- The summer repertory company at The University of Southern Mississippi
welcomes guest director Cynthia White, a nationally renowned theater
director from Seattle, Wash.
direct the Southern Arena Theatre's first show of the 2003 season,
Oliver Goldsmith's "She Stoops to Conquer." Opening July
3, the play is a comedy about a young 18th-century gentleman who
is shy when speaking with women of his own class, but eloquent with
those of "lower station."
As a director,
White believes the emotional release of a good story with a group
of people is what excites her most about theater. She calls it "the
essential act of theater - actors sharing a story with the audience."
White also attributes actor training as a key element in performing
a piece such as "She Stoops to Conquer."
train in order to develop the flexibility to perform in plays of
different periods, cultures and styles," White explained.
think the complexity and difficulty of actor training is generally
appreciated. We all recognize that ballet dancers need to train
in order to do deep plies and high leaps. Athletes need to train
and be in shape. Actors need to hone skills that allow them to speak
18th-century language as naturally and easily as they converse with
their buddies over lunch."
the directing position for the summer at Southern Miss in part because
she loves training actors. While working with students in a rehearsal
situation, she gets the opportunity to teach, as well as direct.
important to have guest directors like Cynthia White come to Southern
Miss," said Frank Kuhn, chair of the university's Department
of Theatre and Dance. "Hattiesburg is not geographically near
many theater centers, so it is important for us to find ways for
our students to connect with the profession as it exists around
the country. Guest artists are an important part of our program.
We are particularly lucky to have someone with Cynthia's skills
and range of experience - our students are learning a lot from her."
her own acting career in high school, White believed it to be her
calling. But after 10 years of practicing her craft, she decided
to go to graduate school and study directing.
actors for putting everything on the line in each performance -
it is hard work," White said. "It is important for the
actor to be able to trust the director and the notes the director
is giving them. The directing process starts off with the director
knowing more about the characters than the actors do, but then,
about half way through, there comes a time when the actor takes
over that knowledge and is able to shape the show and the character
each night when it is performed."
in SAT 2003 is not her first theater job in Mississippi. She worked
on Bill C. Davis' "Mass Appeal" at the New Stage in Jackson
during the late 1980s.
her bachelor's degree in theatre from Lawrence University in Wisconsin
and her MFA in directing from Southern Methodist University in Dallas,
Texas, White directed for Milwaukee Repertory Theatre, Oregon Shakespeare
Festival, Pioneer Theatre Company, Alabama Shakespeare Festival,
Utah Shakespeare Festival, and a number of colleges and universities
throughout the county. White's enjoyment of working on new plays
led her to work as director of play development while she was in
of SAT productions start at 7:30 p.m., with a 2 p.m. Sunday matinee
July 20 of "She Stoops to Conquer," in the Gilbert F.
Hartwig Theatre. Individual show tickets are $10 for regular admission,
$8 for senior citizens, Southern Miss faculty and staff and $6 for
including all three productions, are $25 for regular admission,
$20 for senior citizens, Southern Miss faculty and staff and $15
call the Southern Miss Ticket Office at (601) 266-5418 or 800-844-8425.
Order online at www.tickets.usm.edu. Tickets may be purchased at
the theater box office one hour prior to curtain time for each performance.