Master of Fine Arts
Dr. James Parker
In the fall of 1981 I came to the point in my studies where it became necessary to choose a thesis project. The standard procedure in the Department of Theatre at Virginia Commonwealth University is to have design students do set designs for one of the mainstage productions as their thesis project.
At the time that the thesis proposal was due the 1981-1982 season had not been decided upon, so I submitted a proposal stating that I would design a "mainstage production for Theatre V.C.U." as my project and that the documentation of this project would be my thesis. I expressed an interest in doing a show early in the season so that I could do a good deal of the design work during the summer.
I was assigned the set design for the opening show of the season, Fifth of July by Lanford Wilson, to be directed by Richard L. Newdick, a professor in the Department of Theatre. Because of work I had been doing in an advanced lighting design class, it was suggested that I should do the lighting design for the show as well. This suggestion pleased me because it would allow complete artistic control of all the visual aspects of the show other than costumes.
My assistantship at the university included the supervision of the scene shop. Because of this, and because one of my professional goals is to teach on the university level, it was decided that the supervision of the construction and the installation of the set and ordering of the materials--basically the technical direction of the show could also be added as a third part of the thesis project.
It was finally decided that for my thesis project I would design sets and lights and act as technical director for the production of Fifth of July to be performed at Shafer Street Playhouse, October 6-16, 1982, for the Department of Theatre at Virginia Commonwealth University.
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