Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History

Interview with Alstrael "Al" Evans, December 1, 2020

Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries
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00:00:02 - Experiences as a student at New York University Tisch School of the Arts prior to COVID-19

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Partial Transcript: This is Kopana Terry and it's December 1, 2020 and I'm talking with Al Evans. And Al, tell me about your life before COVID.

Segment Synopsis: Evans finished her undergraduate education in Texas at Sam Houston State University and then in 2019 went to New York University in the Tisch School of the Arts for creative writing. She mentions going to see the musical "Oklahoma!" and getting free tickets to shows. She describes how much class and work she had. She mentions a time she went to the Metropolitan Museum of Art and had to write about specific art pieces, including a taxidermy deer. She talks about the collaborative nature of the Tisch School of the Arts.

Keywords: "Bubble Moose"; Assignments; Auditions; Classmates; Collaborative environment; Creative process; Interaction; Interactive; Libraries; Lyrics; New York University Tisch School of the Arts; Oklahoma! (Musical); Operas; Pixcell deer #24; Pixcell deer 24; Presentations; Scavenger hunts; Theatre on Film and Tape Archive (TOFT); Thesis; Thesis partners; Tickets; Writing partners

Subjects: Acting.; Art.; Authors.; Composers.; Composition (Music); Creative writing.; Drama--Technique.; Education, Higher.; Lyricists; Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York, N.Y.); Metropolitan Opera (New York, N.Y.); Music theory.; Music--Performance.; Musical theater.; New York (State); New York Public Library for the Performing Arts; New York University; New York University. School of the Arts; Plays.; Playwriting.; Popular music--Writing and publishing.; Sam Houston State University; Singing.; Songs.; Taxidermy.; Texas; Theater.; Tisch School of the Arts; Writing.

00:09:32 - ADHD, high school, and undergraduate college experiences

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Partial Transcript: Well, I want to back up just a little bit and, and learn about, uh, what it was that, uh, drew you to, to the Tisch School.

Segment Synopsis: Evans discusses how she came to the Tisch School of the Arts and play writing in general. She begins by discussing her history of ADHD and over-medication. She went to community college and worked after high school. She continues by discussing her undergraduate college life, including her honors thesis of writing and producing a musical. She ended up having to step in and play the lead at the last moment. She describes her acting major, including a class on how to keep a job in theater. She discusses in depth her essay for that class on the Eugene O'Neill Theater Center, which led her to apply to Tisch School of the Arts. She discusses how she took her quizzes for a costume history class.

Keywords: Acting majors; Amphetamine/dextroamphetamine; Atomoxetine; Attention-deficit disorder (ADD); Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD); Auditions; Casting; Classes; Community colleges; Composing; Essays; Grades; High schools; Honors colleges; Jobs; Medication; Music theory; New York University Tisch School of the Arts; Playwrights; Slam poetry; Strattera; Thesis; Tuition

Subjects: Acting.; Actors with disabilities; Art.; Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder.; Authors with disabilities; Authors.; Blocking (Theater); Composers.; Composition (Music); Creative writing.; Drama--Technique.; Education, Higher.; Eugene O'Neill Theater Center; Lyricists; Music theory.; Music--Performance.; Musical theater.; New York (State); New York University; New York University. School of the Arts; People with disabilities in higher education; People with disabilities.; Plays.; Playwriting.; Poetry.; Popular music--Writing and publishing.; Sam Houston State University; Singing.; Songs.; Students with disabilities.; Texas; Theater rehearsals.; Theater.; Tisch School of the Arts; Writing.

00:20:02 - Initial COVID-19 shutdown in March 2020

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Partial Transcript: So, um, so you're at Tisch and it's, it's the, uh, first of March of 2020 and two weeks later, um, the, the universe as we know it, uh, closes down. What, what was--what did your teachers tell you and what did you personally think was gonna happen?

Segment Synopsis: Evans says she had more information than others about the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the school because her department head was part of the Tisch board. She describes how they were told about how the school was going to change. She discusses her parents arriving for spring break and how many of their plans were cancelled. She describes her job working for the Moses Center for Student Accessibility at NYU and how it shut down when the school did. She talks about going back home to Texas.

Keywords: Actors; Beetlejuice (Musical); Broadway; Broadway (New York, N.Y.); Classes; Contracts; Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19); Exam proctors; Jobs; Lockdowns; Moses Center for Student Accessibility (NYU); Notice; Online education; Online learning; Online school; Optional classes; Presentations; Rehearsals; Remote classes; Remote learning; Rent; Shutdowns; Summers; Teachers; Teaching; Test proctors; Unions; Zoom (Video teleconferencing software)

Subjects: Acting.; Actors with disabilities; Art.; Authors with disabilities; Authors.; Blocking (Theater); COVID-19 (Disease); COVID-19 Pandemic, 2020-; Composers.; Composition (Music); Creative writing.; Drama--Technique.; Education, Higher.; Epidemics.; Lyricists; Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York, N.Y.); Music theory.; Music--Performance.; Musical theater.; New Rochelle (N.Y.); New York (State); New York University; New York University. School of the Arts; Pandemics and COVID-19; People with disabilities in higher education; People with disabilities.; Plays.; Playwriting.; Poetry.; Popular music--Writing and publishing.; Singing.; Songs.; Students with disabilities.; Texas; Theater rehearsals.; Theater.; Tisch School of the Arts; Writing.

00:26:32 - Changes at the Tisch School of the Arts due to COVID-19

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Partial Transcript: Right, so, um, so you got through the summer and they obviously reopened the school for in-person learning, uh, when the fall semester began and you went back to New York.

