From the editor:

Applause, applause

Oct. 4, 2017

“All the world's a stage, and all the men and women merely players: they have their exits and their entrances; and one man in his time plays many parts,” so said the great Bard of Avon, William Shakespeare.

Isn’t that the truth? I couldn’t begin to count all the parts I’ve played in my life, and I know there are certainly more ahead. Too bad we don’t all get standing ovations for each one we master. Wouldn’t it be nice to get applause at the end of every day for a job well done? Unless, of course, you’re an actual performer, most of us don’t really get that.

While I’d love to be taking curtain calls rather than just being thrilled when my computer doesn’t crash, the role I’m currently playing doesn’t really offer the opportunity for applause too often. However, last week I played a different role (kind of) and had to pull out my performing chops. Well, I wasn’t tap dancing or playing the trombone, but I was standing in front of a group of peers giving a lecture at the University of Nebraska. I like to think it was at least mildly entertaining. I mean, I used GIFs and everything. For some people, public speaking would cause major anxiety. For me? I absolutely love it. I guess I do have a little “performer” in my makeup.   

I had a fantastic time in Lincoln. It’s nice to get away and spend time with other university communicators for some perspective and, yes, a little bit of group therapy. They’re doing some cool things there and the people could not have been more welcoming and nice. Also, if you’ve never been to Lincoln, it’s really a fun town with great food, venues and energetic vibe. I highly recommend it if you ever get the chance. And, if you can garner some applause while you’re there, I recommend that too.   

Anna Birmingham is used to applause. As a junior double majoring in theater and social relations and policy with a minor in musical theater, applause is a regular part of her studies. Recently, she spent two weeks working with Broadway professionals as part of the ĭmáGen collaboration between MSU’s Department of Theatre and Wharton Center Institute for Arts & Creativity. Check out her STUDENT VIEW: Working with Broadway professionals, to learn more about her fantastic opportunity.

Brad Willcuts says that “the ĭmáGen program is one of the greatest collaborations that I have had the privilege of working with in my time as a professional actor, director and choreographer.” He is an assistant professor of musical theater and choreography and the Department of Theatre representative for the ĭmáGen program. Read his FACULTY VOICE: A show-stopping collaboration, to learn more about his involvement.   

This past summer, Sam Meade, a sophomore double majoring in theater and history, got a taste of professional theater thanks to the College of Arts and Letters Citizen Scholar program. Through the program’s sponsorship, he was able to attend the Shakespearean Theatre Conference in Stratford, Ontario, and heard lectures on Shakespearean study, watched performances at the Stratford Festival and even spoke with cast members and directors about what it’s like to work with Shakespeare’s work. Read his STUDENT VIEW: Shakespearean opportunity, to learn why he says the experience “has clearly defined what I want to do with my life and how I want to do it.”

Actors get a ton of help with their performances from a lot of players behind the scenes. Without the sets, lighting and effects, shows would be a lot less interesting. Alison Dobbins an associate professor of integrated performance media design, is at the forefront of a new frontier in theater – one that integrates digital media, lighting and theatrical production to provide magical effects for the stage. Watch her short video FACULTY VOICE: Bringing the stage to life, to learn more about what she calls, “an awesome job.”

While these Spartans probably experience applause on a regular basis, it’s not why they do it. Spartans don’t do what they do because they expect the world to rise to their feet in appreciation. Sure, an ovation is nice, but Spartans do what they do to change the world for the better. Every day around the globe, Spartans are hunkered down, determined to find solutions and make a difference in someone’s life. Of all the roles we play, being a Spartan means award-winning performances no matter what we’re doing. Spartans Will. 

Lisa Mulcrone
Editor, MSUToday
twitter bird@LMulcrone

Photo of MSU's Fairchild Theatre by Jordan Noble