David Clauson

Student Info

Graduation Year:
May 2013
Hometown:
Sterling Heights, Michigan

How did you decide on RCAH?
The summer before my senior year of high school, I carpooled to one of the Green and White days with a friend of mine. At that point, I knew that I was interested in theatre, but I hadn’t done much research about the program at Michigan State. I also knew that I wanted to pursue other interests in college—languages, history, literature, philosophy, museum studies —the list went on and on and I wasn’t sure where to begin. I ended up wandering into the RCAH information session run by Dr. Yoder, and I was blown away. New facets of the program kept coming up—a broad range of academic subjects, an emphasis on interdisciplinary arts and humanities, a respect for language and culture, and a commitment to engaging with the community—and before long I knew that the RCAH was right for me. 

The program also makes a great complement to my Theatre major.  Studying at the RCAH, I’ve gotten the opportunity to take classes on everything from world history to music to children’s literature to comics to art and architecture, all of which makes me a more informed, more rounded theatre artist.  The RCAH provides a strong academic and community base to pursue my study of theatre.

What are your academic interests?
I’m interested in just about everything!  My studies focus primarily around theatre and performance studies, specifically, dramatic theory and criticism, theatre history, directing, dramaturgy and playwriting.  I’m also interested in issues of gender and race, and how those play out in performance.  I’ve taken classes in both French and German.  Other topics that I’ve researched for RCAH courses include the decline of the Ottoman Empire, the music of the Saami people of Scandinavia, myth and archetype in Neil Gaiman’s Sandman series, English-first movements and immigration in the U.S., and Michigan’s film incentive policy.

What are your favorite aspects of the RCAH experience?
The RCAH is a real community.  As I learned my first year here, students live and learn together, and form real and lasting friendships. I catch the bus to the Old Town Blues Fest with the same people that I work with on group projects. When you go into a class, you walk in and you’re greeted by a group of friends.  There’s an incredible sense of togetherness among the students.

There’s also a really close connection between students and faculty. Classes are small and pretty informal, so your instructors get to know you and you get to know your instructors.  Faculty offices are always right down the hall from classrooms, and it’s not uncommon to walk in and see three or four office doors open, where professors are talking to students about academics, about research, about the future, or just chatting. 

Finally, the RCAH provides students with some top-notch resources.  Guest artists and lecturers, poets, activists, puppeteers—the college brings in a huge assortment of professionals and experts to work with students.  Students also have access to areas like the Language and Media Center, the RCAH Theater, the Art Studio, music practice and reading rooms.  The sheer number of facilities inside Snyder-Phillips means that the building’s always buzzing with activity.  At any time of day or night, someone’s always making something, doing something, or learning something, and I find that really exciting.

What are your hobbies and interests?
Classes and rehearsals tend to take up most of my time, but when I’m not working, I like to go to lectures, shows, and concerts at the Wharton Center and elsewhere, or walk or bike down the trails that follow the Red Cedar into Lansing. 

What are your future plans?
I hope to earn an overseas fellowship to study in the U.K., Ireland, or continental Europe for up to two years and earn a Master’s degree in theatre or performance studies.  Following that, I plan to work with either the Peace Corps or Americorps for two years, then progress to either a Master’s in Dramaturgy from an American university or begin work on a Ph.D. I hope to work as a dramaturg or literary manager professionally for a number of years (in the U.S. or abroad) and eventually teach at a university.