Friday, November 9, 2012

Featured Abstract: "How to Be a Wicked Witch; or, A Guide to Becoming the Next Dark Lord"

Today we're introducing a new element of the blog- the Featured Abstract!  Every few days, we'll put the spotlight on a particularly well-written abstract from a previous Symposium.  We hope that prospective presenters will use these for inspiration as they write their own fabulous abstracts.

Today's featured abstract comes to us from the 2012 Symposium.  If you were in the audience for this presentation, you know that Madeline, Drew, and Edward delivered a presentation that was every bit as fantastic as this abstract.

How to Be a Wicked Witch; or, A Guide to Becoming the Next Dark Lord
Madeline Beer, Drew Rothhaar, Edward Carney
Faculty Sponsor: Fabio Polanco, Theatre

In the world of musical theatre, it is important to know your “character type.” Your appearance, demeanor, humor, personality, and style indicate the spectrum of characters that you may be able to play. One person may be best suited to play the heroic lead while another may be more inclined to take the role of a comedic sidekick. As we examined our own character types, we found we both fell into a happy, “good-guy/girl” category. In order to challenge ourselves even further before leaving the academic theatre world and entering the professional theatre world, we have concocted a musical revue in which we both play villains. We collected information and songs from the canon of villains in musical theatre and film and devised a script around the recurring themes of jealousy, vanity, lust, anger, gluttony, greed, and sloth. One researcher has found that his biggest challenge has been portraying the narcissism of characters such as the evil Gaston from Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, while the other researcher has found that hers has been portraying the seductive nature of characters such as Velma Kelly from Kander and Ebb’s Chicago. As we continue to work toward our final performance at the end of March, we will hone in on these particular challenges in order to epitomize the villainous character type. Stretching ourselves beyond the characters we usually play will help us identify our personal character types and reveal our strengths and weaknesses. During our session, we will be performing and then elucidating for the audience a scene from our production that exemplifies these villainous characters and the challenges they pose.

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