From ‘Uncharted Waters:’ A Q&A with Musical Theater Major Truxton Ivory
Interview by Winter Mallon (Musical Theater,’22).
Cornish College of the Arts’ Theater and Performance Production departments, Seattle University Theatre, and the University of Washington School of Drama recently came together to collaborate on two pieces: Shakespeare’s “Twelfth Night” and a devised piece titled “Bodies of Water.” This production was called “Uncharted Waters.”
Seattle University’s Rosa Joshi directed “Twelfth Night” and Cornish College of the Arts’ Sheila Daniels and UW Drama acting alum Porscha Shaw co-directed “Bodies of Water,” a devised piece developed from the themes in “Twelfth Night.” Both productions included the work of students, faculty, and staff from all three schools.
This production was rehearsed and performed entirely online to adhere to COVID-19 guidelines. Unlike other Cornish productions this season, “Uncharted Waters” chose to do their productions live.
Truxton Ivory, a third-year Musical Theater Major, played Maria in the collaborative production of Shakespeare’s “Twelfth Night.” We were able to digitally connect with them and hear more about their experience acting in the show.
Q: How did this show challenge you as a performer?
A: This show challenged me in a way I’ve never acted before. Last semester I participated in another zoom-heavy show that focused largely on pre-recorded aspects. This time around the performance was live, which subsequently required different approaches to building my character, developing communication and connection over a virtual medium, and so much more. And although it was challenging, it was also so rewarding. I feel that I’ve found a new confidence in my craft because I was able to experience, participate, and create in two different formats of virtual theater over the course of this school year.
Q: What was your favorite part of this production?
A: I think I have two favorite parts! One for sure was being able to perform in front of a live audience again! The other is the small moments of laughter and release we found while dealing with the crazy platform of Zoom. As technical as we got with Twelfth Night, sometimes the technical difficulties (I can attest to shaky internet connection … there are many screenshots of me frozen), were nice pockets of time of finding levity and joy while working on something new to each of us!
Q: If you could do it again, would you do anything differently?
A: I don’t think I would change anything! The entire process was so enriching and I am so grateful for everything that I’ve learned from my peers, my director, and the production’s tech team! We created a real community and I’m so glad I got to be a part of it!
Q: How did COVID-19 affect this production?
A: COVID-19 definitely required us to shift to a virtual performance, but beyond that, I don’t think it actually affected the creative process that much! It did, of course, affect the ways we organized and got our show on its feet, but I think we adapted to the virtual medium really well regardless, and still found ways for our creativity to expand and deepen! If anything, COVID challenged us to experience and experiment in brand new ways, and I think we met its challenge with a response of, “oh yeah? Just you wait!”
Q: What was it like collaborating with artists outside of Cornish?
A: Collaborating with the artists from UW and SU was probably the best thing about this entire process. Not only do I have new friends, but I also have new connections to the same people who will be creating the theater of tomorrow alongside me both in college and out in the professional field! This project really allowed for a strengthening of the Seattle collegiate theater community, and I really hope Cornish can continue in this partnership in the future both during and after the time COVID and quarantine.