Segment Synopsis: In the fall, Evans returned to New York. Although the rest of the New York University Tisch School of the Arts is conducting in-person classes, Evans' program remains online at the time of this interview. She mentions that staying inside wasn't a problem for her. She describes how the program requirements changed and describes some plays, film scripts, video games, and podcasts that were written by her classmates because of the increased creative freedom they were afforded.

Keywords: Actors; Animated films; Broadway; Broadway (New York, N.Y.); Cast sizes; Classes; Control; Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19); Creativity; Exploration; Home; Isolation; Limitations; Lockdowns; Memory Show (Play); Online education; Online learning; Online school; Podcasts; Presentations; Pressure; Rehearsals; Remote classes; Remote learning; Requirements; Restrictions; Shutdowns; Stage treatments; Teachers; Teaching; Video games; Zoom (Video teleconferencing software)

Subjects: Acting.; Art.; Authors.; COVID-19 (Disease); COVID-19 Pandemic, 2020-; Composers.; Composition (Music); Creative writing.; Drama--Technique.; Education, Higher.; Epidemics.; Music--Performance.; Musical theater.; New York (State); New York University; New York University. School of the Arts; Pandemics and COVID-19; Plays.; Playwriting.; Popular music--Writing and publishing.; Theater.; Tisch School of the Arts; Writing.

00:31:33 - Working virtually with collaborators

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Partial Transcript: So I wanted to ask you about the process of, uh, working with your collaborator now that you can't be in the same place.

Segment Synopsis: Evans mentions she doesn't know how first year students are handling the changes. She discusses how she and her collaborators are doing okay because they had a year to bond before the changes. Everything they have been doing has been on Google Docs and they have a Facebook Messenger chat and a GroupMe. All of their classes are on Zoom. She talks about how the group members were chosen.

Keywords: Cameras; Classmates; Collaboration; Collaborators; College students; First year students; First years; GroupMe; Groups; In-person; Meetings; Online education; Online learning; Online school; Relationships; Remote classes; Remote learning; Shared documents; Talking; Theses; Thesis partners; Weekends; Year one students; Zoom (Video teleconferencing software)

Subjects: Art.; Authors.; COVID-19 (Disease); COVID-19 Pandemic, 2020-; Composers.; Composition (Music); Creative writing.; Drama--Technique.; Education, Higher.; Epidemics.; Facebook (Electronic resource); Google Docs; Lyricists; Music--Performance.; Musical theater.; Musicals.; New York (State); New York University; New York University. School of the Arts; Pandemics and COVID-19; Plays.; Playwriting.; Popular music--Writing and publishing.; Singing.; Songs.; Theater.; Tisch School of the Arts; Writing.

00:35:11 - Future of theater after the COVID-19 pandemic

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Partial Transcript: So, um, what--tell me--I want to talk about the future, uh, a little bit.

Segment Synopsis: Evans says that her short term future is graduating, moving back to Texas, and possibly teaching. She talks about what she thinks will happen with Broadway shows in the future. She thinks the future involves a lot of remote work and doesn't require her to be in New York. She thinks the musical movie will be revived and the popularity of musical television will increase. She talks about how access to theater is increasing because it is branching out into television, podcasts, and the internet due to the pandemic. She describes how there weren't any roles for her, so she decided to write roles similar to her experiences, and discusses the importance of representation in the arts.

Keywords: Actors; Audiences; Broadway; Broadway (New York, N.Y.); Classes; Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19); Dear Evan Hansen (Musical); Expectations; Galavant (Television program); Jobs; Lockdowns; Mental health; Online education; Online learning; Online school; Remote classes; Remote learning; Representation; Revivals; Shutdowns; Success; Teachers; Teaching; The Greatest Showman (Motion picture); Uncertainty; Vaccinations; Vaccines; Zoom (Video teleconferencing software)

Subjects: Acting.; Actors with disabilities; Art.; Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder.; Authors with disabilities; Authors.; Autism spectrum disorders.; Autism.; Autistic people in the performing arts.; COVID-19 (Disease); COVID-19 Pandemic, 2020-; Composers.; Composition (Music); Crazy ex-girlfriend (Television program); Creative writing.; Drama--Technique.; Education, Higher.; Epidemics.; Lyricists; Mental illness.; Minority authors; Music theory.; Music--Performance.; Musical theater.; Musicals.; New York (State); New York University; New York University. School of the Arts; Pandemics and COVID-19; People with disabilities in higher education; People with disabilities.; People with social disabilities.; Platt, Ben; Plays.; Playwriting.; Podcasts.; Popular music--Writing and publishing.; Singing.; Social phobia.; Songs.; Students with disabilities.; Theater.; Tisch School of the Arts; Viral vaccines; Writing.

00:43:07 - Feelings about the pandemic

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Partial Transcript: Uh, do your--do you get a general sense from your classmates that they're as positive about this as you are?

Segment Synopsis: Evans discusses her perception of her classmates' experiences with the pandemic. She discusses her thoughts about graduation and her overall thoughts about the year.

Keywords: Adaptable; Adaptations; Adaptive; Adjustments; Broadway; Broadway (New York, N.Y.); Capable; Classes; Classmates; Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19); Expectations; Graduation; Lockdowns; Names; Online education; Online learning; Online school; Opera houses; Optimism; Remote classes; Remote learning; Shutdowns; Success; Survival; Uncertainty; Vaccinations; Vaccines; Zoom (Video teleconferencing software)

Subjects: Art.; Authors.; COVID-19 (Disease); COVID-19 Pandemic, 2020-; Creative writing.; Education, Higher.; Epidemics.; Musical theater.; Musicals.; New York (State); New York University; New York University. School of the Arts; Pandemics and COVID-19; Plays.; Playwriting.; Theater.; Tisch School of the Arts; Viral vaccines; Writing.