Personal Statment: UCLA Directing MFA Admissions Essay

Personal Statment: UCLA Directing MFA Admissions Essay

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Powerful theater combines intellectual ideas and artistry of language with the visual power of movement and physical strength. The theater I most appreciate involves the actors’ equal commitment to their bodies as to their voices. This theater makes art of the entirety of our evolution—biological, linguistic, and cultural—and represents the ultimate artistic elevation of the human spirit. This is the theater I strive to create. I believe the director is ultimately responsible for providing the distinct, guiding perspective of a production. A strong director brings the audience a cogent, well-reasoned interpretation of the play and ensures consistency among the actors and design elements to create a production that is clear and effective. To do this well, a director must explore the history of the play and the playwright's inspiration as well as look for corollaries to the play’s style and subject in other media, culture and intellectual ideas, and ultimately, compile this information into a coherent blueprint for realizing the world and presenting the themes of the play. It is precisely this studied, integrative aspect of directing that I am most attracted to, and, I believe, that makes me a strong director.
I began my collegiate theater studies, at Reed College, wanting to be an actor, and, in fact, adverse to the idea of directing. I had considered directors little more than acting coaches and blockers, but in my first year, I worked with a director, Stepan Simek, who significantly shifted my understanding of directing as an art form. The production was Frank Wedekind’s Spring Awakening, which was staged on a pair of raked platforms that served as chalkboards. The set pieces in each scene were drawn on the platforms by...

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...s at the school. I believe that my experience with new media production as well as my work in traditional theater speak to my ability to create ambitious, interesting work. I believe the School of Theater, Film and Television will provide an environment that will challenge and encourage me to grow artistically, while providing strong critical feedback and exposure to new ideas, to say nothing of the cultural opportunities that the Los Angeles community offers. I greatly enjoy collaboration and analytical exploration, which I hope will make me an asset to your program and my fellow MFA students in directing and other disciplines. I am confident that my drive and focus will make me an excellent director, but I think that the MFA program at UCLA offers an opportunity to grow beyond my own ideas and to become a superior artist to that which I can become on my own.

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