As a kid growing up in Royal Oak, Michigan, James Caverly was always putting on mini-skits for his family. It’s safe to say that he hasn’t stepped out of the spotlight just yet.
Now a third year student at Gallaudet, majoring in Theatre Arts with a focus on production and performance, James is about to step into a different role: directing. With this fall’s production of Noises Off looming, James, along with another student, is beginning preparations.
It’s fortunate that James has racked up enough experience under his belt to be able to take on this role. Sinc his arrival in 2007, James has been involved with every production here at Gallaudet - Goya: en la Quinta del Sordo, Agamemnon, Fences, Urinetown, Spoon River Anthology and Charlotte’s Web. James also worked in the scene shop, helping construct sets for the performances.
Last summer, James worked at the Theatre Lab in Chinatown. He found the internship through the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and Gallaudet’s Career Center. James was supposed to take on the role of the assistant technical director. “But,” says James, “since they had no technical director... guess who was promoted?”
“ I worked on shows such as The Laramie Project, Jane Eyre, The Secret Garden and Side Show. My tasks involved constructing sets, maintaining order in the work space (which was crucial since the Theatre Lab was co-joined with a church so space was limited for working), supervising students working under me, handling purchases of lumber and hardware, and collaborating with directors. I got to experience first-hand the true working-class of a theatre company. The Theatre Lab doesn’t earn much money to support a large set, but the experience that the young thespians receive is rewarding so it kept me working hard to give them the experience they deserve.”
That internship last summer led to the opportunity to direct here at Gallaudet. James was talking with a friend about which plays could translate well for a deaf audience here at Gallaudet, and they came across a play called Noises Off, a comedy.
To earn the right to direct the production James had to participate in the Student Director Showcase. James directed a one-act play, Philadelphia, in February. It was well received and that was all Willy Conley, the chairperson of the Theatre Department, needed. Originally slated to open next spring, Noises Off will now open this fall.
And what role will James take on after this? “I do know that I want to work in theatre,” he says. “I want to be able to acquire more skills in theatre arts...there’s a lot more that I haven’t learned and am itching to know.” A Master of Fine Arts degree is a possibility. And what’s more? James wants to help deaf theatres, of which there are only two remaining, grow and prosper.