The P.e. Teacher

By Carolyn Gage

Hollins Theatre Institute

Directed by Tatiana Durant

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The P.E. Teacher by Carolyn Gage and directed by Tatiana Durant explored gun violence, racism, homophobia, and mental illness in school settings. For the production, I worked as both the Sound Designer/Engineer and the Projections Designer/Engineer. 

Hollins Racism.jpg

Tatiana and I wanted to tell a story that was relevant on campus. That semester it was revealed that many Hollins alumnae had performed in blackface while at Hollins in the past. All of the alumnae defended themselves and refused to acknowledge what they'd done. The president of the university at the time decided to take the yearbooks that featured the evidence of students in blackface out of circulation. Hollins was in international news because of this scandal. This set of events sparked several protests on campus which inspired Tatiana, who now runs a non-profit called No Justice, No Peace, to protest through theatre. The protestors on campus created a list of demands that they wanted the University to respect that we incorporated into the Projections Design. A printed poster of the list could also been seen on the walls of the set.

Projections

For the production, I created two videos to set the scene for the top of show. The first was a 45 minute compilation of various pop culture videos from 1997 to dramaturgically establish the time period and politics of that year. The second was a video featuring 1997 video clips and the images of the Hollins alumnae in blackface. Both videos were burned onto separate CDs and played on an early 2000s box television. The static of the TV was also intentionally used throughout the production.