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SUMMARY OF PERFORMAN CE PROJECT IN LIEU O F THESIS PRESENTED TO THE COL LEGE OF FINE ARTS OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FL ORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLME NT OF THE REQUIREMEN TS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF FINE ARTS PORTRAYAL OF ONE OF THE FIRST TRUE WOM E N OF POWER: A THENA THE GODDESS OF WAR IN AJAX IN IRAQ BY ELLEN MCLAUGHLIN By Davida Evette Tolbert SUPERVISORY COMMITTEE: PROF. TIZA GARLAND, CHAIR PROF. CHARLIE MITCHELL, MEMBER UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA 2013
201 3 Davida Evette Tolbert
TABLE OF CONTENTS 6 Wh y Is ....... ................................................................ 7 8 Inspiration B ehind Ajax in Iraq 1 The Rehearsal Process.. 3 Exploration Physical Presence & Demands Vocal Exploration Physical Presence & Demands The 19 0 ... 1 3 4 30 4 Biographical S 3 7
4 A CKNOWLEDG E MENTS I would like to thank my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ for the courage and strength necessary, to move forward against all odds. He has blessed me to be in the company of talented and knowledgeable people who have always availed themselves to me when assis tance was needed. I am blessed beyond measure, and forever grateful and thankful to the author of my life. I would also like to thank my mother, confidant and best friend, Cynthia, for having added inspiration, forbearance and fortitude in her encouragem ent of my following my dreams. You constantly reminded me of the race I was in and the need to finish. I love you dearly. Thanks for being my support system. To my classmates and friends Jazmine, Katie, Josh, Annelih, Adam, Andrew and Joseph you are all unique in skill, and you all have given me something to hold on to and to utilize within my own work. I truly thank you and love you for being in my life, e ven if for a moment. To my alma maters, Holy Angels Academy, Erie Community College and Buffalo State College and to the Ujima Theatre Family, thank you for believing in me and pushing me toward my potential. I love you and thank you for allowing me to shi ne and participate in giving the community something to be proud of. To the law firm of Jaeckle, Fleischmann & Mugel LLP, especially David G. Brock and attended every performance with love an d support. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. To the University of Florida School of Theatre & Dance (SoTD) To all of the undergrads, grads, faculty and staff, you all had a part in helping me find myself in my process. Your expertise, vast knowledg e and passion for our art have prepared me for the next challenge. Thank you for your guidance. To Tim Altmeyer, my one man cheering team. Thank you for your
5 constant encouragement and tough love. To Dr. David Young, thank you for giving me the opportuniti es to contribute to our world of artistry. It was an honor portraying a lead character in my first and last productions at UF under your direction. Your humor and unique imagination has been a joy to witness. I truly hope my final performance made you prou d. To all of those individuals I ha ve met along my journey and there are a lot of you thank you for dropping in and reminding me why I love theatre.
6 Abstract of Project in Lieu of Thesis Presented to the College of Fine Arts of the University of Florida i n Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Master of Fine Arts PORTRAYAL OF ONE OF THE FIRST TRUE WOM E N OF POWER: ATHENA THE GODDESS OF WAR IN AJAX IN IRAQ BY ELLEN MCL AUGHLIN By Davida Evette Tolbert May 2013 Chair: Christina ( Tiza ) Garland Major: Theatre Athena is the goddess of war and wisdom. In Ajax in Iraq playwright Ellen McLaughlin portrays the goddess in a unique light, marrying the archetypal figure with contemporary political and social views. The story intertwines events of the modern day War in Iraq of 2001 with the ancient Trojan War of Greece Ajax The play provides the contemporary viewpoint of Sergeant A.J. Swopes, a female soldier in the Iraq War in 2001, and Ajax, a commander in the Trojan War. Their battles inside and outside of war are shown to have detrimental outcomes based on how each handled their various circumstances. Athena retells the story of Ajax from her point of view. It is further found that each individual story both touching on themes such as betrayal and struggle is similar to the other as the play moves forward. In my exploration of Athena I found greater depth than my previous acting process. This document provides a thorough account of my research, character analysis, vocal and physical work throughout the rehearsal process and performances. Using the methods and techniques I have learned over the past two years, Athena went from a character on a page to a fully embodied character in the UF School of Theatre and Dance Black Box.
