University Theatre To Present “Sylvia” April 26-28

University Theatre To Present “Sylvia” April 26-28

University of the Ozarks Theatre will wrap up its 2018-19 season with a three-show performance of A.R. Gurney’s modern comedy Sylvia on April 26, 27 and 28. The production, which contains mature language and content, will begin at 7:30 p.m. on April 26 and 27 and at 2 p.m. on April 28 and will be held in the Seay Theatre in the University’s Walton Fine Arts Center. The public is invited to attend and tickets are $8 each. Sylvia revolves around Greg and Kate, who have moved to Manhattan after 22 years of child-raising in the suburbs. Greg’s career as a financial trader is winding down, while Kate’s career, as a public-school English teacher, is beginning to offer her more opportunities. Greg brings home a dog he found in the park—or that has found him—bearing only the name “Sylvia” on her name tag. A street-smart mixture of Lab and Poodle, Sylvia becomes a major bone of contention between husband and wife. She offers Greg an escape from the frustrations of his job and the unknowns of middle age. To Kate, Sylvia becomes a rival for affection. And Sylvia thinks Kate just doesn’t understand the relationship between man and dog. The marriage is put in serious jeopardy until, after a series of hilarious and touching complications, Greg and Kate learn to compromise, and Sylvia becomes a valued part of their lives Rebecca Bailey, assistant professor of theatre, is the director of the play. The cast includes, Tiffany Quinton as Sylvia, Rhett Sells as Greg, Haley Hanks as Kate and Haley Wheeler as Tom, Phyllis and Leslie. The crew includes, Lucas Hoiland as lighting designer, Jimmy Reiner as stage manager, Petron Brown as assistant stage manager, Billy Wilburn as costume designer, Quinton as assistant costume designer, Mason Clough as set designer, Hannah Bradow as sound designer, Wheeler as graphic designer, Nichole Finch as props master, Daniel Hall as technical director, Sydney Ward as light board operator and Kenzie Lewis as sound board operator. Other crew members are, Fion Chen, Taylor McFarland, Kevin Nawa, Lacye Day, Ethan Lubera, Haley Grace Clark and the stage craft class. The New York Times said, “Dramatic literature is stuffed with memorable love scenes, but none is as immediately delicious and dizzy as the one that begins the redeeming affair in A.R. Gurney's new comedy, Sylvia…” The New York Daily News said, “I can only call it one of the most involving, beautiful, funny, touching and profound plays I have ever seen…” Backstage said, “Gurney's mad comedy is the most endearing good time to trot down the pike in many a moon. Howlingly funny…”University of the Ozarks Professor of Spanish Dr. William Clary has published a review of renowned Salvadoran novelist Horacio Castellanos Moya’s latest book for Latin American Literature Today (LALT). The review of the 2018 novel, “Moronga,” appears on the LALT website, www.latinamericanliteraturetoday.org, as well as in the February edition of its magazine. Clary said he first became aware of the writer’s work in the early 1980s when he purchased Moya’s first collection of short stories in Tegucigalpa, Honduras. “As his production as a novelist began to proliferate after 2000, I began to follow him, always finding his work fascinating,” Clary said. “Last year, when he published ‘Moronga,’ I decided to take it on as a project. The book review for LALT is just a part of the project. I have presented a paper on the novel at a conference and am currently finishing a much longer critical article on the novel for publication.” Clary, who has taught at Ozarks since 2006, was instrumental in bringing Moya to the University in 2014 to speak as part of the Walton Arts & Ideas Series. “I believe Horacio Castellanos Moya is one of the most creative narrative voices in Central America today,” Clary said. “His work tends to focus on the latent and persistent traumas from the period of the 1980s, which still haunts many Central Americans today, either as residents of their home countries or members of the large Central American diaspora in the U.S. today.” “Moya’s is a powerful and piercing voice of memory that references the horrors of war that consumed the isthmus and how they remain in the minds of so many who were first-hand witnesses to this tragic decade in Central American history. Yet his work also deals with the demoralization and disenchantment that have also subjected Central America to the equally devastating problems of gangs and the drug trade, major problems of the postwar period which persist, alongside widespread poverty, in the conflicted region.” A former editor of news agencies, magazines and newspapers in Mexico, Guatemala and El Salvador, Moya has published 12 novels, five short story collections and two essay collections. In 2014 he received Chile's Manuel Rojas Ibero-American Narrative Award. Currently he teaches creative writing and media in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese at the University of Iowa.Though it has been nearly three decades since Anthony L. Mariani stood on the stage of the University of the Ozarks’ Seay Theatre, he felt right at home. Mariani, a 1990 Ozarks theatre graduate who has gone on to an accomplished career as a playwright, screenwriter and film and stage director, returned to campus on Feb. 7 to put on a workshop for communication and theatre students on the Seay stage. It was Mariani’s first time on that stage since he served as the student director of the University Theatre’s production of “The Adding Machine” during his senior year in 1990. “It was a little surreal to come back here. It brought back some great memories,” Mariani said. “Dr. Pat Farmer let me direct that play and that was the main reason I got into graduate school and it kind of propelled my