Tag: Stansbury Theatre

Theatre Arts Dept. presents “The Burial at Thebes”

The conflicts between individual freedom and the security of the state, as well as the limits of divine and civil law, get a theatrical examination in Lawrence University’s production of “The Burial at Thebes,” Seamus Heaney’s version of Sophocles “Antigone.”

Four performances will be staged in Stansbury Theatre Oct. 26-28 with an 8 p.m. show each night and an additional 3 p.m. matinee on Saturday, Oct. 28. Tickets, at $15 for adults, $8 for students/seniors, are available through the Lawrence Box Office, 920-832-6749.

Scene from the play "The Burial at Thebes"
Junior Ming Montgomery portrays Tiresias, a blind prophet who predicts a calamity if King Creon does not allow Antigone to properly bury her fallen brother. (Photo by Billy Liu)

The play was commissioned by Dublin’s Abbey Theatre in 2004 by Irish Nobel laureate Heaney as a response to the invasion of Iraq in 2003 and the on-going struggles to settle peace following the Good Friday Peace Accord in Northern Ireland. Though originally produced in ancient Athens, the play’s characters — Antigone, her sister Ismene, her fiance Haemon and her uncle Creon — seem as current today as they did in the 5th-century BCE.

The production uses the visual imagery of early 20th-century Calabria, Italy, which was destroyed by an earthquake in 1905, to evoke a society recovering from massive disruption, as ancient Thebes was recovering from civil war.

The central character, Antigone, the daughter of Oedipus, learns that her brothers, Eteocles and Polyneices, have killed each other after being forced into opposing sides during the Theban civil war.

Creon, the king of Thebes, grants Antigone permission to bury Eteocles, who supported the state, but not Polyneices, who fought against it. She defies Creon to provide Polyneices peaceful passage to the underworld. In retaliation of her defiance, and against his advisor’s caution that his action could anger the gods, Creon orders Antigone to be buried alive.

“At a moment in history when we are struggling profoundly to find ways to compromise with each other, the story of Sophocles’ ‘Antigone’ remains as relevant as ever it was,” says Adriana Brook, assistant professor of classics, who served as dramaturg for the production. “It reminds us of the terrible price that we might pay if we cannot or choose not to make space for the quiet and courageous voices urging us toward moderation and mutual understanding.”

Scene from the ending of the play "The Burial at Thebes"
Senior Liam McCarty-Dick, as King Creon (lower right corner) realizes the curse he has placed on himself by putting his law above the expectations of the gods. (Photo by Billy Liu)

Timothy X. Troy, Hurvis Professor of Theatre and Drama, who is directing the production, hailed Heaney’s adaptation as “a masterpiece.”

“It’s such a great joy, indeed a great good fortune, to have a version of ‘Antigone’ that preserves the general themes and core conflicts of the original, while speaking in a clear contemporary voice,” said Troy. “Only a great poet like Seamus Heaney could produce such a masterpiece as “The Burial at Thebes.”

Senior Jenny Hanrahan, Johnsburg, Ill. portrays Antigone and senior Liam McCarty-Dick, Madison, plays her uncle, the king Creon. Antigone’s sister Ismene is played by sophomore Flora Aubin, Columbia, Md., while freshman Oscar Robert Lunday Brautigam, Appleton, portrays Antigone’s fiancé Haemon.

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.”

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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.”

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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.

Pulitzer Prize-Winning Play “Street Scene” Comes to Stansbury Theatre Feb. 20-22

Four performances of Lawrence University’s production of Elmer Rice’s Pulitzer Prize-winning play “Street Scene” will be staged Feb. 20-22 in Stansbury Theatre of the Music-Drama Center.

Performances are at 8 p.m. each day with an additional 3 p.m. matinee on Saturday, Feb. 22. Tickets, at $10 for adults and $5 for students and seniors (free to LU faculty staff and students), are available through the Lawrence Box Office, 920-832-6749.

