Peter Welch

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Lawrence University Presents World Premiere of “When the War is Done”

APPLETON, WIS. — When Charlotte King traveled abroad to France on a study-abroad program in the fall of 2007, the Lawrence University senior theatre and French major had no idea she would come across a piece of French theatre that would become the basis of her senior project.

The result is the world premiere of the Lawrence student-produced musical “When the War is Done.” The story of German-occupied France in 1942 will be performed April 24-25 at 8 p.m. and April 25 at 3 p.m. in Lawrence’s Cloak Theatre, 420 E. College Ave. A free dress rehearsal performance will be staged Thursday, April 23 at 8 p.m. Tickets, at $10 for adults and $5 for students, are available through the Lawrence Box Office, 920-832-6749.

While working as a diction coach for French playwright Marie-Celine Lachaud, King discovered Lachaud had written a book and lyrics for a musical entitled “Quand la guerre est finie” based on the book. The story follows several French citizens as they navigate the rapidly-changing world of the Nazi occupation. Some choose to work with the Resistance while others refuse to believe the horrors of the war are actually happening.

For this premiere, author Norman Stokle wrote an English translation of Lachaud’s original script. King and junior composition major Nikko Benson translated Lachaud’s lyrics for the production, which featured new arrangements of the hauntingly beautiful original score written by London composer Nicholas Skilbeck.

Senior Peter Welch directs the production, while Benson is the musical director and 2007 Lawrence graduate Katrina Schuster designed the show’s costumes.

The production contains some adult language and several scenes of violence.

Lawrence University Theatre Arts Presents Black Comedy “The Pillowman”

APPLETON, WIS. —The award-winning dark comedy “The Pillowman,” a tale of a writer whose grisly short stories seem to be mimicked in a series of real crimes, will be performed March 5-7 at Lawrence University.

The play will be staged March 5-6 at 8 p.m. and March 7 at 3 p.m. and 8 p.m. in Cloak Theatre of Lawrence’s Music-Drama Center, 420 E. College, Appleton. Tickets, at $10 for adults and $5 for students, are available through the Lawrence Box Office, 920-832-6749. Due to explicit language, violence, blood and dark subject matter, this production is not appropriate for children or the faint of heart.

Written in 2003 by Irish playwright Martin McDonagh, “The Pillowman” follows Katurian K. Katurian, who writes bizarre and violent fictional stories. When real crimes involving several child murders eerily similar to his stories occur, Katurian is arrested. His conversations with police interrogators slowly shed light on his creative inspiration, drawn from his family’s own horrifying experiences. No answer or story is quite what it seems, however, and the lines between reality and storytelling are erased.

“The Pillowman” premiered in 2003 at the London Royal National Theatre, earning the 2004 Laurence Olivier Award for Best New Play. It made its Broadway debut at the Booth Theatre in 2005 and Chicago’s Steppenwolf Theatre the following year. It won the New York Drama Critics’ Circle Award for Best Foreign Play in 2005.

The production is the joint senior theatre project of students Alex Bunke, Cait Davis, Allie-Marie McGuire and Peter Welch.

“It’s a difficult production, with complex text and even more complex relationships,” said Welch, who is directing the show’s 15-member cast. “We’ve brought Katurian’s dark fairy tales to life with puppets and special effects and weave them into a world where reality and fantasy are one in the same. Be prepared.”