By Taylor Hembree
For the Fall 2013 Theatre season opener, director Iona Holder has taken on the task of directing the play “Death of a Salesman.” The theatre professor discusses her role as director, the upcoming theatre season and her process of translating the tale of two sons that question the American Dream from the pages of a playbook to an on-stage production.
colonnade: What’s the upcoming theatre schedule like this year?
holder: It is grand and exciting. We have so many guest artists this year that it’s actually a little bit daunting in the sense that there are so many things that I want to go to. So it’s important to stay up on our website and Facebook page because we put everything out there; the season brochure is out and it has most everything listed. For the main stage shows: We begin with “Death of a Salesman,” later this semester in the Black Box [Theatre], we have “The Laramie Project,” a staged reading and then “Seminar” is a senior capstone. I feel like we have more performances this year than we ever have, but what’s incredible is that we have a great freshman class – enthusiastic and new people.
colonnade: What should students expect for this theatre season?
holder: A full year of just fun, very different theatre. Our theme this year is Spotlight on Diversity which is completely fitting because the shows we are doing and the guest artists that are coming really range the complete spectrum I mean: drama, comedy, children, fun, musical, it’s all there in a really balanced way.
colonnade: How can students get involved?
holder: Just come by! We have the callboard, which is a great thing to check. Check the Facebook group. Really just coming in and saying ‘I want to be involved’ is fantastic. Next Friday, there are auditions for Directing Scenes. [Directing Scenes] is a great way to get involved in a smaller way and are a nice introduction into our department without a huge time commitment.
colonnade: How did you feel about taking on directing “Death of a Salesman”?
holder: Well, I chose the “Death of a Salesman.” So I went into it knowing that this is one of the most epic American classic plays ever written, much less performed. So I took a few deep breaths, but I’m so excited. I know this is going to be something that is a gift to our community, a gift to our campus. This is just a really fantastic piece of our history, and it is so applicable and relevant to today’s society. It’s really going to strike the audience.
colonnade: What are you most excited about this year?
holder: Well, the range of diversity that we have coming, especially “Death of a Salesman” this year. I’m so excited. Going to rehearsal is such a pleasure; it’s not as much of a task as it is an honor. I feel honored to have this opportunity and it’s really fantastic that students are treating it with just as much honor, it’s so good to see how hard the students are willing to work and it just started.
colonnade: What’s the most rewarding part of being a director?
holder: Well, the range of diversity that we have coming, especially “Death of a Salesman” this year. I’m so excited. Going to rehearsal is such a pleasure; it’s not as much of a task as it is an honor. I feel honored to have this opportunity, and it’s really fantastic that students are treating it with just as much honor, it’s so good to see how hard the students are willing to work and it just started. The cast is so enthusiastic; it’s refreshing in a really wonderful way.
Iona Holder works with senior theatre majors John Underwood and Anna Fontaine on their roles in the iconic play, “Death of a Salesman.” Underwood plays the lead role of Willie Loman and Fontaine plays the role of his wife, Linda Loman.