SENIOR SPOTLIGHT: All the world’s a stage for Temanson

MINOT, N.D. – It is poetic that Mya Temanson’s childhood and undergraduate studies bookends with “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.”

“It is funny how everything comes full circle,” she said. “My first onstage exposure to Shakespeare was when I was a ballet dancer with Rinat (Rinat Mouzafarov Institute of Dance & Ballet Theater), and they did ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ one year. I was just spellbound watching all the older dancers on stage, and the beautiful glittering costumes, the fairies, everything.”

In February, she was able to take her own audience on a journey through the same play.

Eric Furuseth, Minot State associate professor of humanities, and Temanson walked Minot Symphony Orchestra patrons through the enchanting story during the orchestra’s “A Story to Tell” performances.

“We worked together to write a script that was both narration, sort of telling the story, and then also dialogue that comes from the play itself,” she said. “It was an interesting challenge to try to figure out how to summarize the play with this really wide audience between fourth and fifth graders and adults. We pulled parts of the script that were going to be the most engaging without much context and performed as two people.

“I’ve always wanted to perform Shakespeare and that was my first big opportunity, and oh, it was wonderful!”

The 2023 Fulbright Semi-Finalist will find herself in The Bard’s birthplace this fall for her master’s program after whittling down from several continuing education opportunities.

“The design of this program is a very unique kind of master’s degree, and the program itself is very unique,” she said. “You have the University of Birmingham in the city of Birmingham, England, but then with that, you have a satellite school in the town of Stratford-upon-Avon. And in that satellite school, you have this massive program for Shakespeare studies.

“I’m going to be getting a master’s in Shakespeare and creativity, specifically, and because it’s such a unique setup, I’m not just going there to do research and write a thesis — even though that is going to be the culminating project — I’m going to be doing hands on work on creative projects. I’m going to be doing workshops with the Royal Shakespeare Company, and I’m going to be working with my peers towards a final creative performance in the spring semester.”

From research and archive work to immersion in all facets of Shakespeare and theater studies in Stratford-upon-Avon, her future is a culmination of a lifetime of immersion in the arts.

The English and world languages double major and music minor has spent years on Ann Nicole Nelson Hall’s stage, including as a violinist with the Minot Symphony Orchestra beginning when she was 16 years old.

“Minot State has always been in the periphery, if not right there in front of me,” the 2018 Minot High School graduate said. “I had developed Type 1 diabetes when I was 15 and I knew I wasn’t ready to go off on my own, let alone out of state, and I just knew I would be really comfortable staying in a community that I knew well already.”

While Temanson’s original plan may not have been to attend university in her hometown, she soon found the relationships she had been craving.

“The music community was my first Minot State family, but then the English department, the world languages department, I finally had the feeling that I had found people I could connect with,” she said. “To suddenly be in classes where other people were getting excited about ‘Beowulf’ and even nerdier than I was about music theory, it has been so life changing for me.”

Temanson’s list of influential professors includes Jean-Francois Mondon, former professor of world languages; Robert Kibler, world languages and cultural studies chair and English professor; Jon Rumney, high string and music history professor; Dianna Anderson, piano assistant professor; Erik Anderson, low string and theory professor; and Sarah Aleshire, English assistant professor, important touchpoints on her journey toward graduation.

“They have all been so important to my development and to me getting to where I am today,” she said. “I’m really excited to move onto this next step because I’m going to connect with more people who are going to inspire me and get me.”

Temanson’s passions were cultivated from a young age by her mother, Marjorie.

“I remember very, very fondly, this audiobook collection of Shakespeare’s plays told in a story format that was appropriate for younger audiences,” she said. “There are just all these pieces throughout my early childhood where I was exposed to Shakespeare, this world, and the stories. I was always really captivated and have found myself continuously returning to him over the years.

“Now to have this really deep dive into this area of study, I can’t help but feel as though I’m going to be super prepared once I’m finished. The world needs art, and anything I can do to supply that will be great.”

About Minot State University
Minot State University is a public university dedicated to excellence in education, scholarship, and community engagement achieved through rigorous academic experiences, active learning environments, commitment to public service, and a vibrant campus life.

Published: 05/08/23   

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