Spring mainstage director announced

Now that the director of the Yale Dramatic Association’s spring mainstage production has been chosen, Dramat executive board members say they anticipate that the show will give student participants an experience both professional and educational.

Last week, the Yale Dramatic Association announced that it has hired Lauren Keating, a freelance director from New York, to direct its spring mainstage, “Translations,” a play by Brian Friel. Dramat President Lily Lamb-Atkinson ’12 said that she believes Keating’s directing experience and past commitment to teaching undergraduates at Fordham University and New York University make her both approachable and inspirational to Yale students looking to go into professional theater. In the past, Lamb-Atkinson said, the Dramat has not always hired directors with both qualities.

“Some of our mainstage directors have been very into professional [directing], and some have been very into teaching,” Lamb-Atkinson said. “It varies.”

Keating, a New York based director, mentors undergraduate directing students at New York University and teaches at the New York Film Academy. In 2010, she guest directed “Poor Ellen Smith” at Fordham University, in addition to working with professional companies such as The Public Theater and The Old Vic in London.

“Translations” producer Yuvika Tolani ’14 said the mainstage is the Dramat’s largest production of the semester and the only show for which the organization hires a professional director from outside the Yale community. After posting an advertisement for the position in “Playbill,” a theater trade publication, the nine members of the Dramat’s executive board selected Keating from the 10 applicants interviewed.

Tolani added that Keating is valuable for the Dramat’s members because she has expressed a strong interest in collaborating with both the show’s professional designers and students involved.

In addition to Keating’s professional perspective, Lamb-Atkinson said Tolani brings a fresh voice to the show in her position as student producer, since as a sophomore she is very aware of what the younger members of the Dramat want.

Last year, Tolani was an assistant producer for both the fall and spring mainstage productions, “RENT” and “The Last Days of Judas Iscariot.”

Meredith Davis ’13, who produced “The Last Days of Judas Iscariot,” said Tolani’s organizational skills and talent make her ready for the job she held last semester.

The play itself, the story of a British military force attempting to Anglicise Gaelic names in 19th-century Ireland, is pertinent to a modern-day audience, Tolani said. She said she sees the play as particularly relevant in today’s world, as globalization threatens cultural diversity.

Tolani added that the play is a relatively light departure from what she said has so far been a dark season for the Dramat, with shows like ‘Tiger at the Gates,’ ‘The Marriage of Bette and Boo,’ and ‘Sweeney Todd’ — the fall mainstage.

Auditions for ‘Translations’ are tentatively scheduled for reading week in early December.

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