School of Music, Theatre and Dance sophomore Scotty Lockwood’s start in theatre was certainly unconventional. He actually intended to come to the University as a psychology major. However, at the last minute, Lockwood’s mom encouraged him to apply for Michigan’s renowned theatre school. He was accepted — an impressive feat considering the prestige of the school.
Now pursuing a Bachelor of Theatre Arts with a concentration in playwriting and directing, Lockwood affirms that his program has been able to adjust to an entirely online course structure.
“I think I’m definitely still getting the same experience,” Lockwood told The Daily. “Although I don’t think I’m connecting as well with some of the material and some of the people, I do think I’m gaining a lot of practice and experience even through this pandemic.”
In addition to his classes, Lockwood is involved in several student-led theatre organizations on campus. One of these is Rude Mechanicals, an organization that traditionally puts on one full-scale production each semester produced, directed, stage managed and acted by students. Originally planned for last winter, Rude Mechanicals’ show this fall is “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime.” The play follows Cristopher, a 15-year-old boy with a mild form of autism solving the mystery of a dead dog, who will be portrayed by Lockwood.
“They sent out auditions for (the roles of) those who had graduated. I decided to audition, and I was so lucky to have gotten the part,” Lockwood said. Even though the planned events for last spring were canceled, this opportunity was created by the change of plans. Because the play was moved from the spring to the fall, Lockwood has been able to be a part of it.
“It was a really, really phenomenal experience,” Lockwood said. I got to meet a ton of really talented people and work on a show during a time when a lot of things aren’t being created. That was probably the biggest highlight of all of this, was just having something to do, and also creating, having an outlet to be creative.”
The play will, of course, be presented in a slightly different format. It will be available for streaming on Oct. 23, 24 and 25, in a serialized format Lockwood describes as a “radio-play style.”
Lockwood and his peers also find ways to create their own work through Blank Space Workshop. This student organization allows playwrights on campus to workshop their scripts with collaborating directors and actors and eventually put on a staged reading of the show.
“I’m actually on the production team,” Lockwood said. “I was brought on my freshman year as one of the artistic assistants.” This fall, he will direct a play through Blank Space called “Unhinged,” written by a first year at the University. “It’s a really, really, really great opportunity that I’m so happy to be a part of in a lot of ways.
Lockwood and the rest of the Blank Space production team also created “Unwritten,” a brand-new biweekly podcast. All six of Blank Space’s shows this semester will be put onto the podcast, along with interviews with professionals in the fields of playwriting, directing and acting.
When asked why people should go watch “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime and Unhinged,” Lockwood laughed and asked, “What else are you doing?” He also pointed out that both are an easy, free way to support art on campus, as well as the hard work of the students.
“The cast that I was working with (on ‘The Curious Incident’) and the cast that I’m now working with on Blank Space are so eager to produce and create. They have really put in the time and effort to make these phenomenal, and I’m really excited to see what we come up with” Lockwood said.
Lockwood stressed the importance of giving a creative voice to young artists. Even when there are far fewer opportunities available to students like those on the University’s campus, students can establish themselves by generating their own creative outlets. “There are certain things that I learn from being in a student production that I could never learn in a classroom,” Lockwood said, “which is why it’s so important to get involved.
“The professional field of theatre is completely put on pause,” Lockwood said. “Knowing that we’re going to be that next generation that’s going to bring it back up on its feet, right now it’s so important that we are still going through the motions.”
Daily Arts Writer Caroline Atkinson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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