Mary Rohde Scudday ’71, MFA ’77

Play Time

By Donna Parker

Mary Rohde Scudday

Mary Rohde Scudday, who received a bachelor’s degree in speech and drama from Trinity in 1971 and received a master’s in fine arts from Trinity in 1977, is hoping her new play will soon have a life outside Dallas because she believes that every family should see her hard 2 spel dad.  This groundbreaking show just finished a limited run at the Dallas Children’s Theater and has been picked up for publication by Dramatic Publishing Company.

“I’m very pleased with the play,” says Mary.  “It’s a collaboration with Linda Daugherty, a woman I’d known in graduate school.  Our children know each other.  We’re friends and she approached me about writing this play which centers on two teenagers with learning differences, specifically dyslexia, and how that affects them and everyone close to them.”

“It was an opportunity to write a play about kids who learn differently and a wonderful summer of collaboration in Dallas.  After over a year of work, it was great to hear our play being spoken by actors for the first time.”

Mary, whose day job is as the chair of the fine arts department and theater director at TMI-The Episcopal School of Texas, carries a full teaching load in addition to directing the school’s fall play and spring musical.  She loves to paint, finding it very therapeutic and even now, often dreams of going to Taos and taking art classes for a month or so.

“Just painting every day would be heaven for me,” sighs Mary.

Perhaps one day, but this mother of two grown children, who both cope with dyslexia, spends her “spare” time going and seeing friends’ plays and traveling.

“I don’t get to do enough of it, but it is one of those things I love about theater.  When you go into the world of the play, you have to learn all about the time frame of the characters.  I become immersed in whatever decade the play takes place in and that’s a trip in and of itself!”

Mary looks back on her Trinity days as the springboard into this world of drama.

“Paul Baker, former chair of the department of speech and drama, was there during this era and there was so much going on.  He was a master at getting very original and creative work out of a lot of people. It made being a part of the theater department very exciting.

“Also, my graduate school experience in drama at the Dallas Children’s Theater was unusual in that not many schools had associations with a professional theater.  We took classes in the morning, spent afternoons doing crew work in the costume shop, scene shop,  or box office, if you were not rehearsing for a play or performing in the evenings. What an unbelievably rich experience!”

“This time period of study prepared me for the real world.  I entered grad school thinking I knew the dimensions of my work ethic and realizing afterward that I had the potential for much more creative work.”

“There are also undergrad teachers whom I remember with great respect.  Frances Swinny, department of speech and drama, was an incredible educator and a great human being.  She is truly a phenomenal lady.”

“Their passion inspired me.  If you are passionate about something and you bring that to your classroom and see the effect on your students as they show exciting and creative work, then no one can take that reward away from them…or you.”

After reading this story if you feel strongly about any Trinity alumni who the Alumni Office should profile in future AlumNet issues, please submit your suggestions.  We are looking for suggestions in these four categories:  1) recent grads, 2) grads who innovate, 3) grads in business, and 4) grads who serve the world. Feel free to nominate yourself if you fall in these categories. -- AlumNet Moderator