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Tutor profile: Daniel S.

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Daniel S.
Graduate Student at Indiana University
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Questions

Subject: Shakespeare

TutorMe
Question:

Who is the protagonist in Shakespeare's OTHELLO?

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Daniel S.
Answer:

Although he is not the "hero" of the story, Iago is the structural protagonist in OTHELLO. Despite being the titular character, Othello serves as the antagonist, and is the primary obstacle to Iago's desire for power. This leads Iago to embark on his journey to usurp Othello's authority.

Subject: College Admissions

TutorMe
Question:

Please write a Statement of Purpose.

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Daniel S.
Answer:

“Well you’ve come pretty far, but you know where you are - you’re home.” In a darkened, West End London theatre an ocean away from my apartment in Chicago, I’d never felt so embraced. As a gay man who grew up in a conservative Missouri town I never had access to the kind of theatre that the musical 'Everybody’s Talking About Jamie' represents. To be in a room with hundreds of people so fully invested in whether or not young Jamie New wears his dress to the prom was what my soul needed. As I stood there amidst the heart felt applause of this queer celebration, my choice in life’s work was reinforced: To create theatre for today’s LGBT youth. As an actor, I’d always had problems shutting off the “voice” in the back of my head. This was the voice that mentally shouted at me mid-scene, “Adjust your posture so you look more important,” or “Why did you just make that hand gesture?” The problem was that I had more trouble muting this voice than many of my classmates. Several of my professors and I discussed my work and progress, and I began to realize that my real passion and natural inclinations would most likely lead me to the director’s chair. After college, I jumped feet-first into the Chicago acting scene more fixated on building a quantitative resume than a qualitative one. After nearly a year of performing, however, I began to feel a need to work on theatre that “meant something.” It was this yearning to create meaningful work that was the catalyst for my artistic evolution from actor to director much earlier than I had anticipated. When I started directing, I asked myself two questions: What type of theatre was missing in Chicago’s theatrical landscape? Within that void, what stories could I authentically tell? These proved tricky to answer. I was certainly interested in creating gay theatre, but there was no shortage of it around town. However, most stories centered on the experience of men in and beyond their late twenties with few stories being told about the young LGBT experience for men, women, and those who don’t identify with the binary. Through my volunteer work with youth at a performing arts school I realized just how differently adolescents today respond to works like Angels in America and The Boys in the Band than do older generations. I asked myself what could be added to the queer canon to further invigorate youth interest and determined that I need to be creating not theatre about LGBT youth, but rather theatre for (and sometimes by) LGBT youth. My work led me to the understanding that they want to see the stories that matter to them right now - stories of first love, stories of first heartbreak, stories of coming out, and stories of self-acceptance. Examples of these stories are few and far between on contemporary Chicago stages. With that in mind, I intend to become a shaping voice in the creation of the new canon of queer theatre. My current focus is primarily developing dramatic adaptations of young adult novels that revolve around queer characters. Through collaborations with artists from differing queer viewpoints, my objective is to create stories that not only show outsiders what it is to be a member of the LGBT community, but stories that embrace and celebrate members within the community. Recent musicals, plays, and films such as Love, Simon and Everybody’s Talking About Jamie prove that there is an audience for these tales. As a gay artist I am committed to using these stories to help queer youth understand that they matter, and that in the theatre as well as the world around them they too can find a home. In my graduate studies I hope to explore various styles of storytelling, both old and new, to discover those most resonant with today’s young audiences. I also hope to obtain a terminal degree which will allow me to teach in a collegiate setting wherein I can begin building a new queer canon from the ground up. Through a combination of further education and professional directing I will endeavor to create meaningful art, and through that art and my teaching, to send the next generation of artists into the world with a queerly informed purpose.

Subject: Film and Theater

TutorMe
Question:

What was Arthur Miller's social commentary in THE CRUCIBLE?

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Daniel S.
Answer:

Arthur Miller wrote THE CRUCIBLE as a direct critique of McCarthyism, and the danger of "othering" a segment of society. It carries weight even into today's political and social climate, in which fear is used to manipulate and move masses.

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