Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department / School



Early in October, it was discovered that the writer's original plan for a thesis was being covered in a dissertation just being completed by a gentleman in California. Miss Anderson urged consideration of a thesis in creative direction since directing was the aim of the writer's college education. The matter was discussed with Dr, Stine who agreed that Becket would be a worthy effort. The proposal was reviewed and accepted by the graduate faculty of the Department of Speech, The unique duo nature of educational theatre is a challenge, Elaborating on the concept, Curtis Canfield says that the college theatre should be closely aligned with the general objectives of the educational institution of which it is a part, Yet as a public art its purpose is not like that of a classroom, Its purpose is something more didactic, for while it must offer students opportunities to develop skill in acting and staging plays, it must account for itself to a public audience, Harold Taylor reflected vividly the writer's sentiments when he wrote, "The college theatre is the cradle of all theatrical talent, the place where the young may find enrichment for their lives whether or not their talent is of such an order that they may take it into professional enterprise." There were many reasons for choosing Jean Anouilh's Becket. The play offered excellent opportunities for a large group of students to develop their talents and enrich their lives. Potential talent to fill the leading roles appeared to be available. It also seemed that Becket would provide a significant theatre experience for the public. The play filled the remaining qualifications set forth by Canfield for play selection in college theatres 1) it was a significant example of dramatic literature; 2) it was an established script; J) it was of .an artistic level becoming a scholarly community; and 4) it offered the audience something they seldom would get a chance to see Canfield says that ultimately, "The man with a mind of his own will do the plays he loves, the ones that affect him deeply and say something he believes should be said . Those who know the writer will agree that she has a mind of her own, and as Mr. Canfield predicted, she chose Becket because she loved the play. The nature of the conflict between the two powerful opposing characters. Becket and King Henry II, is one which affects her deeply and reflects her concern for a keener insight into human relationships in the universe of man, The purpose of this study was to direct Jean Anouilh's Becket and to arrive at a critical evaluation of the total production, In an article entitled "Directors" from the book The Passionate Playgoer, noted American theatre critic Walter Kerr states that "each director may write his 'signature' across a certain production plainly enough to be recognized, "l. The writer desired to write her "signature" on a production in college theatre in order that that "signature" might be identified, examined, and evaluated, the undertaking would give an opportunity to put into practice and to evaluate much of the knowledge which had been acquired in undergraduate and graduate courses, Direct evaluation of such an undertaking by experienced directors should provide an indication of the extent of the writer's capabilities in the field of directing and indicate areas which need improvement, In addition, the results of this study could be of value to the director or teacher working in community or educational theatre who might be interested in directing Jean Anouilh's plays, especially his Becket.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Anouilh, Jean, 1910-1987

Theater -- Production and direction

South Dakota State University Theses



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University