Visiting theatre professor offers public lecture at Centenary
SHREVEPORT, LA — Marika Becz, in residence at Centenary as a visiting professor of theatre through the end of February, will present a public lecture as part of her residency. Becz will speak on “Civic Sustainability Through Theatre: Storytelling as a Means of Preservation” on Wednesday, February 7 at 7:00 p.m. in Centenary’s Marjorie Lyons Playhouse. The lecture is free and open to the public.
Becz is a professional actor, director, and writer based in southern California. She has served as a professor of theatre and taught workshops at many universities throughout the United States. The primary project during her Centenary residency is directing MLP’s production of Sarah Ruhl’s In the Next Room, or The Vibrator Play, a Victorian-era comedy that runs from February 22 through 25. More information is available at centenary.edu/mlp.
Becz sees herself as a “theatre maker,” and her coaching is focused on teaching actors to tap into their individual creativity to produce work that is truly transformative. As she will discuss in her February 7 lecture on civic sustainability and theatre, Becz believes that this transformation can be collective as well as highly personal.
“My interests gravitate toward the idea that live performance can be a healing/community building/group learning experience for the audience at very profound levels,” explains Becz. “When we elicit an empathic response from an observer, we can build compassion and understanding for the characters in the story, which can then extend from there to others. This is the place from which tolerance comes, and this leads to a more caring society.”
In addition to directing In the Next Room, Becz is also working closely with Centenary theatre majors as a visiting instructor for the theatre department’s Friday lab course focused on performance technique. Students in the course are benefiting from her insights on the intersection between acting, storytelling, and community.
“I'm always reminding my acting students that the work isn't about them, it's for the listener, it's for the audience,” says Becz. “Storytellers are in service to their community. The care of our communities is at the core of what my talk will focus on - thus "civic sustainability" is really about the preservation of community through compassionate human interaction.”
Becz's lecture is generously underwritten by the Attaway Professorships in Civic Culture program.