Delivering American University's news and views since 1925. | Sunday, May 27, 2018

AU theater groups prepare for new season

It’s the beginning of a new semester, which means AU’s theater troupes have started gearing up for a busy season of plays, musicals and melodramas that will keep theater enthusiasts busy throughout the year.

The AU Players, the dramatic society of student actors, will be staging conventional and modern plays ranging from Pulitzer Prize winners Edward Albee and Hunter Bell to new works by AU students. Premiering on Feb. 7, the first show is a one-act called “Zoo Story” by Albee, about two men who meet in New York’s Central Park one dreary night.

Following the series of plays will be an original work by Erin Hannigan called “Everybody Does It.” Rounding out the season will be “[Title of Show],” a musical by Bell with music by Jeff Bowen. This show is a madcap scenario about two friends who have to conceive of a play in time to submit it to a large festival while facing the usual pratfalls of creative types like writer’s block and entanglements with friends.

The Shakespearean theater troupe AU Rude Mechanicals will be performing Shakespeare’s famous romantic comedy “A Midsummer Nights Dream” for its first production of the season. Premiering March 21-23, this iteration of the play will be transported from the original setting of mystical forests populated with fairies to the Middle East and East Asia.

“This production utilizes the opulent vision of art nouveau and Baz Luhrmann’s ‘Moulin Rouge’ with Bollywood dance style and traditional Indian dress,” said Jonelle Walker, executive director of the AU Rude Mechanicals and a College of Arts and Sciences senior.

Later in the semester, the Mechanicals will also premiere Shakespeare’s most gratifyingly humorous comedy “The Taming of the Shrew,” a play about the gender politics between men and women. It is a stunningly fast paced play in terms of verbiage and movement.

“Seth Rose [a senior in the School of Communication] is taking Shakespeare’s famously politically incorrect play and turning it on its head,” Walker said. “For this production, the tumultuous relationship between hard-headed Katherina and arrogant Petruchio is an even-handed battle of the wits — a recovery of the brilliant repartee of the leads, important in this fraught period in gender equality.”

With the vast amount of interesting projects these troupes are taking on, this season’s productions are turning out to be fairly promising, with a great amount of entertainment and escapism to enjoy throughout the year.

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