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Student Spotlight: Michelle Lepori creates drama

Anjanae Crump, Editor-in-Chief

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MFA Student Michelle Lepori is a participant of Southern Rep Theatre’s new play development program, 4D, where her theatre skills are refined. Lepori shared the details of the program and her experience with Driftwood to help inform other students of the priceless opportunity.

 

AC: Anjanae Crump, Driftwood’s Editor-in-Chief

ML: Michelle Lepori, 4D participant

 

AC: What does the program entail?

ML: 4D is a theatre program that teams up aspiring local talent to develop new plays in New Orleans. Each team consists of three members: a dramaturg, a dramatist and a director. Together, we create and workshop the dramatist’s play and will debut our co-creations on Dec. 2 at Loyola University’s Lower Depths Theatre from noon to 6 p.m.

 

AC: What’s one of your favorite things about the program?

ML: I prize our 4D monthly workshops. This is where we roundtable and delve into each other’s writings and ideas. There is such a diversity of experience in the room. Industry veterans and novices are taking on new roles and being supported in the process.

 

AC: What made you join the program?

ML: I love academia and theatre and 4D provides the space for me to combine these pursuits as a dramaturg. Dramaturgy is a growing field that many are curious to explore. It’s a research position that lends depth and stability to the writing process by providing historic data, visual references and other tools to the playwright and crew.

 

AC: Would you mind sharing what the play you’re working on is about?

ML: 17th century Germany. Four women, shunned and hunted by villagers, are imprisoned in a tower for witchcraft. As they await their fate and battle their demons, an old crow perched in the rafters keeps a watchful eye.

“The Witch’s Tower” portrays the witch-hunts of early modern Europe … while exploring intimate social and political structures. The play is set in 17th century Idstein, Germany, and four women are accused and sentenced to die for witchcraft. The play reveals motives for their arrests and makes contemporary political parallels using lyrical, often poetic, and understandably surreal language and scenery.

 

AC: What is it about theatre that pulls you in?

ML: Theatre has a rare power to bring literature and visual art to life in a way that builds community togetherness. It is an interdisciplinary artist’s dream! Theatre is so fresh and immediate, with the characters right in front of you, real people with emotions and drama. It’s the quickest way to my heart.

 

AC: What would you like to do as your career?

ML: My goal is to help others develop and express their creativity and personal history. Storytelling is an empathy-building activity, and I believe in its power to better our lives and relationships. I want a career as an artist in this field and [I want] to bring people together in support of the arts.

 

AC: How can interested students sign up?

ML: Applications will be open for the 2018-2019 season soon! 4D program information and more can be found at SouthernRep.com

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Student Spotlight: Michelle Lepori creates drama