By Katherine LeClair
For Marion Givhan (C’18), theatre is not solely about being in the spotlight. Performing is an integral part of her major, but Givhan enjoys the aspects of theatre that happen before the curtain rises. She remarks that the theatre department’s goals are to ensure that students are well-rounded and “know enough about everything to be dangerous.”
For much of her time at Sewanee, Givhan was convinced that she would double major in English and French, but she was eventually drawn to the theatre department because of how small it is. “I love the fact that in the theatre department you can’t avoid anyone,” she says.
Interacting so closely with the few students in her major allows her to study how her peers develop styles and techniques that differ from her own. “You are constantly around theatre majors of all years, which means putting your ego away for certain things and accepting that different people have different ways of acting,” she explains.
When others react to her major, Givhan says that “they expect me to learn about very particular things. No one expects you to know anything about design of a production. They expect you to know about acting.” She continues, “You have to have so many layers and accept that you are going to be a part of every single aspect.”
Givhan has studied elements of production, performance, costume, and design. She dedicates hours outside of class to construct and embellish sets for productions.
“I’m more of an observer than other people may be,” she says. When asked about her career aspirations, she states, “I would rather find a way to get involved with the theatre through a backstage way.”
Though she thrives backstage, Givhan will also be performing the lead role of Elizabeth Proctor in Arthur Miller’s The Crucible later this month. This role has allowed her to see the rewards of her studies.
“I’m finally at the point where if I do a move in rehearsal, I can feel the instinct drop-in of ‘Oh, that worked,’” Givhan explains.
While she enjoys acting, and working as a dresser or a painter, her ultimate goal is to be a director.
Givhan has been working on writing her own play since the summer of 2016 as her senior project, and she hopes to see it performed later this year with the Studio Theatre Board. “It’s gone through three major changes and revisions and currently it’s at the point where I’m finally happy and comfortable with it,” she says. “I just need to see it realized.”