By Autumn Murphy
"I Didn't Want a Mastodon" was created in 2015 by Hailey Feiffer and tells the story of a couple fighting over a mastodon figurine given to the male character in the couple and, as the drama progresses, the audience tries to figure out why. The play was performed for the public by UCSB Theater students last fall.
The Theater program at UC Santa Barbara offers different avenues for students with different passions, such as acting, costume design, and directing. Hamilton has pursued the Theater program since her Junior year and has recently been accepted to work at a New Works lab at UCSB, which provides students with an opportunity to direct their own workshop productions.
In a recent interview, she discussed her decision to change her focus from acting to directing at UCSB, and how it has changed her plans for the future.
Q. What made you decide to focus on both Theater and English instead of studying either of them separately, and what led you to pursue an emphasis on directing?
A. I came to UCSB just as a theater major, and I wasn't sure exactly which part of theater I was interested in. I've always loved English too, so I decided to double major in both. When I found directing, I completely fell in love with it, and that's what I wanted to pursue later on.
Q. Has UCSB and the theater program helped you to discover what you want to do in the future?
A. I never considered that I wanted to be a director until I realized that you had to put yourself in the position of an actor. You'd have to put yourself in the actor and help them be creative. All of that was very interesting to me. I'm hoping to get a directing internship or apprenticeship, and hopefully that'll be the catalyst for my directing career.
Q. What was the one-act play you directed about?
A. My last play was a comedy about this couple who were recovering alcoholics called "I Didn't Want a Mastodon," where the characters are talking the entire time through subtext and body language about cheating, but the audience doesn't know why. The man brought the woman this great gift and he seems like a really sweet guy, and you don't know why until later in the show. They end up making up and she accidentally hits the mastodon off the table after he gave a speech about working hard on it. It's the journey of seeing how much love he has for her, and the one thing he gives her ends up breaking.
Q. What were the most memorable or interesting moments that happened on stage and behind the scenes?
A. You might be surprised watching the show to realize that many things that happen on stage are actually accidents. The making of the Mastodon was memorable because I was in the scene shop in all of my free hours just trying to piece pieces together. It's crazy seeing a show go from rehearsal to performance, because in the rehearsal we usually have no costumes, minimal props, and no lighting or furniture. When we go on the set for the first time, it suddenly comes to life in this whole new way. And as an audience member, you only see the finished product. But seeing how it looks without all those elements is interesting.
Autumn Murphy is a junior at UC Santa Barbara, majoring in Communication.