Shirley Marneus has been with TACIT since the beginning. Actually, she has been here since before the beginning. Says Shirley, "I began doing theater with the students in 1974, about 10 years before the program was officially started. The students learned that I had a degree in directing, that I had been at the studios, and that I had left NBC, and asked me to help." Shirley believes the overall mission of TACIT is one of education. According to her, "Theater has a didactic purpose as well as an entertainment purpose and part of that is to familiarize people with essentially 3,000 years of theatrical literature."
Her choice of repertoire for TACIT reflects this core belief. In the past three seasons, performances have ranged from ancient Greek drama (The Trojan Women) to Shakespeare (Richard III, The Merchant of Venice, Othello) to 20th Century philosophical explorations of Reality and Illusion (Six Characters in Search of an Author). When asked what she hopes to accomplish with TACIT, Shirley is quick to answer, "I want them to have something that when they leave they can do the rest of their lives." She points out numerous alumni who have gone on to professional entertainment careers, despite the science and engineering focus of Caltech.