Unconventional thesis features one-woman show
By Clare Slipiec and Allen M. Quinn
Former New York City actress Angela Lundin, who is now a school teacher in Coquitlam, will convocate this month after completing an unconventional one-woman show for her MA thesis in the Faculty of Education.
Lundin, who spent much of her 20s living and working as an actress in New York City, later married and moved to Coquitlam, where she continued her acting career. At the age of 44, she switched careers, becoming a school teacher after graduating from SFU’s teacher-training program, PDP.
Over time, however, she began to feel she was losing her artistic identity. She felt a separation in her roles as artist, mother and teacher, finding it difficult to assimilate them all.
During her studies for the Master of Arts in Education program she began exploring the topic of identity. With encouragement from her supervisors Lynn Fels and Celeste Snowber, she used arts-based research in performative, autobiographical and embodied inquiry as the framework for writing, producing and performing a one-woman play as her thesis. She says it was the perfect opportunity to blend her research, experience and passion for performing.
After a 15-year hiatus from the stage, Lundin presented her thesis, “Finding Wonderland,” at the Evergreen Cultural Centre this spring in front of a sold-out crowd of friends, family and supporters.
In the play, the Angie Lundin of today—mother and school teacher—meets and reconnects with her younger self Angela, actress and performer in New York City. She re-enacts some of her life stories to explore the themes of identity, time and change.
Lundin says developing her own play was a transformative experience that helped her reclaim the artistic aspect of her identity. She also learned that she can be a mother, artist and a teacher without sacrificing one for the other.
"It is possible to embrace all of your identities,” says Lundin. “You Just need to find that balance. You don't have to sacrifice one for the other."
Lundin enrolled in the MA degree program to learn how to better reach all students in her role as a music teacher, where she found herself teaching more than 500 students each week with diverse learning needs. Through the process of writing and performing her thesis show, she learned that teaching, like acting, is a performative act of giving. Instead of giving on the stage, she now gives in her classroom every day.