TAHLEQUAH, Okla. -- Christopher Miller, assistant professor of theatre at Northeastern State University, has authored a play chosen by Independent Playwrights Inc. for publication in late 2013.
The play, titled Focus, originated from an exercise done during Miller's advanced playwriting workshop.
"I worked with two student actors, Callie Harris and Knickel Sloan, on a loose premise and characters that we developed through improvisation," Miller said. "The premise was based on a news story that one of them had heard about a professor who was caught receiving prescription medication from a student. This then evolved into a story of unrequited love and a power struggle between the professor and her student."
Miller said the premise was a jumping off point for a series of developmental exercises and improvisations where he provided information shared by the actors, but also secret wants and goals for each actor.
"As this process works, the improvisations continue with the playwright pulling actors aside to give them new and secret tactics or changing certain given circumstances," he said. "All this serves as raw material that the playwright then shapes into scenes, workshops with the actors, and ultimately develops into the finished script."
In his fourth year at NSU, Miller said instructing students offers an array of opportunities within the stage profession.
"My teaching and my work intersect often," he said. "Theatre is a collaborative art and teaching theatre puts me in contact with and gives me a chance to collaborate with these young artists."
Miller is a member of the Dramatists Guild of America, and in 2008 he wrote and directed a series pilot, The Association, which won best sitcom at the Arizona Film and Television Festival. He is also an active member of the Humane Society of Cherokee County.
He earned his master of fine arts in creative writing from Arizona State University in 2003 and has "been teaching and working in theatre and film ever since."
Live theatre fans who want to see Miller's creations must wait – for now.
"Once the play is published, ideally it will lead to future regional productions," he said.
For more information about the NSU Theatre Company call 918-444-2789.
Published: 2/20/2013 2:03:47 PM