By Lauren Jurgemeyer
For years, theatre has been seen as a career that produces starving artists, but to Allison Price, a directing graduate candidate at Texas State, theatre is seen as a craft about how souls communicate.
Originally from Spokane, Washington, Price’s earliest memory of theatre was when she had received a journal from one of her older sisters and she drew out a script for the “Hungry, Hungry Caterpillar” and made her friends act it out.
It wasn’t until 8-years-old when she saw a professional production of the musical West Side Story that she knew theatre was the path she was meant to follow.
“When I was kid, I was incredibly anxious and incredibly shy, like it was hard to get me to leave the house,” Price said. “The moment the overture started, I remember feeling really brave. And I knew right then that I was going to do [theatre] the rest of my life.”
Price pursued her undergraduate degree at Central Washington University in Washington State. There she had the opportunity to study abroad in England and then worked in Dublin, Ireland, as an assistant director at the oldest theater.
“I did some acting when I was younger, but I could not stop thinking ‘bigger world’,” Price said. “I think I was just born with the want to direct because I have been staging them in my house since I was little.”
Price has won numerous awards for her directorial work, including: Kennedy Center SDC Directing Fellowship, the WildWind New Play Development Residency, and the Stage Directors and Choreographer’s National Directing Award.
She was drawn to Texas State because of the rigorous program that only accepts two candidates per class. As well as the fact that the program allows for the opportunity of application through lab and production practice. By graduation, Price will have worked on four full productions.
In terms of research, Price said she focuses primarily on emotional research first, taking her time to get to know the characters in the script. For further inspiration, she finds songs that fit the emotional tone. Price has collected separate scripts for blocking, analysis, all of the design research, rehearsal reports and she journals everyday.
“If there is a paper trail,” Price said, “I have that piece of paper.”
With a past of leaning towards dramatic, small cast productions, Price approached this fall season looking to challenge herself. She struggled to find a show that hit the marks of a larger cast and a comedy, it wasn’t until she was struck with a memory of a recommendation of the ‘90s movie “Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead.”
Currently, Price is directing Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead, a play by Tom Stoppard, about the minor characters of Shakespeare’s Hamlet. The play was written in 1966 and is considered to be an absurdist, existential tragicomedy. Absurdist theatre or Theatre of the Absurd developed after the second world war. The plays often focus on the idea of existentialism and what happens when humans have no purpose or no meaning.
“It is truly about how you survive in a world that won’t let you make choices, and then punishes you for not making choices,” Price said.
Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead opens Oct. 1 and runs through Oct. 6 in the Patti Strickel Harrison Theatre. Tickets are available online, by phone at (512) 245-6500 and at the box office an hour prior to the show.
Featured image courtesy of Allison Price.