Through the eyes of the director: Tammis Doyle

Photo Courtesy of Tammis Doyle

Tammis Doyle, the department chair of the drama faculty will be spending this quarter putting together “A…My name is Alice,” directing a cast of six girls and bringing to light the story of women and what they mean to the community today.

Doyle has been working on each student’s personal performance power, with the hope of teaching the art of performing past just a character and portraying a story.

Coming from a background of directing plays at the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festal, San Francisco, the Seattle Playhouse for Young Performing Artists, the Performing Arts Conservatory High School, and as a president of the NWDC (Northwest Drama Conference), Bellevue College is very fortunate to have such an esteemed director and member of the Bellevue College Drama Faculty.

Tammi teaches Introduction to the Theater, American Musical Theatre, Acting, Audition Technique and mentors directors and playwrights as an advisor for Stage Fright Student Productions.

The Bellevue College Drama department encourages refinement of skills in acting, directing, technical skills and leadership in the Stage Fright student drama program.

Maddie Dugan, a cast member in “A…My Name will Always be Alice” was the president of Stage Fright drama club. Tyler Sims, another student in Bellevue College Drama directed “The Shadow Box” which was performed in spring quarter. Most performers and participants take drama classes at Bellevue College.

“By taking classes and doing shows, that how you get better. Just doing one or the other won’t help you as much as the instruction and experience you get from both,” said Doyle.

There are a wide variety of people who participate in Bellevue College Drama. Auditions are open to every student. You don’t have to be part of the drama department to be in a production.

The crew consists partly of students in tech classes, and partly out of interest. Students interested in being a crewmember do not have to do so for credit. Musicians for shows are mostly hired.

Tammi Doyle has thus far been enjoying “A…My name will always be Alice”, because as a revue, “you have to keep an eye on the pacing as a director because the audience is starting from scratch every song.

“There are monologues, solo numbers, scenes, group singing numbers, parodies, soap opera parodies, and even a 1960’s parody about women behind bars” said Doyle.

Doyle has been working on tight individual performance in order to give the entire production flow and comprehension from one component to the next.

Integrity to the playwright’s intentions and vision for the production is an important focus for the Bellevue College drama Department. Alterations made in the show were derived from changes recommended by the writers.

The play “is supposed to work for the group, it needs to be an immediate connected piece. It’s not about someone, somewhere, where it really resonates is with the audience it is being performed for”.

“A My Name will Always be Alice” was the third play in the works of three. The first production “A…My Name is Alice” was written in the 80’s, and therefore some references are outdated and irrelevant. Madonna was changed to Lady Gaga for one of the lines.

The original production took place in New York, so Tammi Doyle made the executive decisions to change locations from Queens to Kent, and to set the play in Sammamish.

She has also been working with the production team to update pop culture references and humor so that the play will be comprehended and applicable to the lives of members in the audience.

Doyle described one scene where a girl (dressed as a guy) goes up to a girl and asks to see her ‘bazookas’ and she asks ‘what was that?’, in order to call the guy out on his rude behavior.

Doyle asked the cast members “does that still happen?”, and the actresses affirmed that it does. Although the show was written in the 80s and 90s, themes and the manner in which women are treated have not changed, and can be portrayed through the timelessness of theatre.

One of the pieces in the musical revue is “Pretty Young Men”, the theme of which is consistent with current movies hitting the box office like “Magic Mike”, concerning housewives going to men’s strip clubs to be entertained.

Tammi Doyle chooses plays that “will be good for the community, Bellevue, and relevant to the students”.

Students will be enduring longer rehearsals on fewer days for “A…My name will always be Alice”.

Summer-stock productions are “really intense, short periods of rehearsal”.

Preparation and pre-production will be an arduous task, but Bellevue College will open the play with a dessert theatre style performance this August from the 2nd to the 5th at 7:30 p.m.