UTPA student papers gain recognition by Southwest Theatre and Film Association
Posted: 10/03/2005
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A student from The University of Texas-Pan American nabbed the top honor recently from the Southwest Theatre and Film Association (SWTFA) for a paper submitted in the association's yearly scholarly theatre history debut paper contest - the Oscar Brockett Prize in Theatre History.

Capturing the Brockett prize was Delma Maldonado, a UTPA graduate with a major in history and a minor in English, who is a full-time teacher and studying for her master's in history. Her paper, "Lesson from The Piano Lesson: Understanding the Connection between Boy Willie, the Great Migration, and Theme," which is an historical analysis of the August Wilson's Pulitzer Prize-winning play, will be published in the next issue of the SWFTA scholarly journal. Maldonado will also present her paper at SWTFA's annual conference October 26-30 in Lubbock.

Impressed by the quality of submissions entered, the six-member contest review panel also arranged for a special panel presentation at the conference of three other papers, all written by UTPA students.

UTPA students from left to right Joel Lamar Cruz, Delma Maldonado, and Mark Guerra were recently recognized by the Southwest Theatre and Film Association for scholarly papers submitted to SWTFA's yearly theatre history debut contest - the Oscar Brockett prize in Theatre History. Maldonado's paper took the top prize in the contest sponsored by the six-state academic and professional theatre organization.
Mark C. Guerra, a senior theatre major, was recognized for his paper, "One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest: From Page to Stage to Picture," describing the famed play and Oscar-winning movie's evolution from its origins. Joel Lamar Cruz, also a senior theatre major, will have an opportunity to present his paper titled "Maurine Dallas Watkins and All That Jazz," which traces the history of the play and film "Chicago" developed from its seed as a news account of a 1924 real life murder case in the Windy City. A third UTPA student, an English major, invited to present asked not to be identified and chose not to participate in the conference.

"Our upper division theatre and English majors and minors have generally high writing skills, so I was not worried about entering their work. The competition is for the Oscar Brockett Award for a debut paper, meaning that the writer must be someone who has not had a scholarly paper published previously," said Dr. Marian Monta, professor in communication, who submitted eight term papers to the contest written by students in her spring 2005 Contemporary Drama class.

Monta said SWTFA, a six-state academic and professional theatre organization, sponsors the contest for entrants that may include young faculty members, Ph.D. or master's candidates as well as undergraduate students from universities in Texas, Arizona, Louisiana, Arkansas, Oklahoma and New Mexico. The prize honors Oscar Brockett, considered to be one of the world's foremost theatre historians and holds the title of University Distinguished Teaching Professor at The University of Texas at Austin.

Winning the Brockett prize as well as having three other papers, all written by undergraduate students, be recognized among all the competitors is exemplary, Monta said, especially considering the level of competition.

"I would say our students did pretty well since the competition includes Ph.D. candidates from a six-state region and even some faculty members," she said. "We can really knock the socks off the competition when I can convince the students they have the abilities and should have the confidence to enter."

Maldonado, Guerra and Cruz will attend the three-day conference along with Monta and other staff and faculty participants. Two other UTPA students, Deidra Duron and Cecil Castle, will also attend to participate in regional acting auditions held at the conference.