Last spring, students in the College of Fine Arts taking Theatre and Dance faculty member Phillip Owen’s Sound Design course sat behind computer screens, microphones and electronic instruments, ready to showcase their final project – a recreation of Orson Welles’ The War of the Worlds. Over the 30 minutes that followed, their audience would hear bright piano tunes, ominous music, operatic performances and haunting sound effects paired with dialogue from Welles’ 1938 radio play. We spoke with Phillip Owen and a handful of students from across the college about their experiences working on this project and what it taught them about the art of sound design.
Beyond the Stage
Every Monday during the fall semester, film, theatre and audio producer David Treatman (Puffs) hopped on a plane from New York City to Austin and then boarded a return flight the next morning. His purpose behind making these trips? To co-teach a Department of Theatre and Dance course with Dr. Paul Bonin-Rodriguez, entitled “The Business of Self-Marketing.” Both Bonin-Rodriguez and Treatman are well versed in entertainment production and the tenacity needed to advocate for new works. After co-producing on a project together, Bonin-Rodriguez knew that Treatman would be an excellent educator for our UT students, and plans to co-teach a course in the fall of 2023 began taking shape. We spoke with Treatman and Bonin-Rodriguez about their professional work, what led them to co-teaching this fall and their experiences working with undergraduate students.
Dramaturg and Education Outreach Coordinator Mateo Hernandez discusses the worthwhile experiences and important discoveries made during the touring performances of The Smartest Girl in the World —
The time is 6:30 a.m. on a crisp fall morning in Austin, Texas, and the students enrolled in the Theatre for Young Audiences (TYA) Tour course are meeting at the loading dock behind the Winship Drama Building at The University of Texas at Austin: actors in full makeup, stage managers loading the costumes and instruments into the U-Haul truck and everyone double checking that no one on the team overslept. Shortly thereafter we all pack into an assortment of vehicles and make our way to a local Austin elementary school. Once there, we check in at the front office of the school before making our way to the cafeteria to unload the set, costumes, props, television screens and instruments to then transform the fluorescent-lit, school color painted space into a stage for our production of The Smartest Girl in the World by Miriam Gonzales.