With the new theatre building properly blessed and broken in with the recent production of Doctor Love, I met with Dillon Rouse, whose upcoming show, Shame on Me, is the inaugural production in the new Studio Performance Lab. Rouse looks at the show as more than just his creation.
"It's everybody's show now," said Rouse. "I wrote it, but my job is done. It's the director's show; it's the cast, crew, and designers' show."
Dillon has a deep passion about not only his writing and craft, but about the collaboration with other artists on the project.
"I dedicate the show to them. If not for them, the play wouldn't be on its feet. The cast makes me want to be the best writer I can be. I'm able to feed off of their energy in the rehearsal space, and the process together has been all smiles so far."
Shame on Me's life began three years ago as an assignment in a playwriting course in which the writers were tasked with eavesdropping on conversations between strangers.
"I centered mine around a discussion between two patrons where I worked at the Dueling Piano Bar in the Lubbock Depot District. From that assignment, I wrote the script. It was only a ten-page play at the time. Based off of positive feedback from my class, I decided to turn it into a full-length play."
Rouse's play is about the assumptions formed from what some may overhear about others, and is based on his own life experiences. Although the play faced its fair share of rejection, Rouse didn't give up on it.
"I worked on rewrites through the Fall of 2018 and finally got it approved by the play selection committee. I owe a lot to the play's director, Shane Strawbridge. We worked together this past summer to make the show what it is now. The script changed after every reading we had thanks to the feedback and support I've received in the school, from WildWind Performance Lab under the good direction of Jim Wren, to student, to faculty. It is an organic, growing process."
This kind of process is what attracted Rouse to Texas Tech in the first place. He came to theatre relatively late, and it was the atmosphere of the TTU playwriting program that drew him in.
"I'd only been self-taught up to that point and was ecstatic to learn more about my new love. Tech is the place for that; the playwriting program opened doors and guided me along. It's been stellar to work with artists of all kinds and learn from each other. After all, we're all in the same boat; we want to have our voices heard."
"I'm honored to have that privilege now."