INFORMATION FOR STUDENTS
WKU faculty member designing sets for Humana play festival in Louisville
|Author: WKU News Blog|
Date: Thursday, March 15th, 2012
Tom Tutino won’t have a starring role in the upcoming Humana Festival of New American Plays in Louisville, but sets designed by the WKU faculty member will take centerstage in three of the productions.
In a typical year, Tutino designs one off-campus production in the fall semester and one in the spring. This year, however, has been far from typical.
“Theatre designers usually have multiple projects going,” said Tutino, a 1980 WKU graduate who has been a faculty member since 1990.
Since mid-November, Tutino has been working to design sets for the 36th annual Humana Festival that begins Sunday (Feb. 26) at Actors Theatre of Louisville. In addition to that project and teaching scenic design courses in WKU’sDepartment of Theatre and Dance, Tutino has designed the sets for a winter production of “Brigadoon” in Mesa, Ariz., as well as WKU’s four Mainstage productions, including “Oklahoma!” which opens Friday (Feb. 24).
“The Humana Festival is a great opportunity for me and a great opportunity for visibility for WKU and our program,” Tutino said.
“I’m not sure how Tom finds time to sleep, but it’s sure great having a faculty member so actively involved in the profession,” said Dr. David Young, head of the Department of Theatre and Dance. “Our students know that means they’re learning from the best, and they’re learning what’s current in the field. It also means our audiences are seeing the same quality of design at WKU as they might see at one of the top professional theatres in the country.”
The Humana Festival is a significant national and international theatre event where the new plays have their world premieres. “If any of the plays get published, I go on record as the original designer so that’s nice too to become a part of theatre history,” Tutino said.
Last year, Tutino designed the sets for one production at the Humana Festival, but this year he was asked to design the sets for the three plays scheduled for the facility’s Bingham Theatre – “The Veri**on Play,” “How We Got On” and “Eat Your Heart Out.”
For the Humana Festival, Actors Theatre uses one designer for each of the three theatre spaces. The plays run in rotation, sometimes with two plays in one day, so the sets have to be able to change in an hour, he said.
“The Veri**on Play,” written by Lisa Kron and directed by Nicholas Martin, will be presented Feb. 26-April 1 and is part thriller and part comedy about customer service issues.
“How We Got On,” written by Idris Goodwin and directed by Wendy C. Goldberg, will be presented March 2-April 1 and tells the story of three Midwestern teen rappers who discover the power of harmony over discord.
“Eat Your Heart Out,” written by Courtney Baron and directed by Adam Greenfield, will be presented March 9-31 and uses humor and aching insight as several lives are woven together in a tale of parental hopes and fears.
“The three plays are an interesting mix of styles and it’s been a challenge to do all three at once,” he said.
To begin designing the set, Tutino reads the script, meets with the director or playwright to discuss the vision for the play, and then develops ideas, sketches, models and drawings that are submitted for set construction and painting. Tutino will be in Louisville from Feb. 24 through March 11 for technical rehearsals.
While Actors Theatre has staff members who will construct the sets Tutino has designed, his work for WKU’s Mainstage productions are more hands-on as he and students build sets and paint scenery.
The production of “Oklahoma!” has provided an opportunity to work with WKU graduate Jeremy Benton, who has been serving as guest director this year. “I always enjoy working with former students as colleagues,” Tutino said.
Benton agreed. “I’ve worked with him professionally but this is the first time I’ve come back and worked with him here at WKU,” Benton said. “I’ve always loved his designs and he kind of finishes my sentence as I’m saying I want it to look this way and he goes ‘oh yeah like this’ and he sketches out exactly what I’m thinking.”
Contact: Tom Tutino, (270) 745-5878.
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