Arts & Culture

Spring theater leaves Bard behind

Senior Staff Writer
Friday, January 27, 2012

With uncertainty and tumult beyond the Van Wickle Gates, students can take solace in Brown’s thriving and healthy theater world this semester. This spring’s thespian offerings include student-written theater, as well as a drama by two of Shakespeare’s contemporaries. 

“We Can Rebuild Him,” written by Deepali Gupta ’12, is a new musical that will take the stage in early March. The play is a collaboration between two student theater organizations, the Brownbrokers and Sock and Buskin.

The musical’s plot centers around a family in which “the oldest son has been killed and dissected, but his heart is still beating,” Gupta said.

She explained she was interested in a family’s attempt to fix something instead of moving forward. It’s a play about denial, she said.

“It seems to take place in this suspended reality,” said director Talya Klein GS. “It’s got this beautiful balance between comedy and darkness.”

The play features a small cast, with three different actors playing the role of the dismembered son.

Production Workshop is staging a new play called “Trigger Hand” by Sam Barasch ’12. Set in a supervised injection site — a type of facility that, in certain countries, provides controlled doses of illicit drugs to addicts — in Vancouver, Barasch’s play tackles questions of addiction and dependency in all forms — including addiction to work.  

In the play, Barasch explores the idea that the prevailing model of addiction as a disease is the wrong way to approach the problem.

Barasch conceived of this project in a research-based theater class, he said.  

The play was brought to the attention of PW when Barasch introduced it to Leandro Zaneti ’12, the play’s director. Because he trusts Zaneti’s vision, Barasch does not attend rehearsals, he said.

“Trigger Hand” will be staged in the PW Downspace in February. The student-run theater company will also stage “Guests,” which the PW website calls a “devised movement piece,” in March.

In another corner of Brown’s theater world, 17th-century English drama reigns in a production by Shakespeare on the Green. Contradicting its own moniker, Shakespeare on the Green brings us a play that is neither Shakespeare nor being staged on the green. William Barnet ’12 will direct “Roaring Girl,” by Thomas Dekker and Thomas Middleton, in a Perry and Marty Granoff Center for the Creative Arts studio in late February.

The play  is about feminism, gender dynamics and class tensions, Barnet said, adding that it is “very rarely produced.” He discovered the play in a class dedicated to placing Shakespeare in the context of his contemporary playwrights.

“Shakespeare is not on some magical pedestal that he created for himself,” said Barnet, explaining that the Bard borrowed and learned from contemporaries such as Dekker and Middleton. 

The play offers an equal balance between silly fun and serious discussion, he said.  

Elsewhere in the theater world, Sock and Buskin is staging “A Perfect Wedding” by Chuck Mee in April. The Writing Is Live playwriting festival, put on by the Department of Theatre Arts and Performance Studies, begins Feb. 4.

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