Joseph Hanreddy Moves to UW-Milwaukee
did the new position with UWM come about? Who approached whom?
They approached me. [Peck School
of the Arts Dean] Wade Hobgood and I had gotten together socially. Just a
couple of days before I met him, I decided I was going to leave the Rep. I made
an announcement and he asked what I was going to do. I’d been teaching at
Northwestern [University in Evanston,
Ill.] and enjoyed it a lot. What
I was thinking about doing, I couldn’t name a position for. I just knew I
wanted to change things up a little bit. We chatted for a while and he gave me
a call a couple of weeks later. He’d talked it over with some of the faculty,
and the chair of the department at the time said, “If we could make something
work, would you be interested?”
directing and design students don’t always communicate very well right after
graduating from BFA programs. How does that fit into the program you’re
developing for UWM?
That’s a generalization.
I thought Northwestern was an exception. I really enjoyed the program there.
One of the core classes was a collaboration class I was teaching with Ana
Kuzmanic. We did a Shakespeare collaboration class. We worked on a production
of The Tempest and divided into three
director/design teams. Each team would take it from the inception all the way
to the first rehearsal.
You have a design track
and a direction track, and when people actually start working on a production,
designers are used to designing sort of in a vacuum. They read the play [and
decide what they’re going to do] and then the director comes in and decides, “This
is the floor plan I like, these are pictures of what I want it to be. This is
what I want for the set. These are what I want for the costumes.” It doesn’t
really work that way at all.
Every team, just like
every rock ’n’ roll band, is going to be different. The dry ones—the ones that
just aren’t going anywhere—are where you have five people firing off ideas. Or
the director just having a group of people that they’re dictating a bunch of
ideas to. There’s never any kind of synergistic energy.
With people who are your peers who you’ve been working with for decades, you can work out what you think thematically is at the heart of the play—what’s going to connect with people. It’s a very give-and-take kind of thing. It’s lots of meetings, hundreds of e-mails. I like mentoring that process—exploring what that energy is. There’s no right way to do it. It’s unique with each group.