Your School. Your Paper. Since 1936.

The Suffolk Journal

Your School. Your Paper. Since 1936.

The Suffolk Journal

Your School. Your Paper. Since 1936.

The Suffolk Journal

Wesley Savick: Theatre professor speaks on his experience working at Suffolk and beyond

Courtesy of Michael J. Clarke

The first thing you notice when stepping into Wesley Savick’s office are the eccentric objects adorning the room including several puppets, theatre posters, stacks of books and many unique tchotchkes.

The Suffolk University theatre professor enthusiastically discussed his love of puppets and recalled how rewarding it has been working in theatre at Suffolk and around the world for the last 20 years.

Savick has had an impressive career at Suffolk and is always thinking about his next production. He has either written, co-written or adapted 26 plays at Suffolk including “Pilgrims of the Night,” his first show at Suffolk, a musical comedy based on the divided 2016 election, “one state, two state / red state, blue state,” and a musical inspired by the NPR show “Car Talk.”

“Sometimes I feel like my life is kind of defined by the plays that I’m working on,” said Savick. “These things are like miniature lifetimes.”

The theatre professor has been fortunate at Suffolk, but acknowledges the multitudes of hard work that can go into preparing productions.

“There’s a sense of absolute despair and failure that goes along with every single project,” Savick said about his work. “At the end things come together and it all works out very nicely.”

Savick even joked that when he was first hired at Suffolk he went out to buy a foldable chair because he knew he would have to sleep in his office after rehearsals since he used to commute from Cape Cod.

Savick’s experience in theatre has even encouraged him to pursue opportunities in other countries. Before teaching at Suffolk, he received the prestigious Bunka-cho grant from the Japanese Ministry of Culture to study traditional Japanese theatre and music in Tokyo, where Savick spent two years. He even wrote and directed a play in Japanese, a language he knows very little of.

“That was very life changing, everything that I thought I understood about theatre was out the window,” he said about his time in Tokyo.

Savick is very interested in puppets and grew to love their many possibilities during a production he worked on years ago. He finds puppets bizarre, but also interesting and expressive and decorates his Sawyer twelfth floor office with these movable objects.

The professor is also a big fan of unusual and experimental plays instead of more traditional productions. He said how Suffolk students are always motivated and willing to step up to the challenge of embracing the unknown.

“When Suffolk students are acting in plays, I always feel like they bring a kind of insight and wisdom to their work that I don’t always find in other schools,” said Savick.

Savick stressed the importance of how fun it is to step outside your comfort zone and to be curious and confident. He said it’s difficult to teach curiosity and confidence, but as a teacher it is possible to encourage it so that they can perform well.

“It’s the most important thing that you can possibly try to provide for your students,” said Savick. “It’s a tricky problem for a teacher.”

Savick prizes his relationship with students and has kept in touch with many throughout his years at Suffolk– he even invited some to his wedding. Many of his students have gone off and achieved success in theatre, design and business.

“Working with Wes was one of the most insightful theatre experiences I’ve ever had,” said Grayson Collins, a sophomore theatre major who worked with Savick in the 2019 production of “The Seven Deadly Sins.” “He’s understanding of actors and knows how to get them to think about their characters and perform in ways they never have before.”

Savick credits his students for always being involved in his shows. His productions at Suffolk have never dipped below 25 cast members and his largest cast consisted of 52 members.

The director always aims to give his students meaningful experiences and provide many opportunities for them to perform. He admitted he feels bad when he can’t take every student who auditions due to a varying production size, but he tries to keep track of each student so he can give them time to shine.

“Having a huge cast at Suffolk has been something that is very important to me because I feel like it’s important for students to get as many opportunities to learn by doing,” said Savick.

Savick may have 20 years of teaching under his belt at Suffolk, but he is just getting started. He recently started a new theatre company at Suffolk called “Juvenilia,” where he aims to transition recent Suffolk grads into professional Boston theatre.

Under his new theatre company, Savick directed the grotesque and absurd “Ubu Roar” in fall 2019, which is adapted from a 19th century play called “King Ubu.”

He also hopes to do a revival of his 2018 uplifting and heartbreaking, musical comedy, “one state, two state / red state, blue state” to reflect the ongoing political division and chaos of the upcoming 2020 election.

“I base my productions on what it feels like is going on in the world,” said Savick. “Suffolk students should feel like there’s a connection between the plays that we do and the world that we’re living in.”

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About the Contributor
Sarah Lukowski, Arts & Culture Editor | she/her
Sarah Lukowski is a senior journalism and public relations major from Middlebury, Connecticut. Sarah joined The Suffolk Journal in fall 2018 as a Staff Writer and is now the Arts & Culture Editor. When she's not typing away at her computer, you can find her proclaiming her love for Taylor Swift, reading the latest young adult novel, or watching classic horror movies. Follow Sarah on Twitter @thesarahdipity Email her at [email protected]

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Wesley Savick: Theatre professor speaks on his experience working at Suffolk and beyond