Theatre and Film, Johnny Carson School of


First Advisor

Bryce Allen

Date of this Version

Spring 4-29-2022


A THESIS Presented to the Faculty of The Graduate College at the University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of Requirements For the Degree of Master of Fine Arts, Major: Theatre Arts, Under the supervision of Professor Bryce Allen. LINCOLN, NEBRASKA: MAY 2022

Copyright © 2022 Joseph J. Shelly, Jr.


The Nebraska Repertory Theatre, in partnership with the Johnny Carson School of Theater, Film, and Emerging Media Arts at the University of Nebraska – Lincoln, chose to produce Dontrell, Who Kissed the Sea in March of 2021. Playwright Nathan Alan Davis completed the play in 2017. He is originally from Rockford, Illinois, and a graduate of Indiana University. Dontrell was his second produced play, premiering in June 2014 at the Source Festival in Washington, DC. Several theatres since 2014 have produced the play, and ours was the third show of the 2021-2022 season. The director was Ron Himes, the Founder and Producing Director of the St. Louis Black Repertory Company. Himes and Nebraska Repertory Theatre artistic director Andy Park agreed to mount the production on the Howell Stage, a 300-seat proscenium theater located in the Temple building on the University campus. After its performances here, it was to travel to the Samuel B. and Charles B. Edison Theatre, located in the Mallinckrodt Center in the Washington University campus. Performances in St. Louis were delayed until June of 2022, however, due to concerns with Covid-19. The Nebraska graduate faculty assigned me the role of Technical Director for the production in March of 2021. This role put me in charge of budgeting materials and labor, drafting and engineering scenery, managing personnel, maintaining safety, scheduling space times, loading scenery into the venue, communicating, and collaborating with other departments, communicating, and collaborating with St. Louis Black Rep for shipping and installation of the show in St. Louis, and upholding the conceptual design of the Scenic Designer. This thesis will focus on my process and experience as said Technical Director for the production to demonstrate that I possessed the proficiency skills required for successful completion of the above tasks.

Advisor: Bryce Allen