First Spring Production To Be Last For Esteemed Prof
Feb. 14, 2014
SHSU Media Contact: Jennifer Gauntt
When the Sam Houston State University Department of Theatre and Musical Theatre presents William Shakespeare’s romantic comedy “Much Ado About Nothing” beginning Wednesday (Feb. 19) evening, theatre professor and production director Maureen McIntyre will be bidding an “adieux” of her own.
McIntyre, who has directed more than 80 productions since joining the SHSU theatre faculty in 1970, will retire officially on June 1. “Much Ado” will serve as her final directing job for the department.
|Maureen McIntyre has taught at SHSU for 44 years. She will retire June 1, making "Much Ado About Nothing" her final directorial production for the department of theatre and musical theatre.|
“Much Ado About Nothing” will run through Saturday (Feb. 22) in the University Theatre Center’s Erica Starr Theater. Performances will begin at 8 p.m. each evening, with a 2 p.m. Saturday matinee.
The Shakespearean comedy tells the tale of two pairs of lovers—Benedick and Beatrice, and Claudio and Hero.
At the start of the play, Benedick and Beatrice are engaged in a "merry war,” wittily proclaiming their disdain of love and for one another. In contrast, Claudio and Hero are a sweet young couple who are rendered practically speechless by their love.
Although the young lovers provide much of the energy for the plot, the courtship between the wittier, wiser lovers—Benedick and Beatrice—is what makes this play so memorable, as Shakespeare develops their journey from bitterness to sincere love and affection with psychological subtlety and a rich sense of humor and compassion, according to McIntyre.
McIntyre said she chose “Much Ado” because it’s a “joyous comedy with the potential to be visually stunning.”
She came to SHSU as a costumer, to replace someone for a year, and though she was offered the job full-time, she wanted to continue acting and directing so the department created a position for her.
“Much Ado,” then, serves as a love letter, of sorts, to her students, the university and the entire community that has given her a wonderful career, McIntyre said.
“I chose to make it, conceptually, a valentine. I think the costumes and the setting absolutely follow that concept. The set is something very beautiful that has never been seen on a Huntsville stage; something very unusual and lovely in the concept of the valentine,” she said. “It really is a valentine to the city, to the people who have been so kind to me over the years. It’s from the heart, really.”
McIntyre earned her Master of Fine Arts degree from the University of Texas.
While living in Huntsville, she ran the city’s children’s theatre festival for 25 summers, and for her work she was recognized by two mayors: one named her an honored artist of Huntsville and another made a proclamation to name a day after her, which she said she “really thought was precious.”
In addition, in 1993 she was recognized as Texas Educational Theatre Association Educator of the Year and Who's Who among America's Teachers in 2002 through 2005 and 2010. She is a 2000 Texas Women's Hall of Fame nominee and has been honored by the Huntsville Arts Commission for Outstanding Leadership with Children in the Arts.
But her most important recognitions have come from her students, whom she has taught all forms of acting, advanced directing, period acting styles and stage dialects. She said among those are a number of classes she instituted.
“Last year my students from Chi Alpha gave me an award for mentoring, which is extremely important,” she said. “But the most important thing to me of all has been really the love for my students; I honestly adore them.”
That continues in “Much Ado About Nothing,” which boasts a cast of 25 and presented her the opportunity to train a lot of young actors in Shakespearean acting. Many are learning Shakespeare “from the bottom up” and McIntyre said she is proud of how hard they’re working.
The cast includes Sean Willard, Ashten Lane, Joe Serpa Daniels, Amanda Marie Parker, Chasen Parker, John Forgy, Tanner Stogsdill, and Kiara Steelhammer.
It also includes Kayla Baur, Dakota Carraway, D-Ray DeGrate, Daniel Rosales, Jared Ball, Brett H. Mourglia, Cody Miley, Allen Hughes, Josh Arvizo, Caleb Wendling, Haley Caldwell, Hunter Born, Megan Horan, Monaé Lott, Monique Lott, Jake Foster, and Lane Walker.
In her retirement, she said she “rejoices” to spend time with her husband, Buddy Aber, as well as travel, build her garden and “actually have time to cook for friends” (in addition to her acting and directing talents, she is also something of a gourmet cook).
But her doors will remain open for her students—she plans to teach for at least one more semester through SHSU’s “early retirement” program (the plan provides the option to teach for three additional semesters over the course of three years), and added that even while retiring from directing, “my students are always welcome to come by the house and work on a monologue if they need to.”
“I have had a wonderful career here,” she said. “My students have been such a blessing, I’ve had wonderful colleagues, and the town has been very good to me, very receptive. I’ve really enjoyed being a Huntsvillian.”
Tickets for “Much Ado About Nothing” are $12 for general admission and can be purchased at the UTC Box Office, by phone at 936.294.1339, or online at shsu.edu/boxoffice.
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