Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation


Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name



Theatre Arts

Degree Program

Theatre Arts, MFA

Committee Chair

Burton, Nefertiti


Acting; Shakespeare, William, 1564-1616--Characters--Prospera; Shakespeare, William, 1564-1616. Tempest


Imagine: William Shakespeare’s final hero, Prospero and all of his beautiful and majestic White, Italian maleness played by an Afro-Haitian American actress. Something changes. No longer does the audience see a traditional view of the character onstage. The audience sees a woman of African descent delivering lines written for a man of European descent. They may or may not question what they are seeing: certainly, I the actor, must. My Blackness brings an ancestral line to the production that makes a variety of traditional African religions part of Prospera’s spiritual lineage. My Blackness and gender also imbue Prospera with a cultural and ancestral world view that presents dynamic possibilities for interpretation of the character. These opportunities for diversity shaped the magic, redemption of and the spiritual practices of the Prospera I performed. My spiritual practices have influenced and been influenced by my journey as a theatre artist. The magic of theatre, the craft of acting and the pursuit of its mastery has broadened my knowledge and understanding of my spiritual lineage. This thesis will examine the ideas presented in the previous statement in the framework of theatre as a spiritual practice and its potential as a healing art. In Chapters 1 and 2 of this thesis I will chronicle my discovery of and development in this medium before I entered the MFA in Theatre Performance and Graduate Certificate in African American Theatre programs at the University of Louisville. In Chapter 3 I will chronicle how my classroom experiences aided in my spiritual and artistic growth. In Chapter 4 I will explore how the practice of Tai Chi and Qi Gong influenced my artistic and spiritual development. In Chapter 5, I will discuss my spiritual and artistic experiences of selected rehearsal and production processes I participated in while a student in the program. In Chapter 6, I will explore the spiritual lineage and practice I imagined for Prospera with emphasis on the questions I have raised in the introductory statement. In Chapter 7, I will discuss the preparation, rehearsal and performance processes of my thesis role as Prospera in The Tempest. Finally, in Chapter 8, I will present my conclusions regarding the questions stated in the above introduction.