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Student Spotlight July 2012

Jocelyn Matsuo 


Jocelyn Matsuo received a B.A. in Social Media Semiotics from Pitzer College, Claremont, CA, in 2006. She then moved to London where she completed the postgrad course of study at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art. She trained with Thomas Leabhart in Decroux Technique (Abstract Mime). Currently, Jocelyn is starting her third and final year as an M.F.A in Performance candidate in the Theatre Department at UofL. 



Specific areas of research (how you chose this research, why it interested you):
I am specifically interested in comedy and also in theatre that is socially relevant. I believe that theatre can actually benefit people. Making people laugh is a valuable commodity, especially when life is hard enough. I used to think that I just wanted to affect people. That’s not true; I want to make people happy.

Awards, honors, publications:
I was awarded a residency at the Robert Wilson’s Watermill Center. Also, I premiered a piece at the Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions (L.A.C.E.) and won the Virginia Princehouse Allen Award for performance from Pomona College. Recently, at UofL, I was awarded a certificate from SIGS for participating in the Graduate Student Peer Mentoring Program.

Long term goals/ aspirations:
I would love to get a MacArthur Genius Grant. I would also like to see my theatre company, The Poorhouse Theatre Co., do corporate projects as well as more/bigger commercial projects. I would also like to work with Cirque Du Soleil.

How do you think this advanced degree will change your role in society?
I will be able to teach at the collegiate level. Also, I have been able to pick up a Kentucky accent, which makes people more comfortable around me.

What accomplishment, academic or otherwise, are you most proud of?
I am most proud of Wrong With Me, a play I wrote for an outreach event about mental illness at UofL. The play had some really taboo subject matters, and I caught a little heat from that which was worth it. However, the whole team of people handled the information and the whole event very aptly. I also feel like I did some very insightful people-management during the project.

What made you go into this field of study?
I love groups of people interacting. Theatre is just a way of crafting a conversation. Your audience is with you, in the room breathing the same air, and also having their own experience of whatever you are presenting. I am very interested in how people perceive and then formulate what they think about their theatrical experience.

What was your favorite part of the graduate school experience?
My fellow graduate students.

Family life:
I am currently thousands of miles away from my husband who lives in Los Angeles. I live with my mother-in-law, Susan. We have a bit of a situation comedy lifestyle. However, we have a great time, and I am eternally indebted to Susan for her kindness and generosity.


Fun Facts

A talent you have always wanted: A longer attention span
Favorite book: Freakonomics, by Steven Levitt & Stephen Dubner
Favorite play: Vigils, by Noah Haidle

Favorite quote: “Ain’t nobody got time fo’ dat”
Role Model: Tina Fey
Pet Peeve: Things waking me up
If you weren’t in graduate school, what would you be doing now? Competing on The Amazing Race with my husband Ben.
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