Theatre major Chazz Irwin recently traveled with members of his department to the Kennedy Center American College Region III Theatre Festival in Milwaukee, WI. Attendees of the festival can compete in various categories, focusing on work both on and off the stage. Irwin’s original one-act play is a finalist for the Region 3 John Cauble Short Play Award and the National Playwriting Program One Act Play Festival.
Following he describes his experiences with UM-Flint Theatre and his recent recognition.
How would you describe your time in UM-Flint Theatre?
I started at UM-Flint in the fall of 2012 and joined the Theatre Department immediately. I have always been interested in Theatre, so it was a natural fit. Janet Haley of the department was actually my first point of contact when enrolling in the University. My primary role has been that as an actor.
All of the faculty have been instrumental in my development as a playwright, most notably Andrew Morton, Janet Haley, and Bill Irwin. Professor Morton has given me the tools I needed, and Professors Haley and Irwin have always enthusiastically read and critiqued my work. Without their help, I would not have made it this far.
This has already helped me professionally, because my work is now being seen by people who work professionally and their feedback will be highly educational. It could help me further because I will be learning from these industry professionals on how to be the most successful I can.
How would you describe your experiences with the ACTF and this year’s recognition?
I first heard about ACTF when I first started with the UM-Flint Theatre department. All theatre majors are encouraged to go by the faculty as it is a great learning experience and is also an important networking resource. I was encouraged by Professor Andrew Morton to submit my plays that I had written for his playwriting course.
My play, More Real Than It Should Be, is a KCACTF Region 3 finalist and is now up for national consideration. I will know if it is selected to be a national finalist sometime in March after all of the regions have concluded their respective festivals. So my play, along with 15 other plays, will be up for consideration, then 6 will be chosen for the National competition in Washington DC.
Tell us a little about the play and how you wrote it:
I first developed my play last year as an assignment for Professor Morton’s class. It was the final project for the course. The elevator pitch, which is how would you describe your idea on an elevator ride, is that two professional wrestlers meet backstage to discuss their upcoming match, and there’s a problem when one of them doesn’t want to do the match as planned.
You’re a senior, what comes next for you?
After I graduate from UM Flint, I plan on attending graduate school to earn an MFA in Theatre so I can teach at the University level. I would also like to see my dramatic work published by a national publisher such as Dramatist Play Service or Samuel French.
I would just like to thank the University and the Theatre department for giving me the tools I will need in my field and a special thanks to Andrew Morton, Janet Haley, and Bill Irwin for all of their help and their encouragement, as I said before, I wouldn’t be where I’m at without them.
For a full list of winners at the Region III KCACTF, including others from UM-Flint, visit their website.
For information on the UM-Flint Department of Theatre & Dance, please visit umflint.edu/theatredance or call 810.237.6522.