Professional actress and adjunct professor explores Stephen Schwartz musical
by Logan Beck
Amina Robinson spent years at Temple, earning both her BA in Theater and MFA in Acting. Little did she know, years later she would eventually take what she learned from Temple’s program back to direct a musical at her alma mater.
Robinson began her theater career while an undergraduate at Temple, ironically “by accident.” She remembers when she was first bit by the “acting bug,” while she was acting in a student project of the play Talking With.
“It was a comedy and my very first play,” Robinson said. “ I remember being more nervous than I had ever been in my life. I stepped onstage and began. Within the first five seconds people were laughing. My entire body felt like I had somehow been transported to another plane of existence. A place where anything was possible and I was free to be and do whatever I felt. I still feel that each time I perform.”
Now, Robinson is doing what she’s always wanted to do: teaching and directing the musical Godspell at Temple.
“One of the many things I discovered about myself in undergrad was that I loved teaching,” Robinson said. “To be back at Temple directing Godspell feels very ‘full circle.’”
Above all, Robinson is looking forward to working with the cast, and getting to know them through the rehearsal process, by observing how they learn, create and explore.
She describes her directing style as “free-spirited and exploratory,” and believes there is no set, predetermined way for a work to be performed. Instead, she believes in allowing her actors to go on a journey and discover their truths organically, to explore all possibilities.
“While I come in with my ideas in mind based on my research and personal aesthetics, I am committed to allowing the creative process to take over,” Robinson said. "I focus a lot of work in rehearsals on allowing each artist to find things through a process of exploring and exercising their own uniqueness.”
As for Godspell, Robinson appreciates that the text takes the best of the Christian teachings to promote acceptance and love as well as community, as she believes that each individual has the power to make the world a better place.
“That is one of the things that moves me when working on it,” Robinson said. “The song 'Beautiful City' in act two sort of says the most to me in this regard.”
Robinson’s ultimate goal as a director and educator, is to help her actors cultivate a genuine connection.
“I tend to be pretty insistent that my actors 'live' onstage,” Robinson said. ”If we are not making genuine connections in live performance, what is the point.”
Temple Theaters will present Godspell April 13-24, tickets are available online and in the box office.