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Jenny Angeli ’15 (Anna Maurant) and Matt Johnson ’16 (Lippo Fiorentino) rehearse a scene from “Street Scene.”

Set entirely on a front stoop and surrounding street in New York City, the play follows a neighborhood through one 24-hour period in the summer of 1929. At the center of the story is the Maurrant family: Anna Maurrant, a woman struggling with infidelity; her abusive husband, Frank; and their daughter, Rose, and son, Willie. More than 30 other characters make their way into the plot, which addresses themes of despair, love and dreams among the diverse inhabitants of the neighborhood.

Director Kathy Privatt, Lawrence professor of theatre arts, says the play’s setting is critical to its action.

“Elmer Rice is absolutely giving us a slice of neighborhood life in a section of the city he describes as a ‘mean quarter,'” said Privatt. “Think of a melting pot of ethnicities all crammed in an apartment house together before the Crash.”

The close quarters heighten tension in the many complex relationships the play reveals, questioning the verbal conflict to which audiences are often exposed while watching theatre.

“The play is really a snapshot of how we communicate, and how often we don’t, even though we’re talking, talking, talking,” Privatt added.

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Isabel Hemley ’16 portrays Rose Maurant and Jacob Dalton ’17 plays her father, Frank Maurant, in the upcoming production of “Street Scene.”

In a particularly collaborative effort that underscores the symbiotic relationship between the theatre arts department and the conservatory of music, the play will be staged mere weeks prior to Lawrence’s production of Kurt Weill’s opera adaptation of “Street Scene” March 6-8.

“We thrive on collaboration,” said Privatt. “The sum really is greater than the parts and this dual production project lets us collaborate and creatively ‘feed’ each other in fabulous ways.”

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 2014 and the book “Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About College.” Individualized learning, the development of multiple interests and community engagement 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 “The Sweetest Swing in Baseball”

Four performances of Lawrence University’s production of “The Sweetest Swing in Baseball” by Rebecca Gilman will be staged Oct. 31-Nov. 2 in Stansbury Theatre of the Music-Drama Center.

Performances are at 8 p.m. each night with an additional 3 p.m. matinee on Saturday, Nov. 2. Tickets, at $10 for adults and $5 for students and seniors, are available through the Lawrence Box Office, 920-832-6749.

Sweetest-Swing-_newsblogThe play follows Dana, a struggling artist recovering in the hospital from a mental breakdown. When insurance won’t cover hospital bills for more than ten days for a mere depression diagnosis, she devises a plan to extend her stay by pretending to be Major League Baseball player Darryl Strawberry. The other patients in Dana’s ward—an attempted murderer and a good-natured recovering alcoholic—assist her in fooling the hospital staff.

Adopting Strawberry’s persona, Dana discovers similarities between the tragic slugger’s life and her own, fueling confidence in her unique artistic voice. In the play, Gilman, whom Chicago Tribune theatre critic Chris Jones deemed “one of America’s most talked-about and sought-after playwrights,” uses a comedic lens to address serious issues ranging from health care and mental illness to the intersection of art and commerce.

The play was chosen for production in part because of the way it fit into the theatre arts department’s interdisciplinary vision according to Professor Timothy X. Troy.

“We’ve been teaching Gilman’s plays in our department’s curriculum for many years, so we were eager to find a play we could do well in support of that curricular objective,” said Troy, who directs the production.

Madeline Bunke, a senior from Brookfield, portrays Dana, a role that also serves as her Senior Experience  for her theatre arts major.

“Madeline first read the play in class a couple years ago, so she grew with the character long before she even knew she had the chance to portray Dana,” said Troy. “The role is difficult and challenging. We’re lucky that Madeline brings her steely focus, her keen insight and her wide-ranging talents to the role.”

