BY THE WAY,
MEET GLORIA MITCHELL:
AN EXPLORATION OF RACE, GENDER, AND THE MANY SHADES
Written by: Emma K. Harr
Lynn Nottage, arguably one of the most important artists currently writing for the stage, has created something poignant and crucial within the characters and story of her play “By The Way, Meet Vera Stark.” By taking on the task of giving breath and fire to the character of Gloria Mitchell, I have been submerged in a world of magic, fame, and lost glory: beginning in glitzy 1930s Hollywood, up through funky 1970s talk shows, and into the sober circles of scholastic criticism of the early 2000s.
Gloria Mitchell, white Hollywood starlet, and her African-American maid Vera Stark, share a bond through friendship and tandem film careers that challenge the century’s concepts of racial identity and autonomy of mind and body. Nottage exposes audiences to the idea that skin color and biological sex have become cultural commodities, used throughout the last century as platforms for the buying and selling of ideas. By putting this socially disturbing conundrum on stage, she challenges audiences to think critically about the histories of privilege and power.
Below you will find a gallery of images from the show, as well as links to view the PDF of the full written document. But I must warn you, she's 500+ pages. Peruse at thy leisure.
MFA THESIS: PDF FILES
The following pages document the creative process in its entirety of an actor before, throughout, and after the full realization of a mainstage production in the University of Southern Mississippi’s Department of Theatre.
With the support and guidance of my graduate committee, I was given the task of taking on the life of Gloria Mitchell, one of the leading characters in Lynn Nottage’s brilliant play, By The Way, Meet Vera Stark.
This thesis work, also known as a Creative Project, chronicles the in-depth research, script analysis, rehearsal, and performance process of this production. The information herein was gathered and accumulated over the course of a calendar year, and brought to fruition in my third and final year of graduate study at USM.
This document was signed and approved by my graduate committee in May of 2015.
All thoughts and work enclosed are my own.
© Emma K. Harr
Cover image from the theatrical production poster provided by
the USM Department of Theatre.