Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation


Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name



Theatre Arts

Degree Program

Theatre Arts, MFA

Committee Chair

Jones, Johnny

Committee Co-Chair (if applicable)

Kelly, Baron

Committee Member

Kelly, Baron

Committee Member

Ross, Edna

Author's Keywords

#BlackLivesMatter; grief; black actor


An actor who is portraying a grieving character can also grieve simultaneously about the character’s given circumstances, which affects the character development and mental health of the actor. This thesis assesses how the character Tonya, in August Wilson’s King Hedley II, engages with grief as an African American woman and offers a process for the actor to engage and disengage with loss. “Good Grief” will unpack Constantin Stanislavski’s system of acting, focusing on the Magic “If” and the given circumstances, while also introducing the “Five Stages of Grief” coined by Elisabeth Kubler-Ross. Through the scholarship of theatre practitioners and psychologists coupled with critical self-reflexive analysis, as it relates to constructing the character Tonya, I hypothesize that grief directly impacts character development.

Included in

Acting Commons