Tag: play

Lawrence theatre arts dept. presents “Love and Information”

The myriad of ways people long for, share and interpret today’s constant bombardment of data and information gets a rapid-fire treatment in Lawrence University’s production of award-winning British playwright Caryl Churchill’s “Love and Information.”

A scene from the play "Love and Information"
Hotel housekeeper Erin McCammond-Watts (left) convinces fellow housekeeper Caro Granner to share a secret about something she did in that room. Photo by Billy Liu.

Four performances will be staged in Stansbury Theater May 10-12 with an 8 p.m. show each night and an additional 3 p.m. matinee on Saturday, May 3. Tickets, at $15 for adults, $8 for students/seniors, are available through the Lawrence Box Office, 920-832-6749.

Written in 2012, the “play” is actually a series of more than 60 thought-provoking scenes and vignettes, some of which are less than a minute long, featuring 17 actors portraying a dizzying array of questioning, frustrated characters. Each explores how we communicate with the people we love, covering the spectrum of human emotions, from comic to tragic.

Known for her minimalist style, Churchill provides dialogue, divided into small, titled scenes that are further grouped into sections, but without location, character names or character relationships. Churchill puts the onus of the details on the production team.

“I told the cast Caryl Churchill looked at life and distilled it down to the equivalent of a stick figure drawing,’” said Kathy Privatt, James G. and Ethel M. Barber Professor of Theatre and Drama and associate professor of theatre arts, who is directing the production. “Our job as a production team is to create fully-fleshed people in situations, all the while knowing that as specific as we are, each audience member may see or hear something different because ‘information’ just isn’t that concrete.

A scene from the play "Love and Information"
After learning back-yard gardener Xi (Zoey) Lin (left) had phoned in an anonymous tip to the police, family member Dana Cordry is convinced they’ll have to move or hide.

According to Privatt, the play invites the audience to be part of the production by bringing themselves, their experiences and their perceptions to see what they see.

“We’re actively making meaning and asking the audience to do the same – just like we do every day in our lives,” said Privatt. “And just maybe, we’ll recognize ourselves, or remember a time, or understand an encounter a little differently after we share this time in the theatre together.”

Privatt noted that since the play was selected for performance last spring, world events have refocused our national attention on information.

“I assume our audiences may bring some of those perspectives to the performance,” said Privatt.

About Lawrence University
Founded in 1847, Lawrence University uniquely integrates a college of liberal arts and sciences with a nationally recognized conservatory of music, both devoted exclusively to undergraduate education. It was selected for inclusion in the book “Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About College.”  Engaged learning, the development of multiple interests and community outreach are central to the Lawrence experience. Lawrence draws its 1,500 students from nearly every state and more than 50 countries.

 

Lawrence Theatre Arts department presents David Ives’ “The Liar”

The consequences of the lies we tell are unraveled in Lawrence University Theatre Arts department’s production of David Ives’ comedy “The Liar.”

The-Liar_newsblog#2
Junior Maddie Scanlan (left) plays Clarice, the already-married love interest of a young lawyer, while Junior Isabel Hemley (left) portrays Lucrece, her best friend, in four performances of “The Liar.” PHOTO: Ken Cobb

Four performances of “The Liar” will be staged in Stansbury Theater May 12-14 with an 8 p.m. show each night and an additional 3 p.m. matinee on Saturday, May 14. Tickets, at $15 for adults, $8 for students/seniors, are available through the Lawrence Box Office, 920-832-6749.

Popular French Renaissance playwright Pierre Corneille wrote this comedy in 1643 in the midst of a more tragic series of plays. Described as “a series of breathtakingly intricate lies,” the story centers around Dorante, a young lawyer who comes to the big city in search of romance. He meets Clarice and immediately falls for her, unaware that she is already secretly engaged to his friend Alcippe. In his efforts to woo her, he invents a tale of his amazing military feats, unleashing a web of falsehood that ensnares all of the characters, sparking mishaps, mistaken identities and lie upon lie.

The production is based on Ives’ “translaptation” from 17th-century French to English of Corneille’s original play. Ives considered “The Liar” “one of the world’s great comedies.”

“I felt as if some lost Shakespeare festival comedy on the order of ‘Twelfth Night’ or ‘Much Ado About Nothing’ had been found,” Ives has said.

As a social satire, Ives liked the way the play’s lies are woven into the fabric of things, revealing how lies can feed love and actually create happiness.

He preserved the rhyming in the play’s original verse, but introduced changes that intersect with current audiences in the same way audiences identified with the original.

“We’ve taken that a step further and are using haute couture and installation art to look at ways that history is reflected in today’s visual aesthetics,” said director Kathy Privatt, James G. and Ethel M. Barber Professor of Theatre and Drama and associate professor of theatre arts. “There will be some ‘visual lies’ to go with the lies in the story, such as a wig that isn’t made of hair.”

