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PlayMakers' 'Seminar' brings UNC dramatic arts Masters students to stage

Professor-student relationships go from the classroom to the stage in PlayMakers’ next production, “Seminar,” which opens Wednesday. 

The show centers around four young, hopeful writers and their professor’s exclusive class on power, sex and art. 

“It’s about that relationship of ‘Who am I? What do I want to do with my life? What am I passionate about?' and then running into someone who starts critiquing that,” Director Michael Dove said. 

Dove said he enjoyed both directing and watching the show. Despite working on it for a month, he said he was still entertained by the humor.

“It’s very funny, but I think what’s so great about it is that the comedy comes out of awkward situations and tense situations,” he said. “There’s a lot of humor that comes out of that, but I think it has so much depth and so much emotion behind it that I think you just feel like you go through this huge journey with this play.”

Ray Dooley, head of the Professional Actor Training Program and dramatic arts professor, acts alongside his students as a professor named Leonard, creating a unique atmosphere. 

“It is so gratifying for me to be in rehearsal with them and then, when we are back in the classroom, being able to draw some parallels with the work we’re doing in class to certain moments occurring on stage in ‘Seminar,’” Dooley said. “There is an amplification of the teaching effect.”

Dove also enjoyed the pre-established relationship between the professor and students and what it provided for the onstage chemistry.

“It could have been tricky, but they have such a great relationship, and they all trust each other so much,” he said. “With other people, it could have been more difficult, but I actually think it fed a lot into it.”

PlayMakers' staff is excited to see the masters' students gaining experience out of the classroom.

"They have such strong talent here, and we’re very pleased to be able to share that talent with the patrons,” said Monet Marshall, assistant box office manager. 

Dooley also said he believes UNC students should see the show because of its relevancy.

“I think it will be of particular interest on a university campus for the frank and uncensored interaction between a mentor and four students,” Dooley said.

Dove thinks students will identify with the message.

 “I find it super interesting, and I think this is a perfect place for it.”


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