The Theater Department’s mainstage production of “Buried Child,” written by Sam Shepard, is not about the grueling climb toward achieving the American Dream, rather the devastating plummet of those who once lived it but lost their grasp.
“The plot centers around a family who emphasizes this theme [of deterioration] by consisting of those who were once ‘classically American,’ but who, after a family scandal and tragedy, completely fell apart mentally,” Julia Fell, the production’s costume designer, said. “‘Buried Child’ is a play about the destruction and corruption of the American Dream.”
Fell, a fourth-year theater major with a concentration in costume design, said her most challenging costume design will be for a character who has a false leg that’s removed during the show.
“Since the actor cast in this role has both legs, figuring out a way to make him look like an amputee is going to be interesting.”
For Sara Lyons, a third-year theater and history double-major and the show’s dramaturg, the production team’s biggest obstacles will be adhering to a strict schedule and maintaining a healthy mindset, despite the mental stress that comes from working on such a heartbreakingly tragic play.
Lyons said she researches many aspects of the production, offers advice and “a new pair of eyes” to certain scenes and discusses her findings with director and Associate Professor Frank Trezza regularly to help develop the trajectory and vision of the production.
“All of [us] are bearing a heavy psychological load,” Lyons said. “So we’ve all been developing ways to ensure that the rehearsal spaces stay safe spaces, and each of us is developing our own way of shaking the play off our shoulders as we leave meetings and research sessions.”
“Buried Child” will run from Thursday, Feb. 27 through Sunday, March 9 in Parker Theatre.
“On The Verge”
Those who’ve been bitten by the travel bug will be able to live vicariously through the adventurous, wayfaring characters of the Theater Department’s mainstage production of “On the Verge.”
Written by Eric Overmyer, “On The Verge” is about three women from 1888 who set off on a journey to explore the last unknown parts of the world, according to director and Assistant Professor Connie Rotunda.
“As [the women] travel further, they realize that they are not only traveling through space, but they are also traveling through time,” Rotunda said. “Their journey is taking them into the future. Terra Incognita.”
Besides the three women, there are eight additional characters, who are all portrayed by one diverse, if not exhausted, actor.
“The man plays eight different roles ranging from a German dirigible pilot to a smooth nightclub crooner,” Rotunda said. “It requires an actor with a good ear who has a comedic sensibility who can also ground themselves in reality and truth.”
Assistant Professor and the production’s costume designer, Andrea Varga, said the show has a “wonderful sense and humor and explores character, language and movement in really delightful ways.”
“On the Verge” will be performed in Parker Theatre, which Varga said is an advantage because designers are able to indulge in small details the audience wouldn’t otherwise see in any of the larger campus venues.
“It has period clothing that has been a lot of fun to research and will be exciting to recreate for the stage,” Varga said.
“On The Verge” will run from Thursday, April 24 through Sunday, May 5.
Greek tragedy will be front and center during this semester’s black box production of “Eurydice,” bringing the dramatic love story of Orpheus and his wife to the stage of Parker Theatre.
“Eurydice,” written by Sarah Ruhl, is a loose retelling of the Greek story of Orpheus that focuses on the viewpoint of his wife and her trip to the underworld immediately after their wedding, according to the production’s costume designer Jamie Kracht.
“In the underworld, she encounters her father and ultimately has to choose between staying in the land of the dead with him or returning to the mortal world with her husband,” Kracht, a fourth-year theater major with a performance concentration, said.
“Eurydice” features a prominent female lead and a strong ensemble, “something that the Theater Department is always looking for in their season selection,” according to director Adam Harrison, a fourth-year theater major with a concentration in performance and directing.
Harrison said there will also be some surprises for the audience, including some imaginative and “daunting” stage directions that he said will provide an interesting challenge for the production team.
“All of these technical elements, such as Eurydice entering the underworld in a raining elevator…either happen onstage, or will be represented onstage by some action or device that gives the same message to the audience,” Harrison said. “Finding creative and clever solutions to these technical needs is not only the most challenging component in a student production, but the most fun as well.”
For Harrison, he hopes the audience can appreciate the play’s timeless and simple message, and that they leave the theater feeling connected to the story they’ve just been told.
“Eurydice” will run from Friday, April 5 through Sunday, April 6.