Theatre is a form of connection that has proved vital to people and groups whose voices ache to be heard, whether that be exposure to foreign circumstance or a simple story that fosters a sense of shared experience. Especially within our SLU drama community, each production is carefully planned and rehearsed, in hopes of giving the audience a memorable performance.
This semester, University Theatre is putting on three productions.. SLU’s Theatre staff have chosen entirely different works: “The Wolves” by Sarah DeLappe, ‘This is Our Youth” by Kenneth Lonergan, and “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” by William Shakespeare.
“The Wolves” is fairly recent in its release, published only five years ago. Although DeLappe is a young writer, her play received much attention after its off-Broadway debut. This show delves into difficult, coming-of-age topics in a way that is real and relatable to issues students at SLU face. From teamwork to empowerment to sex and depression, this play works to show that through community, no challenge is insurmountable.
Earlier this fall, Nancy Bell, a professional actress, playwright, director, and a professor at SLU, organized a reading of “The Wolves” open to any student regardless of experience or major. Bell explained in an interview that she wanted to “give students a way to express themselves and get involved in the arts without having to commit to a huge [time] thing.”
Students were cast from the draw of a hat, rehearsed for three days after classes, and performed for an audience of friends, family, staff and students. Bell is projected to direct another “laid-back” reading in the spring semester to provide artistic exposure and outlets for students. Bell hopes that this opportunity will provide a sense of community and belonging for participants.
Another upcoming production is “This is Our Youth,” directed by Thomas Martin. This play encompasses the lives of troubled children in 1980’s New York City. The play’s lead steals a massive sum of money from his distant father. The characters of the play work through “growing pains” and let go of their innocence. Martin chose this production because of its authentic quality involving characters described as “hyper-realistic, incredibly flawed, and totally lovable.” Martin emphasized that the actors fit into their roles like a “second skin,” bringing “such life and believability,” to their roles. This production will be held in Xavier while featuring a Thrust Stage – giving the audience both a closer look at the hand-made set and a setting that allows for closer immersion into the show as it progresses. This show will run the weekend of October 1st – October 3rd and tickets are available here.
Lastly, actor, dancer, playwright and producer Lucy Cashion will direct “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” Featuring 21 students from different grade levels, majors, and theatrical background knowledge, this show is an immersive experience into mystic affairs and powerful friendship. Rehearsals begin mid-October with shows spanning from November 18th-21st.
Although these shows contrast each other and range in diversity, there is guaranteed to be something for every person to enjoy.