This archived article was written by: Zak Konakis
Sitting in the old Geary Theatre for the past weeks, tirelessly working with theatre majors, has been a man foreign to the sacred campus of CEU. A man named Ron Frederickson from the University of Utah who is direct the comedy “How the Other Half Loves” by Alan Ayckbourn.
But who is this man behind the scenes with the vision to drive CEU’s young actors? I recently took the opportunity to sit and discuss such a question of “Who is Ron Frederickson?” He got his start in theatre doing his last quarter at the University of Utah. He wasn’t a major at that time, but extended his major to include theatre, thereafter.
He left to earn a master’s degree in performance studies in communication which used to be oral interpretation. While doing his master’s studies, he hung out at the theatre department and acted in the first play in the Babcock Theatre, now know as the Pioneer Theatre.
Fast forward and change the setting to Emporia State University in Kansas. He moved, taught theatre and directed plays for 27 years. Every three years he would get on stage and act with the students. That is how he grew to love theatre. He retired in 1999 after 27 years in Kansas, now he is on the faculty for the U of U theatre company.
He played Big Daddy in “Cat On The Hot Tin Roof” at Westminster in Salt Lake, he then met Corey while doing this play in Logan at the old Lyric Repertory Company.
For a time he would have said acting was the greater of the long debated question of which is better: acting or directing?
“But now directing has the appeal of being able to translate your vision onto stage and let people experience the play as you do.”
He would also like to say that he was delighted on how many students showed up for the auditions for “How the Other Half Loves” and how many talented students there were to work with. He has been impressed with the student’s commitment to the theatre’s success. He had directed this farce many years ago at Emporia. It was one of the plays that he submitted to the CEU faculty and together they decided to do “How the Other Half Loves” instead of “Over the Tavern” by Tom Dudzik, a family comedy.
Two summers ago while talking during the “Cat On a Hot Tin Roof” and seeing his bio of acting and directing, Fredrickson was asked by Ewan if he would be interested in coming to the CEU and directing for him fall semester.
Just before the audition for “How The Other Half Loves”, he finished acting in “Miasthma” by the BYU playwright Eric Samuelson at the Plan-B Theatre in Salt Lake City and next spring he is directing “Underpants”, a play adapted by Steve Martin for the U of U.
He is enjoying his time at the college and he feels supported by Todd Olsen, Grady McEvoy and Ewan. So far this play has been one of the greatest experiences for him. The play is really one of the greatest and the funniest plays that he has ever directed. To be doing this again, the actors have reminded him how funny this play really is.
Fredrickson’s favorite type of shows to direct are small-cast dramas; for instance the “Glass Menagerie” which he recently directed for the University of Utah. Finishing second of his favorite type of shows to direct are musicals (“Fiddler on the Roof”, “Guys and Dolls,” and Gilbert and Sullivan’s one-act operetta Trial By Jury).
Frederickson directed the operetta which was originally debuted March of 1875; he directed it 100 years later to the day. Frederickson has directed over 80 plays over the course of his career.
“Anyone that comes to see this play will have a hilarious good time and will walk away from it thinking, “what if I had never seen that … I would have missed out on the best play I have ever seen.” For anyone who loves theatre as entertainment, they’ll be ecstatic that they had come to see this play.”