NMU alumna Korinne Griffith (‘16 BS) has crossed paths twice with playwright Kate Danley, both as a student and professional. They first met during NMU’s developmental workshop reading of Danley’s “Building Madness,” the 2016-17 Panowski Playwriting Award winner at NMU. Griffith graduated before the NMU production, which served as the play’s U.S. premiere. Little did Griffith know that as she approached her first post-graduation directing job, she would reconnect with Danley to produce “Building Madness” at a high school in Woodstock, Ill.
“Being in the room with Kate at the NMU workshop and hearing her thoughts and opinions on her script, as well as the analysis from multiple others, was immensely beneficial in my directing of the show,” said Griffith. “I was able to understand the script on a whole other level that directors almost never get to see, right down to small details like why Kate chose to purposely make one character’s name—Gwen Gladwell—a bit of a tongue twister so that the actors would have to pronounce it slowly with reverence.”
Griffith said that she began student directing in high school and continued throughout college. She took a directing class with theater professor Paul Truckey and was his teaching assistant for an acting class. She also performed in several NMU productions.
“These experiences most definitely helped me gain further confidence in my abilities to lead and teach a group of performers,” said Griffith. “I strongly believe the best thing a director can do is to take acting classes and perform in shows. Understanding what it's like to be onstage as the actor gives excellent insight into how to direct. More than anything, I credit my acting training for my directing abilities.”
Griffith said that she wanted to direct a comedy, but was having a hard time selecting one. After seeing a photo from NMU’s production of “Building Madness” on Facebook, she immediately emailed Danley asking to direct the play at Woodstock High School. Griffith said that she and Danley communicated throughout the entire rehearsal and performance process.
“Prouder than punch,” wrote Danley, who was named a best-selling author by “USA Today,” in a Facebook post promoting Griffith’s production of “Building Madness.”
Griffith majored in theater at NMU. She recently returned to the Marquette area to work as a multi-media journalist for WJMN-TV Local 3 News.