Welcome from the Artistic Director
Professor L. Dean Adams
Nobody has ever measured, even poets,
how much a heart can hold.
On behalf of the faculty and staff, we welcome you to our 2012-13 season, featuring works where diverse peoples and cultures collide and come together, and where we can reflect upon what it means to be human. I invite you to share the range of performance and human experience that is brought to life by our talented students, faculty and guest artists.
Cabaret changed the direction of musical theatre in 1966 not only from its daring content of the Nazi uprising in Germany, but also through its thrilling metaphysical theatricality. Like the patrons of the Kit Kat Club, we are so seduced into this world of decadent entertainment that we neglect to see the evil before us. Cabaret, our fall Stillwell production, features such memorable songs as “Mein Heir,” “Wilkhommen,” and the title song, and promises a debauched party where beautiful illusions are part of the hideous reality.
The classic William Inge valentine to loneliness, Bus Stop, is featured in the Stillwell Theatre in the spring. As snow envelops a diner near Kansas City, a divergent collection of humanity huddle together and face the distances between places and people. The passengers of a stranded bus and the locals explore relationships – past, present, and potential. The warmth and isolation of the room, like an Edward Hopper painting, is both heartwarmingly funny and achingly familiar.
The sixth annual New Works and Ideas Festival brings together two unique performances entitled Sound + Silence. About Silence, by Peter Petralia, is an unrehearsed performance where three performers read a text that explores paranoia, beauty, and the pain of human relationships. This performance alternates with “The Ubu Project,” a new work by Michael Haverty that is based on Alfred Jarry’s brilliantly infantile character who challenges all authoritative relationships. These two repertory shows will be performed in our newly named Onyx Theatre, devoted to original and cutting-edge works.
In the Twilight: The Chekhov Stories Project is another example of the innovative work we do in the Onyx Theatre. Three award-winning playwrights re-imagine the stories by Anton Chekhov to illuminate themes and relationships in the twentieth century. Also in the Onyx, John Gentile adapts the W.B. Yeats’ series of stories of Ireland’s wandering poet who has been “touched by magic” into a new theatrical work, Red Hanrahan. The central character’s quest for a transcendent world isolates him from other men and defines his heroic solitude.
Present-day solitude is often exhibited through the current love affair with cell phones and other electronic gadgets. Our ten-year tradition of opening our season with an annual faculty benefit performance continues with Shut up and Drive, a new play by TPS faculty member Jamie Bullins that explores these electronic relationships. Proceeds from this special event will benefit the KSU chapter of Alpha Psi Omega, the national theatre honor society.
Additional special performances round out our season, such as this fall’s Run Away with Me: Kerrigan and Lowdermilk in Concert that brings one of musical theatre’s rising writing duos to Atlanta. In January nationally renowned storyteller Regi Carpenter take the stage in the yearly StoryFest event in the Stillwell Theater. I hope you will not only attend the familiar but also challenge yourself to the new.
I welcome you to participate in a direct way as well. Our auditions are open to all KSU students, and each show has several evenings of talkbacks when audience members have a chance to engage in dialogue with the artists. We invite feedback about the current season and welcome suggestions for future offerings.
Our aim is to enlighten and entertain, engage and educate. Your responses, personal and communal, inform and shape our work, and we look forward to sharing our magical and mysterious journeys in the coming weeks. I look forward to seeing you at the show!
Department of Theatre and Performance Studies