career, so this place is special to me. Everything looks just as I remembered it. It feels like home.” Mariani, who lives in Little Rock, was invited back to Ozarks by Susan Edens, associate professor of practice of communication and a former classmate of his at U of O. Mariani spent nearly two hours working with approximately 25 students from the media II and theatre production classes providing technical tips on everything from camera angles to set props. He also shared anecdotes of working on film sets as well as advice on how to break into the industry. “I think it’s very important for alumni to come back and help out current students any way we can,” Mariani said. “If you get a chance to help someone else move forward, you should do it. When I left here I was the first one to go out to Hollywood, so I think it’s important for students to see that you can make it from anywhere. I was fortunate enough to make some connections and networks that have helped other Ozarks students. I also enjoy the teaching aspect. I used to teach high school and I really enjoy sharing knowledge.” After earning an MFA in directing from the California Institute of the Arts, Mariani spent the 1990s working in Hollywood, first as a production assistant on “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno,” and then as an assistant director on numerous independent films, commercials and television shows. MarianiHe returned to Little Rock in the 2000s, where he has found success as a playwright and screenwriter. One of his most recent plays, “I Got You, Babe,” was published in Lawrence Harbison's anthology, “The Best Ten-Minute Plays of 2018,” and was the 2018 10x10 Infinity Best Short Play winner. He has also won numerous awards and recognition for many of his other recent works, including the play, “The Rooster Rebellion,” and the short film, “Don’t You Forget About Me.” “As a playwright, I have tried to tackle social and political topics that face society today,” Mariani said. “I try to tell meaningful stories that an audience can reflect on long after they leave the theatre. I strive to write for change, to affect my audience and to inspire us all to be better humans on this earth.” The Ozarks students enjoyed hearing from an alumnus who could share stories about working with and meeting some of Hollywood’s top names, including director Steven Spielberg and actor Robert De Niro. “To be able to hear from someone who has that type of experience and history in the industry is very inspiring,” said communication student Ariel McKinney. “Knowing that he came from a small school like Ozarks and had success shows us that we can do the same thing and that we should follow our career dreams.” The timing was especially good for Mariani’s visit since many of the students are beginning to work on a multi-class film project. The students are turning a play called “Somoas,” written by U of O Associate Professor of Communication Dr. Rhonda Shook, into a screenplay. “He gave some great tips and advice that will definitely help us in making the film,” said sophomore communication major Bradley Thompson. “To be able to get that kind of information from someone with his experience is a wonderful thing.” Mariani hopes he can also be an inspiration for students in the Jones Learning Center. Mariani said he was diagnosed with dyslexia and dysgraphia after high school and that led to him transferring to Ozarks for the learning center. “Think about how it’s like to have dyslexia and dysgraphia and have a play published,” he said. “That to me is pretty amazing and I think it can inspire and motivate learning center students that they can do anything they set their minds to.” Mariani said he has found that his dyslexia actually helps him be a better director. “I had to be such a good listener in class to pick up as much as I could and that has helped me,” he said. “As a director you’ve got to listen to your actors and your performers, pick up on little cues and always be open to advice and input from others. You can’t be rigid in this industry and the training and experience I received in listening has helped tremendously.” Mariani said he has numerous projects in the works, including a play called, “The Morning Chair,” which is having a reading in Austin, Texas, this spring. He is also writing a comedy play called “Annie Luna,” and working on a project that deals with the aftermath of the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting.University of the Ozarks has launched a campus-wide digital learning initiative that will support and enhance teaching and learning by providing every student and faculty member with an Apple iPad. Compass is a comprehensive student-success program that will provide universal access to a common set of learning technologies. As part of the initiative, the University has collaborated with Apple to distribute nearly 1,000 Apple iPad devices, Apple pencils and smart keyboards to its students and faculty. Most of the students, including almost 300 incoming freshmen, received their iPad on Monday, Aug. 20, the day before classes begin for the Fall 2018 Semester. A majority of the faculty, as well as about 70 students, received their iPad in the spring, during the first phase of the program rollout. “We believe Compass will transform the teaching and learning experience at Ozarks by creating a dynamic and integrated environment of innovation, creativity and discovery,” said University President Richard Dunsworth. “Students will be able to access content in a way that supports their personal learning style and it will increase accessibility for all of our students.” The iPad devices will be used by the approximately 880 full-time students and 100 faculty and staff, including adjunct faculty, administrators and athletic coaches. The University has invested $1.3 million in