True Beauty Unveiled in Student Directed Show

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Most semesters, the SHSU Department of Theatre and Musical Theatre closes out their season with two student-directed plays where theatre majors will take on the demanding task of producing an entire show.

One of those shows is the play “Dogface”, written by Kellie Powell and directed by Senior theatre major Ashten Lane. This is Lane’s first time directing a student production. She talked about why she chose this play and what it means to her.

“When I read it, I thought it was one of the most relatable shows I’d ever come across because it talks about society’s standard of beauty but it is not a big, societal rant,” Lane said. “It kind of just makes fun, makes lights of everything. It’s something everyone can relate to.”

“Dogface” tells the story of a girl who goes through life struggling with her confidence and self-worth after a dog attack as a child, left a very noticeable scar across her face.

Senior theatre major Cortney Hafner who plays Dogface, talked about why playing this role was special to her and how much she was able to relate to the character.

“I read the monologues and I was crying while I was reading them,” Hafner said. “I very much felt a connection to her. Not completely, because it’s not my past, but I felt like I needed to share this story because a lot of girls go through this, a lot of people go through this.”

Lane and the cast talked about the different issues that are addressed within the show and how they all contribute to the message that the play is sending out to the audience. Freshman theatre major Stephen Swank who plays Ethan, talked about how the subject of self-esteem is a big anchor for the show.

“The theme of the show is self-love because if you can’t love yourself, if you can’t take yourself seriously, how is anyone else going to,” Swank said. “If you don’t love yourself, everything is just going to be hard and it’s going to be harder for other people to love you.”

The reality of this story is not entirely what it seems to be. Lane talked about the discoveries she made when doing research during pre-production of “Dogface”.

“I was sitting in my advisor’s office and I said, in the script she’s described as this ugly girl but I really don’t think she’s ugly. I think that she’s beautiful and it’s just the way she sees herself,” Lane said. “[My advisor] told me to take the word ‘ugly’ out of my vocabulary. She said that she is not ugly. It’s all in her head. That blew the show open for me.”

Hafner talked about what her character discovers and how it also applies to the theme of self-worth and how we as people perceive ourselves. The character learns that she does not need validation from anyone or anything.

“It’s a lot of woman power because in the end, you don’t need any of that,” Hafner said. “You just need to know that you are beautiful and I think she realizes at the end that she has friends, she has love, she doesn’t need a guy, necessarily. She’s realizing that there is a different kind of love in her life.”

Lane and the cast discussed what they each believe is the central message of the show.

“The heart of the show is about learning to love yourself, even when it’s really hard,” Lane said. “I think it makes you more of a successful individual if you find that appreciation of who you are, just the way you are. I think that is a lesson that everyone can learn.”

Swank talked about how relatable he believes the story is which drives the show home.

“It deals with not feeling like you belong and not liking yourself,” Swank said. “She grows up and realizes that she is important and that there is going to be a time when somebody does love her.”

Lane talked about what she hopes the audience will take away from the show and how self-acceptance and love, learning to love and accept, are really what is all about.

“I think you have to learn to fight that voice that beats you up,” Lane said. “If you learn to tell yourself I am worth something, I am special, I am full of love then, it will take you places.”

Both student-directed shows will run from Wednesday, November 18 through Saturday November 20 in the Showcase Theater of the University Theatre Center with performances to continue through the weekend. To purchase tickets call the UTC box office at 936-294-1339.