Student Directors ready for new Role at McMurry’s Direct Fest

Issue 26: March 20, 2024

In a dimly lit auditorium, the heart of theatrical performance is alive and buzzing. Actors are behind the curtain, lights are ready and focused, and the audience hums in excitement as the show gets ready to start. But who is behind the production? Who tells the actors what to do, where to go, when to end? In this article I will be addressing the unsung leaders behind theatrical productions: Directors!

Aby Brown, a Theatre and English major here at McMurry, is taking Directing 1 with Neena McClain. In this class, directing students are instructed to learn the principles of directing and to apply them as they direct a ten-minute play of their choosing. Brown was generous enough to give me a first-hand look at what it’s like being a first-time director as well as insights into her show: Under the Floorboards

Under the Floorboards, written by Dana Hall, is a retelling of Edgar Allen Poe’s A Tell-Tale Heart. It features three characters, the ID, Ego, and Superego in their silent pursuit of bloody justice. Brown shares that this show is close to her heart. “Edgar Allen Poe has been one of my favorite writers for many years now; especially this story. I’ve always had connection to dark and creepy stories, and I wanted to bring this story to the stage.”

Brown shares that this project has enabled her to, “look at theatre in a whole new light.” Over the course of her time at McMurry, Brown says she has primarily been an actor. She acknowledges that this has presented some challenges because she has to, “switch from an actor brain to a director brain. Instead of worrying what my lines are, I have to create this whole story and to make sure I’m telling the right story.”

Despite these struggles, Brown is beyond excited for the final production. “I’m most excited to see it finally come together. I have an amazing cast who are working with me side by side to bring this story to life. I know once they get up there, I’m going to be so proud of all of our work and effort,” says Brown. Her humble testimony is continued as she gives thanks to what she has learned, and what she is excited to continue learning. “I’m excited to gain more experience in a different avenue of theatre. I’ve been able to explore new areas so much this year…and it is something I’m very thankful for. I’m glad no matter the outcome, I tried and put all my effort into it.”

Browns production of Under the Floorboards will premiere alongside seven other shows this April at McMurry’s Direct Fest. There will be showings April 26th at 10am and 7pm and April 27th at 7pm. Join Brown and other talented student directors as they present their debut productions on stage! Experience the excitement of witnessing their shows come to life!