Kathy-Privatt_newsblog_5-16
Kathy Privatt directs “The Liar.”

Somewhat serendipitously, the timing of the production, according to Privatt, turned out perfectly.

“After choosing the play, I opened the local newspaper to a story about an organization that gives an award for best lie of the year,” said Privatt. “Then the political debate season rolled around and the various fact-checking websites lit up. Suddenly, a piece that lets us examine ways we lie to each other and ourselves seems very appropriate.”

Freshman Marco Mazzetta from Wheeling, Ill. plays Dorante, while Maddie Scanlan, a junior from St. Paul, Minn., portrays Clarice. Senior Matt Johnson from Elmhurst, Ill., plays Geronte, Dorante’s father and Zoey Lin, a junior from Nanjing, China, portrays Cliton, Dorante’s servant.

Junior Isabel Hemley from Grafton and Madison junior Tony Harth portray Clarice’s friend Lucrece and her fiancé Alcippe, respectively. Junior Lauren Abdulm from New York City, plays Isabelle and Sabine, maids to Clarice and Lucrece. Sophomore Rory Coleman from St. Paul, Minn., plays Philiste, Alcippe’s best friend.

About Lawrence University
Founded in 1847, Lawrence University uniquely integrates a college of liberal arts and sciences with a nationally recognized conservatory of music, both devoted exclusively to undergraduate education. It was selected for inclusion in the book “Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About College” and Fiske’s Guide to Colleges 2016. Engaged learning, the development of multiple interests and community outreach are central to the Lawrence experience. Lawrence draws its 1,500 students from nearly every state and more than 50 countries.

Theatre Arts Department Presents Lanford Wilson’s Pulitzer Prize-winning “The Rimers of Eldritch”

The question of truth versus appearance is explored in the Lawrence University theatre arts production of Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Lanford Wilson’s “The Rimers of Eldritch.”

Rimers_newsblog#2
Courtroom testimony during a murder trial pits residents of Eldritch against each other. (Photo by Nathan B. Lawrence)

Four performances in Stansbury Theatre are scheduled May 14-16 with an 8 p.m. show each night and an additional 3 p.m. matinee on Saturday, May 16. Tickets, at $15 for adults, $8 for students/seniors, are available through the Lawrence Box Office, 920-832-6749.

An off-Broadway hit that won the Drama Desk Vernon Rice Award, this poetic, haunting 1966 drama chronicles a month in fictional Eldritch, Mo., a one-time prosperous mining town gone to seed by the mid-20th century, when the play is set.

When the town hermit, Skelly Mannor (played by sophomore Jacob Dalton), is murdered by Nelly Windrod (played by freshman Jenny Hanrahan) in uncertain circumstances, the townspeople must ask themselves how such a crime could be committed in their midst. The subsequent trial, presided over by the Judge/Preacher (played by sophomore Kip Hathaway), peels back the layers of Eldritch to reveal an intolerance and religious hypocrisy the townspeople never wanted to see.

Director Kathy Privatt said the play was chosen for production in part because of the unusual way Wilson tells the story.

“The events of the story are offered in a collage format, not linearly,” said Privatt, associate professor of theatre arts and James G. and Ethel M. Barberr Professor of Theatre and Drama. “This technique offers interesting juxtapositions of scenes happening back-to-back or on top of each other, even though they aren’t that way in time.”

Rimers_newsblog#3
Kip Hathaway as the Preacher delivers a sermon that puts responsibility for a murder on the entire town of Eldritch. (Photo by Nathan B. Lawrence)

In a review, the New York Times praised the way Wilson “used the art of counterpoint to illuminate the people of Eldritch, a town that is itself an entrapment.”

What the Village Voice once called the “exactness and inner logic” of Wilson’s dialogue are also on display in the play, which is as humane as it is incisive.

Privatt cites an interview Wilson gave when the play was first staged as evidence of this fact.

“At one point, the interviewer asked why Wilson wrote about such losers. Wilson got a shocked look on his face and admitted that he’d never thought of them as losers, but as survivors doing whatever they had to, to survive. He admitted that they might be ‘in deep yogurt,’ but fundamentally, they were just humans who wanted to survive,” said Privatt.

The play’s mix of criticism and compassion is reflected by its title. “Rime” refers to hoar frost, a coating of white crystals that is both beautiful and harsh.

About Lawrence University
Founded in 1847, Lawrence University uniquely integrates a college of liberal arts and sciences with a nationally recognized conservatory of music, both devoted exclusively to undergraduate education. It was selected for inclusion in the Fiske Guide to Colleges 2015 and the book “Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About College.” Engaged learning, the development of multiple interests and community outreach are central to the Lawrence experience. Lawrence draws its 1,500 students from nearly every state and more than 50 countries.