7 which are easy to follow and understand. Ajax begins with Athena telling Odysseus that Ajax, in a state of madness, slaughtered cattle believing them to be Greek soldiers. The Chorus, also followers of Ajax, expresses deep concern for him throughout the play. Seeming to have a change of heart, Ajax vows to right the wrong that he has done and decides to yield to the gods and his commanding officers. After reassuring the Chorus that trouble is over, he departs to kill himself. However, it w as n o Ajax that I found the play addresses the dismal and disturbing issues that plague both men and women in wartime. As the modern day war story plays out for the audienc e, Athena addresses the audience and explains the plight of Ajax. She oversees everything as it unfolds to show a relatable side of human nature and imparts her thoughts and wisdom as a soldier of war and a woman, not just a goddess, to the audience. McLau combine the woes of Greek and modern day warfare is amazing. She wrote an intriguing literary work worth y of performing an d I was looking forward to being a part of this artistic experience. e season for 2012 2013 was announced, I was most excited by th is new innovative play. I had already performed in my share of period style plays and I was ready to do something edgy and modern. Ajax in Iraq presented an excellent artistic challenge and woul d be directed by Dr. David Young. Although I would have liked to have been matched with a director for whom I had not had the pleasure of working, this modernized version of the original Greek text was the one play I found to be the most exciting.
8 When the cast list was posted, I realized that I had been asked to meet this artistic challenge head on: I had been chosen to portray Athena, the goddess of war and wisdom. I did not expect to get the title role of this production, but was looking forward to this task tremendously. Overview of the Play The play begins with Ajax making grunting sounds behind a tent. Athena addresses the from killing Odysseus and the other commanding officers, she sends him to a field of sheep, cows and goats where he tortures and kills them believing them to be the Greek officers with whom he seeks revenge. In a state of madness, h e also drags the animals back into the tent with him and continues to torture and slaughter them Athena implies that she was the cause for his murderous outbursts. The scene shifts to the appearance of six modern day soldiers speaking in After the soldiers m arch off stage, a woman dressed in 1920s fashion enters. She is Gertrude Bell, a British woman who is believed to have created modern day Iraq in the 1920s. She enters with a man who is not given a name but simply called the Captain, clothed in modern day the former U.S. Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld, in 2003, the Captain could represent him. They both give their own opinions as to why warfare exists in their time period. The next scene shifts back to modern day Iraq with Specialist Sickles, Corporal Leslie Abrams, Specialist Connie Mangus and Specialist Melissa Rebo, women soldiers who are seen playing poker in their barracks while A.J. Swopes sleeps. Th e women become disturbingly loud
9 A.J. awakens and is questioned about her health S he changes the subject by deciding to take a shower. When she leaves, Corporal Vincent Charles and Specialist Pisoni enter the barracks. Playful banter is exchanged betwee n them and the atmosphere becomes uncomfortable when A.J. enters after overhearing Pisoni talk about her. The scene ends with Athena explaining the favorite t o Athena, enters as if he is tracking something or someone. Athena tells Odysseus that she has driven Ajax crazy and chooses to prove it by calling out to Ajax to appear. Once Ajax e spree. What drives him to his madness is his disdain for Odysseus. Odysseus knows this fact. Ajax feels betrayed by Agamemnon and Menelaus, his commanding officers, because of the outcome of the contest that took place between him and Odysseus for Ballots were cast and after the y were tallied, Odysseus was declared the winner. Athena does, however, allude to the contest being fixed. squad commander and imm ediate superior officer. They only talk briefly as the Sergeant is preparing to have a visit with A.J. When the Sergeant and A.J. meet, the Sergeant tells her that The next scene is where two worlds collide. In the modern world, a Patient is talking to a Therapist about the state of mind of her husband after returning home after serving in the military. The Patient tells the Therapist that she is afraid of her husband and that war has chang War, is introduced. She talks of the same kind of emotional distance between her and Ajax and
