Comm 433 Offers Live and Lively Playhouse Series
So what are you doing at 2:30 p.m. on Tuesdays this spring? If you’re on the UMass Amherst campus, consider watching the live “Playhouse 433” series on HSCN channels 15 and 19.
For the first time, students in Communication 433, taught by David Maxcy, are producing a nine-episode live drama series in the UMATV studio on campus. Rising to the unique challenges of live studio television production, the student-producer-directors have either self-written or adapted each script from a medium other than television or film. The actors are drawn from a company assembled from across campus by the student casting directors, Nicole Kusmirek and Amar Parekh, both communication majors. They participate in extensive and rigorous rehearsals while each script is fine-tuned for the live cablecast. Then, at 2:30 sharp each Tuesday throughout this semester, an episode will come to life on screen as it is being directed. For those without television access, viewing stations will be available in the Student Union Lobby and outside the Hatch, downstairs. All episodes also will be videotaped and re-cablecast on later dates on HSCN channels 15 and 19 and on Amherst Community Television’s channel 15. Check local listings for time and dates.
“Playhouse 433” was conceived in the tradition of the live “anthology series” of the 1950s and 1960s which produced classics such as “Requiem for a Heavyweight” by Rod Serling, starring Jack Palance, and “Marty” by Paddy Chaeyefsky, starring Rod Steiger. Anthology series, such as “Playhouse 90” and the “Kraft Television Theatre,” consisted of uniquely written and produced drama. They featured writers, actors, and directors, a number of whom went on to fame in film. Many of the scripts, including the two mentioned here, ultimately became Oscar-nominated feature films.
Students in Comm 433 have taken either introductory TV production or introductory studio production, both offered by the Communication department and taught by Maxcy. The course is held in Academic and Instructional Media Services’s UMATV studio, a professional, three-camera digital production facility, and raises the concepts and techniques of studio production to a high standard. Each of the nine students enrolled this spring produces and directs two projects which can include drama, discussion and/or performance. While the thrust is on techniques of TV production and direction, each student also learns about the functions of studio production, including camera operation, video switching, sound mixing, floor management and more.
So tune in. If the first production, written, scored, produced and director by Comm major Ziggy Smith, is a harbinger of what’s to come, you’ll be in for an smooth on-screen experience that is both lively and engaging.
Student Directors this Spring
March 14 - Ziggy Smith
March 28 - Amar Parekh
April 4 - Ryan Morrison
April 11 - Kevin Pascucci
Apr il 18 - Johnathan Fuller
April 25 - Nicole Kusmirek
May 2 - Scott Gannon
May 9 - Tom Curcuru
May 16 - Perry Crowell
March 20, 2006