Simpson Colloquium 101
Early in the 1980s, the HIV/AIDS epidemic gripped the world with fear. It seemed to sweep through specific communities, giving individuals horrible illnesses with unusual names. The theatre community was one of the first and hardest hit. As friends and companions fell, theatre artists reacted by creating and performing what came to be known as “AIDS Plays.” The plays lashed out at those who thought they were immune or that AIDS was a kind of retribution. Written to honor lost friends and soothe suffering, the plays express a range of human emotion – railing at unfairness, wallowing in pity, and exulting in life. By examining texts and video from these remarkable works, we will seek a deeper understanding of the human condition and the cultural, moral, historical, medical, and religious aspects of HIV/AIDS. We will see the power of performance to tell stories that identify wrongs and fuel advocacy and positive change.
I have been teaching on the undergraduate level since 1986 and have been with Simpson College and Theatre Simpson since 1991. I teach courses in design and technical theatre and am the faculty Designer/Technical Director for Theatre Simpson Productions. My recent Theatre Simpson productions include lighting design and technical direction for The Glass Menagerie, technical direction for Women Beware Women, and set design and technical direction for Eurydice. Other Theatre Simpson set and lighting design and technical direction credits include: Back Story, Antigone: Speaking Truth, Twelfth Night, Macbeth and The Triumph of Love. Other Theatre Simpson set design and technical direction include: Henry V, The Servant of Two Masters, A Year With Frog and Toad, Pride and Prejudice, Into the Woods, Hamlet, and One Flea Spare. My Theatre Simpson credits also include properties design and technical direction for Learned Ladies and The Baltimore Waltz and sound design and technical direction for Tales of the Lost Formicans.
I also design and technical direct opera productions at Simpson College for Music at Simpson with recent set and lighting design and technical direction for Die Fledermaus, technical direction for Albert Herring and set designs and technical direction for The Magic Flute, The Mikado, The Marriage of Figaro, Falstaff, and The Consul.
My professional credentials include set designs for the Des Moines Metro Opera’s productions of The Masked Ball, The Tales of Hoffmann, Ariadne auf Naxos, Amahl and the Night Visitors, and The Crucible. I have also designed locally for The Winterset Stage with the set design for The Quiet Man, for Stage West with set designs for The Divine Sister and Picasso at the Lapin Agile and for Opera Iowa with set designs for A Dream Fulfilled: The Saga of George Washington Carver, The Tale of Peter Rabbit, Hansel and Gretel, The Medium, Little Red Riding Hood and The Magic Flute.
I am active with the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival (KCACTF) Region 5, coordinating the Stage Crew Showdown (a popular technical theatre event at festival) for the past two years. I also am a long-time member of The United States Institute of Technology (USITT), and of the Northern Boundary USITT regional organization. I have attended several USITT conferences (the most recent in Long Beach in 2012).
I am very proud of the remarkable addition that Simpson College recently built onto Blank Performing Arts Center and with my role as Liaison between the administration, Theatre Simpson, the architects and the builders. The addition provides great teaching spaces and fantastic learning spaces for our students.
I earned my BS in Theatre and Associated Studies and a BA in Education: Speech, Communication and Theatre from The University of Evansville and an MFA in Design and Technical Theatre from The Pennsylvania State University.
Visit my blog designandtechtheatre
Hey there! I’m Gillian Randall and I’ll be the destination leader for Professor McClean’s class in the 2013-2014 school year. I’m going to be a sophomore in the fall, with a theatre major and a secondary education minor. I’m from Des Moines, IA, and I live there when I’m not at Simpson. I went to East High School in Des Moines and I participated in individual speech contest, theatre, student government, and I was class president. In high school, I was also given the opportunity to be able to go to All-State Speech Contest. I played softball for a brief time in school, but did everyone a favor and stopped my sophomore year. I spend a lot of time in the theatre and I love every minute of it. When I’m not kicking butt and taking names, I like to eat popcorn and watch bad horror movies. My favorite color is indigo, I don’t like tomato soup, and my favorite animal is a hippopotamus. I started figure skating when I was 7 years old and finally stopped competing my senior year. I still teach younger kids how to skate in the winter months at one of the outdoor rinks in Des Moines. I may not compete anymore, but I still love to skate for myself. I am so excited to meet all of you and help you have as great of an experience at Simpson as I have had so far!
* Theatre Major
* Secondary- Education minor
* Member of Theatre Simpson
* Woman’s Chorale Choir
Meet Your Writing Fellow
Greetings and salutations, my name is Joshua Zieman and I will be your Writing Fellow for the class Professor Steve McLean. I will be a Senior in this upcoming year. I am a History and Political Science major who is also involved in theatre. I enjoy theatre and Reacting to the Past history games. When I am not studying, getting ready for a production, or doing any of the above mentioned activities, I love hanging out with friends, watching the Daily Show and Colbert Report, and running.
I come from the Newton, Iowa, the former home of the Maytag Corporation and current home of the Iowa Speedway. My most pleasant high school memories involve theatre, jazz band, choir, speech team, and future problem solvers. I have an older sister who is currently in a Ph.D. program at John Hopkins University for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. Oh, and I’m an Eagle Scout, just don’t expect me to remember any of the knots (well except the square knot, I can remember that).
I am incredibly excited to be your Writing Fellow next year and assisting you with your transition to college. I can be found on Facebook and email and I would be glad to answer any questions you might have. Next year is going to be super exciting; thanks for coming along on the ride, and see you soon.
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