Posting Date: August 24, 2010
"A Confederacy of Dunces" premieres at Theatrical Outfit
Performance features KSU students and alumnus
Photo by Jamie Bullins
"When a true genius appears, you can know him by this sign: that all the dunces are in a confederacy against him." - Jonathan Swift
Theatrical Outfit recently premiered “A Confederacy of Dunces,” an adaptation by Theatrical Outfit Artistic Director Tom Key of the Pulitzer-winning novel. The performance features three KSU students and one almunus.
Andrew Crigler, Rachel DeJulio, Andrew Puckett and Mary Wolfson appear in the adaptation. Key says, “All of the Kennesaw State students have proven that they are huge actors and are very well prepared to take place in this epic, iconic, classic piece of comedy. We’re proud to have this relationship, and I know that Theatrical Outfit will be forever grateful for their contributions to this production.”
A phone call in the fall of 2008 sent Key reeling as the rights to stage an adaptation of the novel came through, offering to fulfill a long-time dream of his. It has been staged in few instances, including a 1984 Louisiana State University musical adaptation by Frank Galati and a production last fall at Book-It Repertory Theatre in Seattle.
In April, the production team gathered to discuss bringing this work to the Theatrical Outfit stage. How to represent the mad-cap world of author John Kennedy Toole prompted a conversation with Jamie Bullins (Costume Designer, Department of Theatre, Performance Studies & Dance, KSU) about the Department of Theatre & Performance Studies at Kennesaw State University, and audition opportunities developed for students. Through the recommendations of Associate Professors Karen Robinson and Harrison Long, Bullins sent out invitations to audition.
"Theatrical Outfit is one of the most respected theatrical organizations in the area," according to Bullins. "What a great opportunity for students to work with these consummate professionals on such an outstanding piece. Quotes from this book have been flying around me with friends for years. When they called and asked me to design it, I couldn’t refuse, no matter what obstacles may have presented themselves, these kind of projects only come along once in a lifetime."
The announcement of the premiere of Key’s adaptation, directed by Richard Garner, co-founder and producing artistic director of Georgia Shakespeare, has been publicized around Atlanta, throughout the southern region and on various websites including Playbill.com.
The novel encapsulates many things about the American South, New Orleans in particular. Published 11 years after Toole took his own life, it has changed countless lives of those who have gotten to know the main character, the bombastic Ignatius J. Reilly, a “slob extraordinary, a mad Oliver Hardy, a fat Don Quixote, a perverse Thomas Aquinas rolled into one,” according to Walker Percy.
“A Confederacy of Dunces” runs through Sept. 5 at Theatrical Outfit. For ticket information, call 678-528-1500 or visit their website.
With contributions by Jamie Bullins.