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 2014 and the book “Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About College.” Individualized learning, the development of multiple interests and community engagement are central to the Lawrence experience. Lawrence draws its 1,500 students from nearly every state and more than 50 countries.

Irish Restoration Comedy “The School for Scandal” Staged May 13-15

Irish playwright Richard Brinsley Sheridan’s comedy “The School for Scandal” comes to the  Stansbury Theatre stage in four performances by the Lawrence University Theatre Department.

The play will be performed Thursday-Saturday, May 13-15 at 8 p.m., with a 3 p.m. matinee Saturday, May 15. Tickets, at $10 for adults and $5 for seniors and students, are available through the Lawrence Box Office, 920-832-6749.

A Restoration comedy of morals and manners, “The School for Scandal” was originally produced in London in May, 1777.  Filled with disguises, misconceptions and scandals caused by constant, vivid gossip, the comedy is considered Sheridan’s defining work.

Widely popular during its original run of 65 performances over two seasons, the comedy explores the gossip-filled world of Lady Teazle and Lady Sneerwell. Young, newly-married Lady Teazle carries on an affair with Joseph Surface, just to be in fashion, while Lady Sneerwell plots with her allies to destroy the budding romance of Joseph’s brother, Charles, and Maria. The result is a comedic story of lives and relationships entwined by false accusations and misunderstandings.

Senior Caroline Mandler portrays  Lady Sneerwell and junior Alison Thompson is  Lady Teazle. Sophomores Amanda Martinez and Sasha Johnston are cross-cast as the Surface brothers, Joseph and Charles.

The production, directed by visiting theatre arts professor George Grant, a 1988 Lawrence graduate, features costume design by 2006 Lawrence graduate Katrina Schuster.

Grammy Winner Bobby McFerrin to Perform “Migrations” at Lawrence Feb. 19

Ten-time Grammy winner Bobby McFerrin joins the Lawrence University Jazz Ensemble, Studio Orchestra and Hybrid Ensemble at 8 p.m., February 19, for the sold-out U.S. premiere of “Migrations: One World, Many Musics.”

Composed by Lawrence’s own Fred Sturm, Kimberly Clark Professor of Music and director of jazz studies, “Migrations” was commissioned in 2007 by McFerrin and the NDR Big Band in Hamburg, Germany. The work is a “musical plea for world unity” that illustrates both the distinct and shared characteristics of indigenous music from 18 countries on six continents.

Collaborating with a former Lawrence student, Brian Pertl ’86, an ethnomusicologist and, at the time, the manager of Microsoft’s Media Acquisitions Group, Sturm researched more than 2,000 recordings from around the globe. Sturm transcribed, arranged, orchestrated and “recomposed” about two-dozen indigenous recordings to create the magical two-hour concert showcasing McFerrin.

“The music we selected for ‘Migrations’ is centuries old,” Sturm said. “It’s pure, innocent, beautiful and powerful. Though the character and styles are as varied as the world’s people who created this music, there is a prevalent common linkage between the selections. Bobby’s improvisations and interpretations of the material I’ve scored are intended to illustrate the musical unity of the world’s people.”

With a four-octave vocal range and a wide array of vocal techniques, McFerrin is one of the natural wonders of the world. Famous for his 1989 hit “Don’t Worry, Be Happy,” he is an ardent spokesman for music education. His collaborations with other artists such as Yo-Yo Ma, Chick Corea, and Herbie Hancock have established him as an ambassador of both the jazz and classical music worlds.

The concert will also feature Pertl, now the dean of the Lawrence University Conservatory of Music, playing the didjeridu and jaw harp, and Dane Richeson, professor of music at Lawrence, on drums and percussion.

Sturm will host a pre-concert lecture at 7 p.m. in Stansbury Theatre, Music Drama Center, 420 E. College Ave, west of Lawrence Memorial Chapel. The concert is sold out, however, the public is invited to enter a contest to win one of 10 pairs of tickets for this special performance beginning Wednesday, February 10.