DPA seeks new audiences

AU's Experimental Theatre is an unassuming building. Many students sit in economics or history classes in the Butler Instructional Center completely unaware that theater majors are leaping, lunging and singing right above their heads. Despite its location, however, the theater will see plenty of foot traffic this season, from patrons and performers alike.

Running on the heels of a successful season complete with sold out performances, AU's Department of Performing Arts (DPA) will showcase several performances this season that will be geared towards adult audiences, said April Shepard, a DPA spokesperson.

Shepard said the two major theater productions of the 2000/2001 season, "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest," and Stephen Sondheim's "Company," both deal with such universal issues as relationships, friendships and human dynamics. "Cuckoo's Nest" is based on the novel of the same name by Ken Kesey, and is the story of man's stay in an insane asylum. "Company" is a musical satire that deals with the themes of marriage and monogamy. Both productions also feature strong language and are tailored towards mature audiences -- more so than last season's performances, Shepard said.

"Audiences will be curious to see Cuckoo's Nest, because it will be interesting to see how this well-known film is presented in a different way," she said.

"Company" will be directed by associate professor Christian Mendehall. Casting for the musical is currently underway, and is open to allof graduate students, as well as a Holocaust reconstruction piece by AU guest artist, Rima Faber. Auditions for this mostly modern dance performance are Sept. 10, and the graduate dance students will select solos and/or group pieces.

"This is a sort of lab for the grad students," Shepard said.

There will also be more orchestra and concert choir performances on account of last season's numerous sold-out performances.

"The orchestra concerts were held in Kay Chapel last season, and we were packing them [audience members] in, above and beyond capacity," Shepard said.

She added that many of the dance shows sold out and that the fall theater performances of "Rashomon," was honored with several awards.

Shepard said she hopes that even more students will attend the performances this season.

"College is an opportunity to see more dance, music and theater than anywhere else, for a cheaper price than anywhere else," she said. "It's a good idea to take advantage of that." Student can call xARTS (2787)for more information about upcoming performances or to reserve tickets.

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