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The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

The human experience: at the theater

For Guilford’s production of Euerybodye, the Theatre department invited a guest director to lead the production. Mark Rucker seems to be a humble choice for the job – he chooses to give everyone else the credit for a great performance. “He will never sing his own praises, though he ought to,” said Professor of Theatre Studies Jack Zerbe. “He is almost overly humble.”

Mark Rucker has been directing professionally for over 12 years. He has led nationally award-winning productions in the Southeast. In 2003, Rucker was awarded a prestigious Sundance Film Festival award for his directing work on the film Die Mommie Die!

Even with such a background, Rucker refuses to flaunt his talents.

Zerbe explained how Rucker’s humility and respect add to his directing talent. “He is a completely unbiased person. He gives everyone a chance and listens to every voice and suggestion.”

Rucker has directed more than 50 professional productions and is an Associate Artist at the South Coast Repertory Theatre.

“I love all types of theatre,” Rucker said . “[Theater] is a fantastic opportunity to touch others with a good performance.” Rucker has another opportunity with Euerybodye, which opens today.

Euerybodye is a Guilford adaptation of the medieval play Everyman, which touches on beliefs in society and the trends that trap us.

“I was intrigued to take something written so long ago, and make it speak to us now,” Rucker said. “That goal is achieved through our adaptation of the play.”

Invited by Zerbe and other department members to direct the play, Rucker was first given a script and soon arrived for auditions.

With so many first-year and first-time actors in the cast, inexperience could have been a problem. But Rucker explained that, from the auditioning phase, age was never a factor.

“Casting is a huge part to any production,” Rucker said. “But auditions have to happen just like interviews.”

Zerbe explained how Rucker initiated the auditions without him, making sure that others’ preferences and relationships with actors had nothing to do with Rucker’s casting decisions.

“With Mark, auditions are completely unbiased and fair to the actors,” Zerbe said.

“I only respond to their auditions and not their history,” Rucker said. “I learn a lot when I work with people at different places in their acting career.”

“For me, he has been a great director and leader for this play,” said junior Vita Generalova. “He has the ability to help actors improve their talents without cutting them down or making them feel inferior.”

Generalova, who is playing the title character, said that Rucker tries to erase any barriers that may come between actors and directors.

“He is all about the performance, and not about gaining authority,” she said. “We [all] get along so well that it shows in our performance.”

Rucker takes pride in delivering prize productions to audiences around the country. His production of Euerybodye is no different. As a director, Rucker has tried to investigate deeper meanings and themes within every scene.

“Theatre is much more interesting and satisfying when it provides catharsis,” Rucker said. “The deeper meaning in this play is about shedding the superficial trappings of our media-heavy world.”

With Everybodye showing this weekend and next, Rucker will try to deliver another production to be proud of. As usual, he will most likely take little of the credit.

“It should never be about the director,” Rucker said. “It is about those on stage – and more importantly, those in the audience.”

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