Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Fine Arts



First Advisor

Ojewuyi, Olusegun


AN ABSTRACT OF THE THESIS OFClaude Ryan Towery, for the Master of Fine Arts degree in Theater, presented on April 1, 2022, at Southern Illinois University Carbondale. TITLE: THE FAMILY THAT PLAYS TOGETHER STAYS TOGETHER: DIRECTING HAY FEVER BY NOËL COWARD MAJOR PROFESSOR: Professor Olusegun Ojewuyi From the spring of 2021 to the spring of 2022, the period of time during which this document was written, the Covid-19 pandemic was still ongoing. The pandemic’s cataclysmal events precipitated a paradigm shift across cultures and societies around the world – a shift that affected countless vocations, leaving many confused and uncertain as to how they would continue working, supporting themselves and their families, pursuing their dreams, etc. Every theatre practitioner in the United States was negatively affected in some form or another, and many lost their jobs. Questions as to how theatre could continue and/or survive ran the gamut. This document chronicles how my thesis production survived. The Family That Plays Together Stays Together... reviews my process and journey of directing Noël Coward’s Hay Fever, and the challenges and triumphs that came with directing a theatrical production during a worldwide pandemic – a journey that has forever changed me and my perception of this art form and the world around me. This paper, in chronological order, details all the phases necessary in bringing this production to fruition. Chapter One includes the preliminary research, playwright’s biography, play analysis, and directorial interpretation of the script (vision & concept). Chapter Two details the pre-production process, examining the design and production meetings, dramaturgy, and marketing. Chapter Three delineates the production process, auditions and casting, rehearsals, the development of techniques employed, and performances. Chapter Four is a personal reflection of the pitfalls, discoveries, and changes I i would make if I were to direct this play in the future. The final chapter also includes a section on techniques and practices that will help me grow in my craft as a director, artist, and academician. I have come up with a phrase that summarizes my directing of Hay Fever, my graduate school experience, and practicing theatre during a worldwide pandemic; “Life is but a game, and a game that must be played to the finish.”




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