Behind the scenes of Senior Studio

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“Final Judgment,” written by José de Jesús Martinez, will be directed by Sebastian Luzondo, senior drama major. The play is an existential tragedy about a man who dies and is presented with a judge in the afterlife. The judge tries to decide whether the man should be condemned or saved. The question of the whole play is who this man is, if anyone at all. 

Luzondo translated the play himself, from the original Spanish to the English version that will be performed in April. He said that he found the original Spanish work in a collection of plays in the library. “I couldn’t find a translation of it so I said, you know what, I’ll do it myself,” he said. It took Luzondo about a month to translate the play, and he decided that the work would be perfect for his Senior Studio. 

Luzondo shared that he learned a lot about directing from the Directing Lab course that he took last semester. When it comes to directing, Luzondo said, “You really have to know what you want to be prepared. It has been a challenge and a journey. I’m sure any drama major would tell you that.” 

But Luzondo said that the preparations for the show are going well. He explained: “These next few weeks are going to be crunch time, but I’m really looking forward to it. That’s when you get to see everything really come together. It is not until tech week that you really see all the pieces fit together.” 

According to Luzondo, Martinez is not a well-known author. The last time that this particular play was put on was in 1974 at the University of Miami, but it was put on in Spanish. “It was almost like divine providence that I stumbled upon him,” Luzondo said. This will be the first time that any of Martinez’s plays will be put on in English. 

The second Senior Studio being presented this year is “Not Not Not Not Not Enough Oxygen” written by Caryl Churchill and directed by Loretta Bond, senior drama major. This story is an apocalyptic family tragedy about a father and a son trying to reconnect. The play is set in a society filled with poverty, disease, riots and war. A dystopian government has taken over, and the play serves as a warning about issues like climate change. The play presents the question of how these issues within the family are tied to the greater issues going on in the society.

Bond said that she has a great cast, stage management, crew and designers. As for directing the show, she commented: “It’s definitely a learning process. All of my preconceptions about how it would go are not necessarily accurate. There is a lot of trial and error.” 

Bond expressed that one of the essential components of directing a play is learning to forgive yourself and readjust when you make mistakes.

When asked why she chose this play, Bond explained: “I wanted to do something that connected with me both on a personal and political level. One of the major problems that I see around me is the inability of the old and the young to connect with each other, which is really sad.” 

Bond said that this idea is reflected in the play, and she would like to bring it to the public’s awareness. “There’s a tradition of family drama going back to the pagan epics, and that family drama reflecting what is happening in the world as a whole,” she said. Bond wanted to put on a production that remains within that tradition. 

Bond concluded by saying: “At the end of the day, the play that you make is not for you. So the play is not for me. It’s for everybody. We fail if we do not give it to other people. The audience is half the journey.” 

Bond hopes that people come and see it, and that they reflect on the issues that it presents about the world and our relationships. Both Luzondo and Bond think that their Senior Studios will be a good culmination of what they have learned here at UD, especially in the theater department. The shows begin mid-April, so look out for tickets!

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