Micks finds they complement each other nicely. Science, she says, helps her experience "what's within my reach," while playwriting and directing allow her to "imagine what isn't."
The double major is directing one of three plays being performed this week (Nov. 16-18) during Dramashop's annual evening of student-written, student-directed one-act plays.
Micks, who discovered the co-curricular theater group during her freshman year, will direct "Roommates" by graduate student Hubert Pham. The play examines an introvert's reaction to the "invasion" of his home by a new roommate, who comes complete with a girlfriend, a dog, two hunting guns and an intriguing past.
"The show has a dark twist but doesn't take itself too seriously," Micks says. "It should be funny but still hit a dissonant chord."
Micks says the most important thing about directing is confidence. "Know what you're doing. Or at least act like you do, convincingly, and figure it out very quickly!"
Micks prepares by reading through the script multiple times, figuring out subtexts, character motivation and anything else that's hidden within. She says this is where her faculty advisor really helps, by drawing her attention to possibilities she hadn't noticed and helping her get faster at finding them on her own.
Micks and her fellow student directors are each matched up with an advisor, although it is the student director who determines the dynamic. Although some students choose to ignore their advisors completely, Micks says she prefers working closely with hers. "I want to improve as much as possible as a director, and consulting someone with years of experience definitely helps."
In addition to "Roommates," the performance will also include "Black Boxes," written by senior Adam Love and directed by senior John Glowa, and "77," written by graduate students Rony Kubat and Emilie Slaby and directed by Love.
In "Black Boxes," three fragments of the playwright's consciousness--his inner child, his angst-ridden teenage self and his higher-level thoughts--struggle with each other and the big questions of existence.
"77" is about a privileged high school senior who, after being kicked out of her boyfriend's apartment, meets a surprisingly wise man who lives next to a dumpster.
Performances of "Student-Written, Student-Directed One-Acts: A Dramashop Production" will take place Nov. 16 to 18 at 8 p.m. in Kresge Little Theater. Admission is free and open to the public.