Arts & Culture

Spring stage set for success

Senior Staff Writer
Friday, February 4, 2011

What do pandas, feminists and gender confusion have in common? They will all be featured as part of Main Stage and Production Workshop’s spring semester line-ups.

Theater groups have started preparing a new season of shows, including an unusual Shakespeare production and a student-directed four-person play to be performed in the newly constructed Perry and Marty Granoff Center for the Creative Arts.  

First up on Main Stage is “As You Like It,” directed by Nicholas Ridout, visiting professor of theatre arts and performance studies, which premieres March 3 in Stuart Theatre. It’s about a “complicated and hilarious love affair,” Ridout said, adding that the show also features “dress and gender confusion” — and a panda. “I’ve enjoyed working with them a lot,” Ridout said of the undergraduates in the play. “A lot of them are very experienced now but also have a fun energy.”

Auditions were held this week for “Talk,” written by Visiting Lecturer in Playwriting Carl Hancock Rux and directed by Professor and Head of Playwriting Erik Ehn. “Talk” premiers April 7 in Leeds Theatre.

“It’s a phenomenal play — a real Brown play that’s full of ideas and challenges history,” said Kym Moore, visiting assistant professor of theatre, speech and dance. “Carl Hancock Rux is a well-known playwright and we’re really honored to have him here and doing this play.”

Also upcoming is the “Writing is Live” festival, which begins today and continues through Feb. 13. According to the “Writing is Live” website, the festival features nine student plays.

Production Workshop has also confirmed its first two plays for the season. The first show will be “How I Learned to Drive” written by Paula Vogel and directed by Alexandra Keegan ’12. It will be performed in T.F. Green Hall Feb. 11-14.

“It’s an amazing play by Paula, who used to run a playwriting program here and even won a Pulitzer Prize,” Sam Alper ‘11.5, a PW board member, said. “It’s about a little girl’s relationship with her uncle when she was underage, but not really a child. It’s a weird, complicated play — but beautiful in an odd way.”

“Closer,” written by Patrick Marber and directed by Sean Patrick McGowan ’12, will run March 11-14. “It’s a 4-person intense drama about infidelity and betrayal,” Alper said.

Another member of the PW board, Max Posner ’11, is writing and directing “The Famished,” which will be the first play to be performed at the new creative arts building and will run March 18-21.

“It’s about people trying to negotiate life in an office,” said Alper, an actor in the play. “It’s going to feature a lot of intense scene work.”

“(Posner) is a really talented playwright,” Abby Colella ’12, PW board member and production manager for the show, said. “It’s also a new space and I’m excited to see what it will end up being.”

In the Upspace, PW’s smaller venue, there will be scattered readings throughout the semester, Alper said. Through Feb. 5, the venue is featuring “Bitches in the Upspace: A Week-Long Festival of Feminist Performance.”

“It’s feminist with a wink. It points out some interesting things,” said Colella, who is starring in the show. “It’s fun and funny and there’s food involved.”

Another upcoming event is “Week in the Space,” which changes every year and showcases performances that are different from traditional plays, such as mini-musicals, Colella said.

She added that she is also looking forward to “Stand and Unfold Yourself,” directed by Doug Eacho ’11.

“The show is described as being for a one-person audience and you have no idea what it will be or what you’re going into,” she said. It will be performed in the Upspace from Feb 21-27.

“It’s been an exciting year,” Alper said. “It’s really cool that playwrights at Brown are beginning to direct their own work. We’re seeing more student productions with a unified focus.”

With a line-up of promising student and faculty produced plays, the theatre scene on College Hill is sure to keep the Brown community entertained this semester.

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