10 audience that although people may not show their madness, it is, however, an emotional state that all people experience and most people do fantasize about carryout acts of rage. Athena then goes into a nightmare like description of the process of how a pe rson goes crazy. Next, the women soldiers are shown sleeping their barracks and A.J. restlessly tosses and After they sneak away, A.J. awakens. Athena then discusses a night raid that took place during the Trojan War. She says that Ajax refused any and all help from the gods until Zeus blotted out his only prayer. The night raid is modernized by the entrance of three modern soldiers in night vision goggles enacting and describing a chaotic scene of gunfire and stampeding sheep, as if it is all a bad dream. Once the raid is over, the soldiers are able to survey the horrific results of the chaos. Connie Mangus enters and talks about the heroic efforts of A.J. saving the lives of others barracks. Thinking that she was summoned to be complimente d on a job well done, she experiences a deeper betrayal by him: she is violently raped. The following scene returns to ancient Greece. Tecmessa enters and reveals the mad and crazed Ajax, covered in blood. A peaks of his guilt and anger at the events that entire flock. The r eason she offers is A.J. and Ajax try to come to terms with their actions, they request their respective confessors, Connie and Tecmessa, to carry out their last wish: to tell their siblings to take c are of their sons.
11 Near the end of the play, five characters are introduced: Debbie, a soldier in Iraq; Fletcher, a Vietnam vet in charge of a homeless shelter for veterans; Judy, a woman who has a husband that is serving in Iraq; Larry, a Iraq veteran; T brother; and Minister, a confusion and unfair treatment of veterans when they return home from war. Teucer and Tecmessa also tell the Chorus moments before killing themselves. In the final scene the Sergeant announces each soldier by ran k. The Minister appears after was not worthy of an honorable burial. After Inspiration Behind Ajax in Iraq I n an interview with playwright and internet blogger Adam Szymkowicz in June 2011, McLaughlin made this statement when asked what kind of theater excited her: I suppose I'm drawn to the Greeks because I love taking on the big stuff. I do find I get bored when nothing is risked. I suppose that kind of theater is just a product of people 's fear of failure, which is virtually inevitable when you try to do anything worth doing. But why not take on the hardest things?
12 There are worse things than failing -usually having to do with making nice, forgettable baubles that will never matter to a nyone -what's the point of that? Why not put it all on the line? All that's at stake is the size of your soul. (Szymkowicz) McLaughlin had a very intense opposition to the Iraq invasion in 2003 when she was approached by the late Tony Randall to adapt Aes The Persians She stated that she used her anxiety and the despair she was feeling at that time as a means of focus. McLaughlin said it was like a response to a crisis." (Guthmann 1) This opposition also caused her to begin her project at Harvard which ultimately turned into Ajax in Iraq Other d ramatic works she has w ritten include an adaptation of The Trojan Women and Helen a testament to her passion. Ajax in Iraq was a project that involved students in the 2009 Graduate class from the A.R.T. / MXAT Institute for Advanced Theater Training at Harvard University. As part of their training, the students were asked to investigate attitudes and opinions soldiers grapple with while in war and its impact on their lives and the people around them. Effects include social displacement among family and peers, physical injury and trauma (loss of limbs or rape among women in the military), and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTS D). The theatre students were required to research as much information as possible in order to gain new perspectives through made in various theatrical forms. Dance pieces, movement presentations, monologues and scenes all showed different viewpoints toward the military. The presentations focused around American soldiers, their experiences and how warfare has impacted their families. As the project changed and e volved, McLaughlin noticed a connection between what the students presented and Ajax a story of the Greek hero that was driven to suicide because of betrayal
