Theatre Arts Professor Receives Distinguished Award
Thursday, Sep. 13, 2012
USU theatre arts department faculty member Shawn Fisher is a recipient of an Edgerton Foundation New American Play Award. His new play, "How to Make a Rope Swing," will be produced in Utah and New Jersey. (photo courtesy USU Theatre Arts Department)
Utah State University’s Department of Theatre Arts faculty member Shawn Fisher recently won an Edgerton Foundation New American Play Award.
“I am proud of Shawn Fisher and his continued marvelous work for the Caine College of the Arts,” said Craig Jessop, dean of the CCA.
Fisher’s play, How to Make a Rope Swing, has also been chosen for two professional productions in 2013, one at Salt Lake Acting Company in February and another at Cape May Stage, New Jersey, in May. Both productions are Equity, meaning that professionals from the Actors’ Equity Association (AEA), an American labor union for live theatrical actors and stage managers, will produce the show.
“This raises the premiere of Fisher’s play to a higher level of professionalism with the involvement of the AEA,” said Denise Albiston, director of marketing and public relations for Production Services in the CCA.
The play focuses on Delores Wright, the wealthy town matriarch and former elementary school principal, and Bo Wells, the African-American custodian who worked under Wright’s strict authority for most of his life. The two are stranded together in the old schoolhouse where they worked for half a century. As the night progresses, Wright and Wells discover the roles they each played in a long-buried tragedy.
“How to Make a Rope Swing explores race from a point of hindsight and through a societal lens that has evolved over the years,” said Fisher, associate professor of theater in the Caine College of the Arts. “The character of Mrs. Wright was inspired by my grandmother, who was mandated to integrate the schools in Bridgeton, New Jersey, despite her privately-held racist attitude. Even with her personal bias, she was a dedicated educator who served her students, regardless of race. This contradiction fuels the story and the character of Mrs. Wright.”
Urban Stages, a well-known Off-Broadway theater in New York City, has selected Fisher’s play for a staged reading featuring Lynn Cohen and Arthur French for the roles of Delores Wright and Bo Wells. Cohen is known for her roles in Munich and the HBO TV series and movie Sex in the City. French is known on Broadway for his roles in Two Trains Running, Dividing the Estate and Mule Bone.
With the staged reading, Fisher hopes to develop the script further and have it produced in New York City.
Writer: Kara Rindlisbacher, 435-797-9203, firstname.lastname@example.org
Contact: Denise Albiston, 435-797-1500, email@example.com