Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation

5-2020

Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name

M.F.A.

Department

Theatre Arts

Degree Program

Theatre Arts, MFA

Committee Chair

Vandenbroucke, Russell

Committee Member

Jones, Johnny

Committee Member

Jones, Yvonne

Author's Keywords

Uta Hagen; the WAY method; Detroit; assimilation; Yoruba spirituality; black theatre

Abstract

This thesis reflects my process assimilating into the role of Chelle in the production of Detroit '67 at the University of Louisville. Although there have been instances of actors crossing lines of gender, nationality, race, and even sexuality, to perform roles in contemporary theatre, discussion about generational differences is almost non-existent. Through historical research, first-hand interviews, and conventional acting methods, I explore the world of my role, searching for spirituality, authenticity, and identity. Additionally, I explain my use of The WAY Method ®, a process I began creating in 2014 to help actors be clear with who they are before empathizing with their role. This thesis is also an exploration in managing the idiosyncrasies of a first-generation African-American woman while embodying the historical, psychological, and cultural traits of a multi-generational African-American character. The adaptation of a known approach to acting to create a new one proves that future actors in a similar circumstance of generational difference can successfully build a process for bridging any gaps between themselves and their roles.

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