13 dy and the contemporary play based on materials collected by the students at Harvard created Ajax in Iraq The Rehearsal Process The original story of Ajax was written by Sophocles in Greek. After two months of reading two different translations of Ajax I achieved a better understanding of Athena. I arrived at the conclusion that she rst women of power in literature. She holds much weight and is an important part of the play. Soon after casting was completed, director Dr. David Young sent us internet sources for research. Included were links and references to army movies and documenta ries, YouTube clips about how men and women in the military perform their duties, a list of vocabulary terms found Six Steps for each actor to prepare a character analysis. Six Steps are incl uded in A ppendix C followed by pages from my rehearsal journal that contains my responses to the questions posed. According to Hagen, actors are capable of discovering their character by choosing an objective and using that objective and the given circ umstances of the play to successfully give that character life. Throughout Ajax in Iraq show that warfare affects every soldier directly or indirectly. According to Athena, emotional decision making ofte n leads to insufferable consequences. Once my objective was discovered, I identified the given circumstances the facts of the play that help the actor to formulate a
14 character. Hagen states that they include past, present, future and all of the events tha t happen throughout the play. After weeks of rehearsal, I became very confused as to the direction I was being given by my director. I had already made certain character choices that Athena is authoritative, strong and enthusiastic Evidence of these tra its are exemplified when she candidly tell s the audience about driving Ajax mad. kept changing I felt Athena became more confusion, I felt that I needed to incorporate all of the feedback given to me by different instructors pertaining to what Athena should and should not do. Because of this feedback, I became extremely frustrated with myself and frustrated with my character. It was n o t until ou r brush up rehearsal during the second week of performance that I discovered what was missing in this entire process: fun. Our stage manager made the decision to es a fast, exaggerated run of the entire play. We j ust -more specifically -a woman with power. A Exploration Physical Presence & Demands Vocal Exploration When an actor is exploring Greek tragedy, one must express strong and precise enunciation, clarity of projection and good breath support. (Harrop 21) The tools I used in my vocal exploration were from the Lessac vocal training a pproach. I dedicated significant time to
15 various vocal exercises using the Lessac vocal training method given to me by my voice instructor, Yanci Bukovec. I also did an extensive exploration of the text speech by speech with voice teacher Russell Schul tz. Working with Russell, I became aware of how one sided I was approaching each monologue in Ajax. I had not explored the text enough. I had only read the words and was no t listening to what was being said or comprehending the manner in which she spoke. In the first one speaking voice, wh ich resulted in an unsupported voice. She is strong but I did not to make her sound authoritative. The biggest area of frustration in this process was the fact that I confused my sense of realit Athena. In other words, the image of who I thought Athena was differed from McLaughlin. The decision was that she was strong and authoritative, yet her dialogue seemed casual and conversational. An example of her conversational speaking pattern is found in the first monologue of the play: it, you get a glimpse. Some grainy, jumpy, hard to see thing taken
16 At first I employed generic ideas of power such as high volume and forcefully and strongly pushing out the sounds of vowels and consonants of the words. However, in doing so, I missed the humor. I completely overlooked and negated the humor in my misinformed attem pt at being serious and strong. Again, I was using my own ideas of who I thought Athena was supposed to be. I had n o t realized that each monologue was colored with humor through out the first half of the play. Athena enjoys herself by poking fun at and enga ging the audience by missed this fact. I was more infatuated with the idea of Athena and what I read about her, instead of using the information given to me by the playwright. In one vocal session with Russell, he reminded me of the vocal work that I was introduced to in the voice classes at UF. He guided me monologue discusses the reason behind her decision to poison the mind of Ajax. I neglected to explore the melodic variety in this speech. Each line catapults her to the next idea. There is a build in the speech and she guides the audience on a journey allowing them to understand why line through vocal exploration. Athena and I found a common ground. Physical Presence & Demands Before I came to the University of Florida m y body had been plagued with physical impairments such as lower back pain, osteoarthritis and tendonitis. It was used to holding tension in certain areas in order to keep from feeling pain. As a result, my body responded violently with
