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Admissions director Jamie Dunsdon with directing mentee David Sklar at the Theatre Calgary rehearsal hall.
Admissions Director Jamie Dunsdon tells us why Admissions is important now more than ever
Local Admissions director, Jamie Dunsdon, has been in the professional theatre scene for most of her life. Jamie has been making waves in the local arts community since 2009, both as the Founding Artistic Director of Verb Theatre and as the Artistic Producer at Calgary Young People’s Theatre. Admissions marks her directorial debut on the Theatre Calgary stage, which she feels is a new “high point” in her career thus far.
“I fell into directing because I found I had a knack for big-picture storytelling. When I read a script, I want my hands in all of it, so coming up with a vision comes quite naturally. Ultimately, I like challenging people, making people feel things, and directing is just my vehicle of choice.”
Jamie received the Admissions script in the fall of 2018, and that is where her process as director began, which encompasses reading the script repeatedly to immerse herself in the story and characters, and to identify the areas where she needs to do more research.
“In the early days, I’m looking at the experience I want to offer the audience. What story am I telling? Whose story is it? How does the play function? I get to know the script very well, so when I start working with the creative and production teams, I’m well-equipped.”
And as far as the story goes, audiences can expect to be confronted and uncomfortable. Jamie says rather than leaving audiences with a moral of the story, the play provokes the audience to question themselves, their thoughts on privilege and power, and what our responsibilities are to continue to foster diversity in our society.
“It’s a courageous script. This is a play that’s not afraid to have its characters say things that may be deeply offensive, but it does so in an attempt to provoke discussion, thoughts and change.”
While Jamie doesn’t want to tell people how they will think or feel when they see the play, she believes the first half of the play will confront people with some things they may have felt, possibly dark things they may have secretly felt. Or depending on the person, things they still feel, depending on their political standing. She expects that audience members may change their minds multiple times throughout the show about who they sympathize or empathize with.
But at its core, the play is a satire, and regardless of your beliefs or political views, she expects people will laugh and be delighted by this smart, witty and complex story.
“This play has a little bit of laughter and love, and people understand those things regardless of where they see themselves on the political spectrum. “I hope they can laugh and love together in the same space, and that it brings them a little closer together in these deeply divided times.”
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“If you want to tell people the truth, you’d better make them laugh or they’ll kill you.”