Paula Plum is 2020-2021 Boston College Monan Professor in Theater Arts

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“We are meant to go into the unknown.” That’s the mantra of Professor Monan 2020-21 in the Theater Arts Paula Plum, a phrase given to her by her professors, and it serves her well this semester as she directs a stimulating and unconventional Boston College production of William Shakespeare “Twelfth Night”. “

Plum’s reimagining of the classic Shakespearean comedy will be presented in film form November 19-22 via a private YouTube link accessible through the Robsham Theater Arts Center website.

“This trip was definitely a chance to test our resilience, creativity and ingenuity,” Plum said of the production. Forced by the pandemic to turn away from a traditional theatrical production, Plum – an accomplished and acclaimed actor, writer, actor trainer, teacher, and director – might have chosen to use the Zoom format, but had a good reason. not to do it, she explained.

“Since the start of the pandemic, I have spent endless hours every day, like the rest of the country, on Zoom. I am Zoomed! I felt a great need to tell this story using a different platform, hoping that my cinematic career as an actor would benefit my casting. “

Plum has a lot of praise for his Boston College cast and the entire production crew.

“I am so impressed with the level of commitment to work and advanced training and the ability of the students, both in my classroom [The Actor and the Mask] and in the cast of ‘Twelfth Night.’ It has been a truly difficult journey during this pandemic, and they have taken on extraordinary challenges with grace and courage. The control team, in particular, implemented a safety protocol that allowed us all to stay healthy and continue our rigorous rehearsal schedule. We are all grateful to them for the painstaking and daily preparation of the decor and accessories. They are top professionals. “

Plum is an award-winning actor with over four decades of teaching experience that includes the “Shakespeare Work Out” for Actors Shakespeare Project (ASP), an intensive six-week acting program that focuses on voice, body and breath. She is a founding member, resident and artist-teacher of ASP, a Boston-based theater company that “performs and works in spaces, schools and theaters found to present and explore robust language, resonant stories and profoundly characters. humans from Shakespeare’s plays. “

For her wide array of onstage credits, she won four New England Independent Reviewers Awards for Best Actress (“Wit,” “Miss Price,” “The Heiress” and “Plum Pudding”) and three Elliot Norton Awards for the best actress. (“Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf”, “Lost in Yonkers” and “Miss Witherspoon”). Plum was also selected by the Boston Theater Critics Association to receive the 2004 Elliot Norton Award for Sustained Excellence, which recognizes the recipient’s work and “outstanding contributions to theater in Boston”.

In 2009, Plum was one of five actors nationwide to receive a three-year grant from the William and Eva Fox Foundation for a Resident Acting Fellowship at the SpeakEasy Stage Company of Boston. She also has numerous directing credits, most notably as artistic director of the annual production “A Christmas Celtic Sojourn” presented in Boston and elsewhere in New England, and will teach directing II in British Columbia this semester. next.

Despite his extensive and famous professional career and his work, Plum found his production in British Columbia a very different, sometimes intimidating, enterprise.

“I have never made a film and I learn as I go, with the actors, how to shoot a play in front of a green screen”, she said, referring to the web of background used to create composite images for film and television productions. . “They have been generous with my learning curve.”

This learning experience, she added, was important for everyone involved in the production. “We have learned to be patient with each other and to protect each other. We have had to distance ourselves socially throughout the game. The team has gone to extraordinary lengths to keep us healthy. Jackie Dalley [associate professor of the practice of theatre], our brilliant costume designer, created matching masks for each costume. “

Director Ally Lardner, a senior from British Columbia, concurred. “With the support of the team, the creativity of the production team, and the endless talent and flexibility of the cast, we were able to safely come together on a stage and create something new in the most unpublished times. “

It is important, Plum added, to embrace non-traditional ways of presenting theatrical productions such as “Twelfth Night”.

“The point is to tell the story, and the theater people will find the means. For the audience of ‘Twelfth Night’, I hope that what sings is the spirit of the directing: that , despite everything, we have managed to do something beautiful during a time of great crisis and uncertainty. “

The Monan Chair in Performing Arts was established in 2007 by a donation to Boston College in honor of the late Chancellor of the University and former President J. Donald Monan, SJ The Post, which also commemorates the late Administrator E. Paul Robsham, enables the Department of Theater to bring nationally and internationally renowned professionals to Boston College to teach and work with undergraduates.

For more information on “Twelfth Night” and how to view it, visit
http://bc.edu/theatre. To learn more about Plum and his career, visit www.paulaplum.com.


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