17 muscle spasms or loc king of the joints in my hips, lower back and legs. The only remedy that has helped me to use my body more efficiently and increase my awareness of self has been working with Ms. Kathy Sarra in the Alexander Technique (AT). That was part of my studies in t he MFA Acting program at UF. As we began the rehearsal process, I was concerned about falling back into the old physical habits that caused me to experience pain and muscle spasms. Before being introduced to the Alexander Technique I would stand rigidly with locked knees and elbows, an elevated chest discomfort). I expressed my concerns to Ms. Kathy, thus she guided me in discovering the best way to approach Athe play. Most of what I did in the beginning of my movement process was allowing my voice to d the body into the direction it desires to go. By making the necessary adjustments in my vocal approach to the text, using higher vocal tones and adding a melodic quality needed to perform the text, my body began to release tension in the muscles. Instead of trying to show Athena s strength through tension and unnecessary contraction of my muscles, I was able to free myself from any physical compression. The connection of the voice and body was amazing. I realized that as I focused my awareness on the sour ce of my tension, mostly being in the neck and shoulder areas, there was also a sense of lightness and release in my voice. Another aspect of physical work that I included in my process was animal imagery. During each scene that Athena appeared, an anima quiet and cunning stalking of her prey. For instance, during the scene with the patient and the therapist, Athena is lying on top of the wall watching the scene. She stays there, not making a
18 sound, but watching attentively until she needs to make her presence known. Just as the smell of prey excites the panther and causes her to strike and kill at will, the revelation of Ajax going mad excites Athena, at which time she reminds the audience who she is and how man ipulative she can be. She tells the audience that anyone at any time, given the right opportunity, can succumb to the inner thoughts of his or her mind by explaining the grim details of what happens when pleased with yoursel f The difference between you and the person who can do unspeakable things ? N ot so great. Believe me. I can turn 31) A physical habit that I discovered was that Athena strokes her hair whenever she ponders an idea and when she is plotting the next move to exercise her powers of persuasion. I discovered it by accident during a dress rehearsal I was waiting to enter to do the monologue that explains I was intently listening to the characters in the previous scene and I found it amusing that the soldiers believed Ajax would peacefully accept the fact that Odysseus had won the armor. I unconsciously stroked my hair as I watched bemused by the scene duri and wanted me to keep it and to see if there were any other places in the play where Athena would do this action As I continued to work with Kathy Sarra, after incorporating animal imagery into habit of mine needed to be broken. I was using a lot of my normal everyday gestures in performance, which is dangerous for the actor according to Harrop and Epstei Acting with Style There is no place in Greek tragedy for individualistic mannerisms because they weaken the strength of the character (19)
19 action, she is still a Greek character. I n previous movement work, I found that I keep my arms very close to my body. The arms need to have a sense of ease and flow. In other words, there thrown away t he fact she was a Greek character. Movement demands in Greek tragedy were mitigated by the himation a garment thrown over the shoulder and wrapped around the body being held across the arm. Additionally, any gestures that were used needed to have a pur pose were led by an emotional idea that should f low from the center of the body (19) I utilized this concept in my movement during rehearsals in the performance space. I used my rehearsal skirt to mock a himation in order to help find familiarity by using large sweeping gestures. Along with the use of a himation I was able to release tension in my arms and give them the flow and ease they required. I had created a sense of power without being stiff and mechanical. By the first official dress rehearsal I accomplished my goal of giving Athena the physical honor that she so deserved. Core Purpose The closer we mo ved toward opening night, the more comfortable I became in owning toward the character because she seemed too talkative and self imposing for no reason. My job was to pursue the objective that I discovered through the script analysis: Athena wants to share the story of Ajax to show that warfare affects every soldier directly or indirectly.