the Compass initiative, which includes training seminars, equipment such as Wi-Fi-connected Apple TVs in classrooms and an enhanced wireless infrastructure for greater bandwidths and faster internet speeds. The current students will not incur additional costs to participate in the Compass program and officials believe that future costs of the technology will be more than offset by decreasing the amount students pay for traditional textbooks and other material. “The bottom line is that Compass will allow us to lower the direct costs students pay to attend college,” Dunsworth said. “This is especially important as the University seeks to control, and in some cases decrease, the cost of attendance while also improving the educational experience.” The students will be able to keep their iPad if they complete six semesters at Ozarks. Upper class students who will graduate before the six-semester limit will have the option to purchase the iPad at a reduced cost. Dr. Alyson Gill, provost at the University whose office coordinated the development and implementation of the program, said Compass “promotes an active learning environment in which students and faculty engage with the material and each other both inside and outside the classroom.” “We’re effectively creating a classroom without walls,” Gill said. “Compass will be a key driver as we support this pedagogical practice in which we move towards a student-centered learning model where students are actively involved in creating content for their courses and engaging with each other and their curriculum.” Dr. Caleb J. Keith, assistant provost for institutional effectiveness and strategic priorities, said Compass ties into the University’s mission and core values. “Compass seeks to create equity for students at University of the Ozarks by providing all learners with technology in the classroom,” Keith said. “As opposed to the typical bring-your-own-device initiatives on many campuses, this program will ensure that all students have access to the same level of technology, irrespective of socioeconomic or financial background. This essentially evens the playing field for all learners, meaning everyone starts the race from the same starting line. This has a direct connection to the University's core value of justice, as it focuses on economic justice. Additionally, there is a connection to the University's mission to accept students from diverse economic backgrounds and prepare them to live life fully.” On a campus where approximately 40 percent of the students are eligible for federal grants, Keith said lowering the cost of attendance was a major driving force in the Compass initiative. “Students will no longer have to purchases five or six traditional hard-copy textbooks or a computer,” Keith said. “By utilizing open education resources (OER) and digital texts, we can actually decrease the cost students pay for course materials. However, in order to do so, all students need access to reliable technology that will allow them to engage with these resources, and that’s what Compass allows us to do.” Dr. Amy Oatis, associate professor of English and a member of the Compass steering committee, was one of the professors who used the iPad in the spring—for her academic writing course. “Faculty members are extremely excited about this program,” Oatis said. “We still use a traditional writing manual in our academic writing courses, but our digital text allows students four years of online access to an updated style guide for less than the price of a print book that students might keep for only one semester. I saw students’ engagement and creativity increase through the use of the iPad that I didn’t see in my other classes that didn’t have the devices. The convenience, efficiency and effectiveness of the technology in the classroom helps eliminate barriers and allows professors to do what they do best—build relationships with students. It allows us to be 21st Century teachers.” Oatis said she was particularly surprised about how Compass has fostered and promoted collaboration between students. “Everyone having the same equipment really facilitated peer sharing and collaboration,” Oatis said. “There was a lot of spontaneous collaboration between the students as well as between the students and faculty that was surprising. It actually enhanced communications and team-work because it is so easy to share files and projects or just comments.” Susan Edens, assistant professor of practice of communication and advisor for the University radio and TV stations, said she is looking forward to using the technology in her classrooms in the fall. “If a professor encounters something that they think will illustrate a point in class they can capture the image or the event and easily prepare it for distribution by email, drive, or Air Drop,” Edens said. “I plan to Air Drop exercises to students as they come into class, have radio production students using their iPad to record audio essays and as a transmission and mixing device for live remotes and have my students in media law and ethics listen to the landmark decisions by the U.S. Supreme Court and read the summaries.” Officials said there will be several training and workshop opportunities for faculty and staff throughout the school year, including a weekly noon event at the on-campus coffee shop that Oatis coordinates called Appy Hour. “We wanted a place where students, faculty and staff could come together and share stories, best practices or their favorite educational apps,” Oatis said. “We started Appy Hour in the spring and it was really well-received by the entire campus community. I love how students and faculty who might not normally encounter each other are able to collaborate. Everyone is excited about the opportunities and possibilities that are out there. They really are limitless.”