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UW-RF Student Wins Regional Costume Award
By Michelle Nikolai
UW-RF News Bureau

Moria Clinton, a theater and art double major at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls, has won the American College Theatre Festival Region 3 Costume Design Competition for the fall 2002 University production of the comedy Scapino!

She will participate in a national competition at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C. from April 14 –20.

Scapino! is a modern adaptation of the play, "The Cheats (or Tricks) of Scapin," which is based on the traditions of the commedia del’arte, an improvisational free-form theatrical tradition that introduced popular slapstick comedy.

In her award-winning design, Clinton combined elements of 1970s fashion with commedia costumes from the 15th –17th centuries.

"In commedia, there are stock characters with signature outfits," says Clinton. "I took those character ideals and costume pieces and made them out of 1970s prints and fabrics such as vinyl and other materials."

Clinton says that winning this award will help her in future career plans as a costume designer. During the summer, she has worked as the dye assistant at the Sante Fe Opera in New Mexico. In her fourth year at UW-RF, Clinton is a costume assistant to theater Professor Robin Murray in the UW-RF costume shop.

After graduating from high school in River Falls, Clinton's career path took her from the Aveda Institute in Minneapolis for cosmetology back to her hometown in Wisconsin to pursue a degree in theater.

"I figured UW-River Falls was a supportive school to go to, because of my relationship with Robin," Clinton said. "It also enabled me to see my mom and my brother who also live in River Falls. I also appreciated that River Falls is a small school that's inexpensive, where I could take advantage of a variety of exchange programs."

Murray says this award is a first for a UW-RF student and most often is won by a graduate student from a larger university with a larger theater program. "In fact, while we were at the regional festival, there were over 1,300 college students and professors from a five-state region who potentially had never even heard of us until they saw her work," Murray said.

"Her designs caused quite a stir, and I met many students, as well as my colleagues from other universities, who were quite impressed with her work."

Murray hopes that Clinton's work will help promote the theater program at UW-RF. "Local, state and national recognition will help us to emphasize that a theater major at UW-RF has the opportunity to gain first-hand experience in a number of theatrical areas," says Murray.

"If students are willing to work ,they, too, have the opportunity to gain experience even in areas normally reserved for faculty such as designers, directors and playwrights." -30- -

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