20 Through run throughs of the play leading up to dress rehearsals, it w as apparent to me that Athena had a deeper message than just telling the story of Ajax and watching the same actions being carried out in the modern world with A.J. She addressed the idea that humans have always been swayed by their emotions to make irrati onal or detrimental decisions. I came to this realization during a run through of the scene with Athena and Odysseus. I also found that I was speaking in a different tone from the way I spoke it previously. I originally viewed her dialogue in this scene as being condescending as if to say that humans are unable to make wise choices before acting on them. However, one night in rehearsal I realized that is not the case. I was suddenly able to view Athena as a goddess who has a concern for humans. She furth er demonstrates her concern by warning the audience that at any time in our lives, if we a re not character reaching through time to address a modern day audience w ith contemporary speech. The Performance: Athena Preparing For Center Stage Most actors have a pre performance ritual or a process that gears them for a performance. My preparation begins early in the day with a physical warm up that focuses on my legs, hips and lower back, as these areas are targets of arthritic pain. Next, I follow up with a review of my lines. No matter how much I feel I know them, nervous habit provokes me to review the text at least twice before the play begins. Once the rev iew has taken place, I include a prayer for myself and the production as a whole that all goals and expectations will be met and the audience will be pleased with the work that we ha ve done. Once I am in full costume, I take a moment to see if I am able to recognize myself in the mirror or if I have transformed myself enough to see the
21 character through my eyes. To get into performance mode, I greet all of my cast members as Athena an confidence and the support of my peers in my performance. Conclusion: A Viewpoint Toward Work Accomplished My creative process has been a compelling and interesting jour ney. My first step in this process began with reading, researching and understanding the text. Once a clear understanding and who she is in the realms of the Gr character development and various acting techniques learned throughout my studies in the University of Florida MFA Acting Program such as the Alexander Technique and the Arthur Lessac vocal technique s. Certain choices I had made and tried to use did n o t work but through the application of the techniques I ha ve learned while at UF I was able to develop a character that served the script and the production in an educated and artful way. In the final sta ges of rehearsals for Ajax in Iraq I fully committed to the direction and notes given to me by my director and all of my acting choices. T hroughout this process I learned how to allow myself to ach part of my process encouraged me to trust in my discoveries and strive for artistic, professional, as well as personal growth. My use of script and character analysis has definitely increased. Through a survey of the given circumstances and the text of the play I was led to make choices that were appropriate for the style of the play and for the character. I now have a better understanding of how context drives my character choices. In order to devise a character that is
22 I must integrate research of the play and the text to evade the drawbacks of creating a character that is restrained by my personal predispositions. An acting process that adds attention to the context and the given circumstances of a play while not depend ing upon habitual or generic choice s allow an actor to approach character development and discovery without personal bias or judgment. Every process has challenges and with a thorough approach one can overcome th em In learning a more detailed appro ach and with the and accomplish great work. I am grateful that the techniques I ha ve learned and the work I ha ve done will endure. The techniques I ha ve learned and the skills I ha ve gained will forever be my blueprint for character creation and discovery.
