Featured Faculty: Shona Tucker, Assistant Professor of Drama

1.  What do you teach at Vassar?

I teach the art of creating theater through acting.  I teach beginning and advanced acting.  I teach theatrical production.

2.  How long have you been teaching at Vassar?

This is the conclusion of my fourth year at Vassar, so this year’s Senior class graduation is particularly meaningful to me.  I already have a box of kleenex for the date.

3. What is your area of research?

I am currently researching my family history and the Great Migration of African Americans from the Southern United States to the North post World War I. I am turning the information that I am uncovering into a one-woman show.   However, in my classes, we have been focusing on comedy throughout Western Drama.

4. How have international students contributed to your classes?

Currently, in my Advanced Acting Class we are studying British comedy of manners.  We have been focusing on Oscar Wilde’s “The Importance of Being Earnest” and Noel Coward’s “Blithe Spirit”.  It is a lovely synergism of energy to have a British student in our class right now.  She has been a wonderful source material for us about customs and the ways in which customs have evolved. It is particularly gratifying for me when she confirms a statement I make to the students.

5. How do you think students can prepare to become global citizens in a continuously globalizing world?

I really don’t see how they can avoid it.  If they are reading this interview in their country of origin, then they are already mid-process.  Of course, it always helps to read, read, read, books, letters, articles, etc. from other countries.  And being a theater practitioner, I say see plays in languages you don’t know, watch foreign films and also, get VERY, very comfortable in your own skin, so that you can accept and appreciate another culture without fear being your first reaction.

6. You are an international student host, can you talk about that experience?

Quite simply, I have loved it.  I am excited by each addition to my global family.  I have invited these lovely people into my home and my heart.  My son feels like he owns each one.  When we go into the student cafeteria, he immediately darts up to Dip (my international son from Kenya)  or he throws himself into a hug of Sharon.  My international son is leaving for a whole year of JYA (Junior Year Abroad) this coming year, again, I am sad thinking of it. It is a wonderful program.

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