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Dr. Everett’s Second Go-Around at "Little Women"
"It is a natural character to play as a college student. They are able to explore the character's feelings."
Dr. Beth Everett is a first-year teacher at Mississippi College, but she has been in the education system for over 20 years. Everett loves working with musical theatre and choir. She also music directs for the Zilker Theatre in Austin, Texas.
One week before COVID-19 hit, Everett directed Little Women at Southwestern University in Georgetown, Texas. Since that was her last show before lockdown, it holds a very special place in her heart.
Everett finds it very special to work with her students in the choir aspect as well as the theatre aspect. It also gives her great opportunities to know them in different ways. A lot of her students sing in her choir while also participating in the shows that she puts on. Directing a show and directing a choir use completely different elements of what she has learned and feels willing to teach.
“Seeing the students get to do something different is special. They come into the choir and we explore vocal styles that way,” Everett says. “They also get to explore different vocal styles through singing in a musical, which is a lot of fun to me.”
Most people that come to enjoy the show often recognize the name and know the idea of Little Women. The story will pull at the heartstrings and emotions but also have perfectly placed parts that are light and funny. Everett enjoys exploring all of the different emotions and helping her students find ways to relate to the story. This is one of the most beautiful parts of her job.
“I always encourage my actors to feel their emotions while they practice and learn to relate to the character. I like to encourage them to be authentic even though they are playing a role,” Everett states. “The process ends up being a very cool journey that I get to witness.”
In Little Women, the main characters are very close in age to college students. Everett feels that this helps the show because actors can really understand the feelings of the characters that they are portraying.
“This show is an easy reach. It is a natural character to play as a college student. They are able to explore the character's feelings. However, they have to really figure out the time frame and how different their lives were for the characters.”
Since Everett had the chance to produce this show in the past, it has been convenient for her to teach the students well without having to learn the play herself. She has taught the play already and watched the resulting performances, so now she is able to focus on teaching her students and helping them learn instead of learning herself.
While this is a positive thing, Everett is also working not to compare the two shows and separate sets of actors. She never wants either to be compared, because while they may be the same show, they are completely different experiences. Each show has a chance to have its own unique take.
“I like to allow each show to be its own. I never want my students to feel like I am comparing them to my students before,” says Everett. “It is important to let them have their own show and let the show have its own unique touch.”
Everett is eager to see the show come to fruition. As she watches her students grow and learn the characters, she grows more confident in the show. Everett appreciates her students’ hard work as they make the show happen and really dive into the characters' lives and portrayals. Everett holds this play very dear to her heart, and she is looking forward to watching hard work be put on the stage.
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