Theater student faces challenges in directing

Release Date: 11/28/2005

Ozarks senior in charge of mainstage show


CLARKSVILLE, ARK. (November 28, 2005) -- An Ozarks student has thrown herself into bringing to the stage an emotional, personal story of the effects of the 9/11 terrorist attacks on New York

Ozarks senior India Judd spent close to 20 hours a week during fall semester in rehearsal directing “The Guys.” The play runs the evenings of December 8 and 9 in Seay Theater on the Ozarks campus.

Watching other actors was a new experience for the theater major from Sapulpa, Oklahoma, who has performed in numerous Ozarks productions. “I’ve always been an actor, but I wanted to be in charge!” said Judd, 21.

Judd found a big challenge as director was getting her actors into the mood of their characters. She pushed them to draw out intense emotions through their own personal experiences.

“It makes it so much more real,” said Judd.

“The Guys” opened in New York in December 2001. Anne Nelson, a New York City journalist and Oklahoma native, wrote the 90-minute, two-character drama based on her own experience of meeting a New York City firefighter and helping him write eulogies for his fellow firefighters killed in the 9/11 attacks.

The Ozarks production stars freshman Michael Schmoker of Clarksville and sophomore Annie Mitchell of Yellville. Students are also in charge of the play’s choreography, costumes, sound, stage managing and program graphics.

About 20 students “have put a screwdriver or paintbrush,” to the show’s set, said set designer and Ozarks Theater Professor Bruce Brown, including running the electrical wiring for a working lamp and coffee maker.

Ozarks Theater Professor Pat Farmer said Judd “deserves the right to direct. She has a great amount of determination. …and she’s met many deadlines.” Judd’s work on the production goes back to a script analysis she completed spring semester of her junior year.

Inspired after viewing memorials at neighborhood fire stations during a family trip to New York in 2003, Judd said “The Guys” is “very unique. It’s the sort of thing that’s never been shown at (Ozarks) before.”

“I think all Americans are connected to this piece,” said Judd, who added that her visits to the fire stations had a greater impact on her than when she stopped at Ground Zero at the site of the World Trade Center destruction.

Judd first hit the stage at age 10 in community theater -- “I pestered my mother to take me to my first audition!” -- and continued to act in community theater as a teenager.

“I didn’t have a drama department at my high school,” said Judd, who said she would like to return to her roots. “I always thought I’d go back and teach to people who taught me so much.”

She is also considering going to work in theater in Boston or Florida, after serving an internship last summer at a theater in Virginia. “There were interns from Duke, Columbia and New York University, and I knew more than a lot of people there!” said Judd, who landed the internship after attending a theater conference with Ozarks theater faculty and other theater students.

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