23 Bibliography Biography of Ellen McLaughlin. < https://english.barnard.edu/profiles/ellen mclaughlin > Dutta, Shomit. Ajax/Sophocles; a New Translation and Commentary by Shomit Dhutta; Introduction to the Greek Theatre by P.E. Easterl ing. UK: Cambridge University Press, 2001. Gelb, Michael. Body Learning: An Introduction to the Alexander Technique. New York: Holt, 1995. Guthmann, Edward. "Actress playwright Ellen McLaughlin Discovers Uncanny Iraq Parallel in Classic Anti War Greek Play 'The Persians' ." San Francisco Chronicle. 8 Sept. 2004: 1 3. Web < http://www.sfgate.com/entertainment/article/Actress playwright Ellen McLaughlin discovers 2695502.php#page 2 > Hagen, Uta. Respect for Acting Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley and Sons Inc., 2008. Harrop, John, and Sabin R. Epstein. Acting with Style Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall, 1982. Hillstrom, Laurie. Carnegie, Julie. "Rumsfeld, Donald." War in the Persian Gulf Reference Library. Ed. Vol. 2. Detroit: U*X*L, 2004. 191 201. Global Issues in Context. Web. < http://find.galegroup.com/gic/infomark.do?&source=gale&idigest=fb720fd31d9036c1e d2d1f3a0500fcc2&prodId=GIC&userGroupName=itsbtrial&tabID=T001&docId=CX343 6300053&type=retrieve&content Set=EBKS&version=1.0 > Lessac, Arthur. The Use and Training of the Human Voice: A Bio dynamic Approach to Vocal Life. Mountain View, CA: Mayfield Pub. 1997. McLaughlin, Ellen. Ajax in Iraq Playscripts, Inc.,. New York. Sept. 2011 Szymkowicz, Adam. I Interview Playwrights Part 363: Ellen McLaughlin. 22 Jun 2011 < http://aszym.blogspot.com/2011/06/i interview playwrights part 363 ellen.html > A Timeline of the Iraq War. ThinkProgress.org < http://thinkprogress.org/report/iraq timeline/?mobile=nc >
24 APPENDIX A PRODUCTION POSTER & PROGRAM
30 APPENDIX B REHEARSAL AND PRODUCTION PHOTOS Dress Rehearsal: Davida Evette Tolbert (Athena) and Katie Pankow (Sergeant A.J. Swopes).
33 Athena and Debbie (Amanda Young)
34 APPENDIX C UTA HAGEN THE SIX STEPS 1. WHO AM I? What is my present state of being? How do I perceive myself? What am I wearing? 2. WHAT ARE THE CIRCUMSTANCES? What time is it? (The year, the season, the day? At what time does my selected life begin?) Where am I? (In what city, neighborhood, building, and room do I find myself? Or in what landscape?) What surrounds me? (The immediate landscape? The weather? The Condition of the place and the nature of the objects in it?) What are the immediate circumstances? (What has just happened, is happening? What do I expect or plan to happen next and later on?) 3 WHAT ARE MY RELATIONSHIPS? How do I stand in relationship to the circumstances, the place, the objects, and the other people related to my circumstances? 4 WHAT DO I WANT? What is my main objective? My immediate need or objective? 5 WHAT IS MY OBSTACLE? What is in the way of what I want? How do I overcome it? 6 WHAT DO I DO TO GET WHAT I WANT? How can I achieve my objective? What's my behavior? What are my actions?
37 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH Davida Evette Tolbert received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Theater from Buffalo State College. During her undergraduate studies she performed in various productions including Hair: The American T ribal Love Rock Musical (Dionne) under the direction of Andre De Shields, The Grapes of Wrath (Granma, Mrs. Wainwright) Anything Goes (Angel Virtue) and she worked as stage manager in the Myth of M i les Dance Concert, based on the musical works of Miles Davis. Davida performed in two musicals, (Eve) and The Green Pastures (Ensemble/Multiple) As a graduate student in the School of Theatre and Dance at the University of Florida, Davida performed in numerous productions: Circle Mirror Transformation (Marty) Romeo and Juliet (Queen Escalus/Prince) Oedipus the King (Chorus) and Kirby) Davida was also a member of the hip hop theatre group, Signs of Life, and the student improv show, The Funny Women Show Davida was also a teaching assistant for various undergraduate courses at UF, including Theatre Appreciation, Oral Interpretation of Literature and Acting for Non Majors. Having concluded her studies, she plans to give back to her community of Buffalo, NY by re joining the group that introduced her to theatre. At Planned Parenthood of Western New York she will work with the Community Engagement department. Her focus will b e with the Teen Reality Theatre (TRT) Peer Education and Mentoring Group.