The theatre department prepares for winter semester shows

The theatre department’s winter semester lineup features a range of shows, including a student directed and written performance.

Before the semester, the department was hard at work at a trip to Wisconsin for the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival.

There, students Jaden O’Berry and Rhiannon Hall won awards for their Tech and Dramaturg work.

Performing students Joshua Lloyd and Clayton Singer became semi-finalists for the Irene Ryan Semi-Finals for KCACTF Region Three.

Coming off the students’ winter break successes, the first show up is “Roustabout: The Great Circus Trainwreck.” It hits the Malcolm Field Theatre from Feb. 19 – Feb 22 at 7:30 p.m. and Feb. 23 at 3 p.m.

The play, directed by David Rzeszutek, narrates the story of a 1918 crash involving a WWI military train that injured and killed performers of the largest American circus at the time, the Hagen beck-Wallace Circus.

The show is a blend of fact and fiction. It brings light to the stories of those who lost their lives in the crash.

Tommy Wedge, a theatre professor, said the play is emotional and unique.

“It is highly theatrical, with six actors playing multiple circus performers on a sparse set,” Wedge said. “It is at times absurd, heartbreaking and hilarious, and not something that audiences will be able to see anywhere else.”

The Studio XP Production for the semester is “Unraveling Magicians,” a show written and directed by student Ryan Sequin.

Sequin is a music senior, and this is the first show he has ever written and composed. It is also his directorial debut.

Sequin said he took his inspiration from a story he read as a child.

“’Unraveling Magicians’ is loosely based on a story that appears in the Mabinogion, one of the oldest surviving examples of British prose,” Sequin said. “I first read the story in a picture book I had as a child. That same picture book is informing the choices I make as a director for this production.”

“Unraveling Magicians” follows the royal family of Gwynedd after it finds a book of spells and becomes exposed to magic. The family provokes a curse, forcing Gwydion, the family recluse, home to clean up.

It debuts in the Black Box Theatre March 27 and 28 at 7:30 p.m.

Wedge will directing “Macbeth.” The show will take to the stage April 15 – April 18 at 7:30 p.m. and April 19 at 3 p.m. in the Malcolm Field Theatre for Performing Arts.

“Macbeth” is a Shakespearean tragedy about the Thane of Glamis, Macbeth and his need for power. After receiving word that he is next in line to be the King of Scotland, Macbeth kills his king to take the crown. He is then consumed with guilt and paranoia over the incident.

Wedge said his inspiration came from the History Channel’s “Vikings.”

“I am using as inspiration History Channel’s ‘Vikings,’ a medieval world of blood and broadswords, woods and granite, where humanity is torn between civilization and barbarism,” he said. “Power doesn’t come from your gender or genes – it is seized and held by killing those who are in your way. To that end, our Macbeth, Lady Macbeth and Banquo – among other principals – are women.”

Wedge is working to make the show authentically Shakespearean by working with Dan Gates, an English professor.

“We’re also collaborating with Dan Gates to assist the cast with Shakespeare’s language,” he said. “It’s going to be a fun ride.”

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