Maharishi University of Management Sustainable Living student, Ashley Olivia Smith, recently founded the Fairfield Alternative Theater Company and directed its first production, The American Plan.
Ashley’s love of theater began when she was just five years old. She followed her passion and, before attending Maharishi University of Management, went to college to study costume technology and design. Directing The American Plan was Ashley’s second time directing a production and the first time with a full-length script she did not write.
“One intention of the Company is to bring more alternative, contemporary, and edgy material to Fairfield,” said Ashley. “Our first production was an experiment. The Fairfield Alternative Theater Company hopes that the success of this show will serve as a springboard for more material of this kind to enter the Fairfield theater scene.”
Ashley is fascinated with finding new ways of bringing out internal and external moments and choices for actors. In the production of The American Plan, she tried a style of directing that she had never seen or experienced in rehearsals; She experimented with various exercises to physicalize the script and access archetypal energies within the actors. One of her intentions with the show was to highlight the feminine challenges that both men and women were exposed to in the 1960s. She especially focused on the tension between one of the character’s masculine and feminine sides.
The American Plan was written by Tony Award winner Daniel Greenberg and first performed in the Manhattan Theater Club. The characters struggle with love, lies, alliances, and the idea of the “American dream.” The setting is a 1960s vacation destination in the Catskill Mountains of New York, where Lili Adler (Eden West) and her mother are spending the Summer. The play opens with the meeting of Lili and Nick Lockridge (Ben Estey) and follows the consequences of their relationship. The cast also included Maharishi University of Management alumna Julia Ross and Maharishi University of Management students Morgan Flores and Connor Carey.
The Fairfield Alternative Theater Company hopes to put on a Spring production. They are in the process of determining what that might be, stay tuned!
Portions of this blog were written by Ashley Olivia Smith.
|Anna Bruen is a MUM alumnus who graduated with a degree in Sustainable Living. Anna is the resident blogger here at MUM. To learn more about Anna take a look at her introduction post.|