Texas Tech University

Behind the Piñata

Tom Laney

March 2, 2020

It's not every day that you get to see Professor Jesse Jou rip open a pinata with his bare hands. But this is just one spectacular moment from the 2020-2021 Season Announcement Video that takes a fresh approach to how the School of Theatre and Dance engages with the students and patrons.

Starting with a Reservoir Dogs-style montage and ending with a collection of sharply dressed faculty and students smashing a pinata to find their directing assignments for the season, the creation of this video was the result careful planning by the marketing team that is made up of SOTD graduate students and led by marketing director Cory Norman.

The brainstorming sessions required quick wits and crazy ideas. The team was determined to convey the excitement of the next year's selection of shows in original and enticing ways. A few of the unused suggestions for the announcement video include gender reveal, a giant cake, helium-filled balloons, and even a scavenger hunt.

Walking into the new lobby of our theatre building early on a Saturday morning, donuts, cameras, and a-soon-to-be demolished pinata were waiting for us. We "actors" experienced a childlike excitement as we saw the range of "weapons" waiting for us, all in service of sharing our new season in a unique way. We were all ready and willing to experiment with new forms of storytelling, and the season video reminded so many of us about the value of play, flashing back to the idea of make believe when we were children.

The art we produce in the School of Theatre and Dance is inspiring, and we should have fun sharing it with audiences. If that means encouraging Professor Jou to decapitate a multi-colored donkey, then so be it! And by the way, if you ever get the chance to take a crowbar to a piñata, I advise you to do so; it's more fun than you think.