“There are no small parts.”
It’s a well-known mantra of the theater, often repeated to emphasize the importance of all roles in any production. It is also, maintains Dr. Paulette Posluszny Merchel, a good philosophy of life—a philosophy shaped back when she was a junior at Marywood, majoring in Speech and Drama/Secondary Education. When her teacher asked students to write on their personal philosophy, Paulette had focused on the ideal of ensemble...working together...serving the company...putting others first. For 39 years of teaching in secondary and higher education, Paulette Merchel adhered to that philosophy. Theater, she thought, dramatically mirrored life.
Shakespeare said it: all the world’s a stage.
As student, performer, director, and educator, Paulette Merchel lived her personal playbill of theatrical accomplishment. After receiving her degree from Marywood, she went on to earn her M.A. in Theatre Arts from the State University of New York (SUNY) at Binghamton, pursued her M.A./Ph.D. in comparative literature at SUNY Stony Brook; then earned her Ph.D. in Mass Media and Communication from Temple University. She continued to study...through a Sabbatical project in non-profit theatre...through private study and coursework at SUNY Binghamton; Marywood; the University of Texas at Austin; and Jagiellonian University, Krakow, Poland.
Her role as an educator took her to Skidmore College, SUNY Stony Brook, and Marywood University
where she was, at first, a lecturer in public speaking while also teaching speech and dramatic arts at West Scranton High School. That role was long-running. She taught there for twenty years, before joining Marywood’s faculty as Associate Professor of Theatre and Program Director for concentrations in Theatre Arts, Musical Theatre, Arts Administration, and Secondary Education.
During her nineteen-year tenure at Marywood, she produced 26 plays; directed nearly 30—dramas,
comedies, musicals, plus eleven plays in her favorite genre: children’s theatre. In addition she served as artistic producer/director for five dance concerts and took on special projects, ranging from Speak Truth to Power, a social justice production, to a sociodrama on alcohol awareness, to a workshop in commedia dell’arte, in affiliation with Electric Theatre Company and with Lingua Si Center for Culture and Language in Orvieto, Italy. At Marywood, she served on a dozen different committees, was advisor to Marywood Players, Coordinator of Practicum, and Supervisor of the Speech program (a University requirement, so it involved every student matriculating at Marywood). Talk about directing a cast of thousands!
“Marywood has truly been my alma mater—“another mother”—in nurturing the skills, philosophy, and
values that were transferred to my students,” Paulette says. “It is an honor to be recognized for accomplishments in the creative and performing arts, but I am merely a reflection of the values to which I was generously exposed as a Marywood student.”
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