Hiram College’s Theatre Arts Department will be presenting a diverse repertoire of genre-crossing productions in Press Play: A Series of Play Readings over the course of the next few months. Performances begin this week and continue through April. All productions will be performed select Thursdays at 4 p.m. and Fridays at 7 p.m. in the Renner Theater in Frohring Performing Arts Building. Admission is free.
The first performance, The Game of Love and Chance, is a French sentimental comedy by Pierre de Marivaux that tells the story of a young engaged couple that switches places with their servants. The Game of Love and Chance will be performed Jan. 29-30, 2015.
The Nina Variations, a contemporary play by Steven Dietz, is composed solely of 42 different endings to the 19th century Russian comedy, The Seagull. Performances will be Feb. 12-13, 2015.
The next performance, Arms and the Man by George Bernard Shaw, is a skewered take on romantic comedies leading up to the play’s inception. Arms and the Man will be performed Feb. 26-27, 2015.
The Fantasticks (a reading) is a take on the timeless 1960s musical by Harvey Schmidt and Tom Jones. Instead of being sung, it will be performed as a Brechtian epic, a style of theatre developed by German playwright Bertolt Brecht in which the audience is aware it is watching a play and is detached, instead of being emotionally involved. The Fantasticks reading will take place March 19-20, 2015.
The final production, Anton in Show Business by Jane Martin, is a play about a group of people getting together to perform a play by Russian physician and author Anton Chekhov. It will run April 2-3, 2015.
Professor of Theatre Arts Rick Hyde chose to put on a five-part season of full-length play readings instead of one full production this semester to expose theatre arts students to a wide range of plays, while getting more students from outside the department involved. Hyde will direct two out of the five plays. August Scarpelli ’16, a theatre arts major, will also direct one play.
Each production will have its own set and a different level of development, based on how the reading will be done. The stage set-up will vary from actors sitting on a stool, reading, to much more developed, depending on the play.
All of the plays, despite spanning centuries and genres, are connected by common theme: the difficulties men and women face with relationships. Each of the five plays is also important to theatre history.
“They’re all versions of earlier kinds of works,” Hyde said. “They’re not all rewrites, but most of them have some relationship to earlier forms of theatre.”
Theatre arts majors will give presentations on the history of each play before each performance.
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