M. Heather Carver is framed by her clown shadow—a black mannequin head wearing a pink camouflage hat and red clown’s nose—as she joyfully begins to describe her place at MU. “I come from a background of performing,” the Associate Professor of Theatre offers. “As a means of studying something, we perform it.” As a way of studying autobiography, for example, Carver performs autobiography.
Ruffin takes us backstage to watch actors prepare and warm up for the night’s performance of Holding Up The Sky.
Ruffin states that the advent and departure of talented students is the biggest challenge he faces. “The work goes on while the students come and go,” he observes. “There are periods where I’ve had so many wonderfully talented students that anything seemed possible, and then there are years where the talent pool is not as significant as you’d desire.” Casting appropriately for plays is another obstacle he must overcome.
In her article, “”http://liminalities.net/3-1/heart.htm">Methodology of the Heart," Carver does several things to draw attention to writing itself as performance: “I was trying to expose the nature of the self in this writing. That’s really what it’s about – trying to make our experiences more raw, more real for the reader.” While this kind of writing takes a lot of courage, because it leaves the writer vulnerable and exposed, Carver adds that “it also takes a sense of play; play is such an important part of performance.”
Miller discusses how he chooses a production and what audiences seem to like the most.