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Get to know a member of the SCU community
Fred Tollini, S.J., is a professor in the department of theatre and dance, specializing in drama and theatre history, Shakespeare studies, and directing. He is directing SCU Presents latest production, Pride and Prejudice, which opens this week.
Tickets are on sale at scupresents.org/performances/mainstage-theatre-pride-and-prejudice
1. What do you enjoy most about teaching theater?
I love to watch students working: to act, to understand a text, to speak and express themselves. Also to exercise their memories, which is an essential part of education. Finally, to work with others in achieving a unified result. In the process, the goal is to appropriate the humanity of the characters they impersonate and thereby increase their own capacity for understanding and having compassion for others. Ultimately, it is part of the goal to live not only for oneself, but for others.
2. You've directed over 50 performances at SCU. What's been your favorite?
Pride and Prejudice is, of course, my current addiction. Looking back, I remember my first show in the Mayer Theatre, A Streetcar Named Desire and The Beggar’s Opera. In the Studio Theatre, Measure for Measure stands out and 9 Circles, with Nick Manfredi, who’s currently co-director of Pride and Prejudice. But every show has a glow of it’s own in my memory.
3. What about your current production, the 200-year-old Pride and Prejudice, can this generation of students relate to?
The role of women in challenging and the constraints found in a male-dominated society. That is the essential spine of the play: Elizabeth Bennet’s perfection of social roles and the pride and prejudice between different levels of society shapes the dynamic of both the novel and the play. The comedic element is that a mother must find five rich husbands for her five daughters to ensure their future.
4. What's your favorite piece of advice for students?
To acting students, I say, don’t worry about how you’re doing on stage, but how you can best help the others to succeed. That’s essential.
5. How has technology changed the performing arts world?
Technology has made things possible in theater that were much more difficult to achieve before. What used to take 10 stage hands to accomplish now may take only two. Control and precision becomes more possible, and it's easier to replicate a show each evening.