LOVE IN THE ARENA
My first adventure with Big Love started with a trip to the emergency room, because someone accidentally scratched my cornea during callbacks. Maybe the director just took pity on me after the accident and wanted to make a peace offering, but I was cast in the role of Nikos. And now, fourteen years later, I have the privilege of revisiting this wonderfully wild and fiercely relevant work. I thought I had a good sense of the production and the story I wanted to tell, but that was before I started looking more closely through the magnifying glass of the #MeToo Movement.
The story I wanted to tell evolved. One line kept reverberating in my mind, one spoken passionately by Thyona: “there can be no love because there can be no love that is not freely offered and it cannot be free unless every person has equal standing.” What would happen to the power dynamic if women actually had equal standing? And if women do not have equal standing, can we ever have justice?
I jumped at Chuck Mee’s invitation to “pillage the plays as I have pillaged the structures and contents of the plays of Euripides and Brecht and stuff out of ‘Soap Opera Digest’ and the evening news and the internet.” I updated references to bring us to 2018, added text from other works by Chuck, and changed almost all the music he suggested—which had been exclusively male—and found music composed, written or performed by women. This production is an equal collaboration amongst the actors, designers, and stage management team, and I couldn’t have fulfilled my vision without their incredible work.
So, welcome to our boxing ring. Chuck Mee says: “I like plays that are not too neat, too finished, too presentable. My plays are broken, jagged, filled with sharp edges, filled with things that make sudden turns, careen into each other, smash up, veer off in sickening turns, that feels good to me. It feels like my life. It feels like the world.” We hope you feel the same!
—Robert Scott Smith, Director
We will have a post-performance discussion immediately following the 7:30 p.m. performance on November 16, to talk about the impact the #MeToo movement has had on Big Love.
Big Love | November 9-18 | Babcock Theatre
Tickets available at tickets.utah.edu
The University of Utah’s Department of Theatre ends the fall season with Charles L. Mee’s Big Love, an elaborate, updated retelling of one of the oldest plays in Western history, The Danaids by Aeschylus. Directed by Robert Scott Smith, the production runs Nov. 9-18 in the Babcock Theatre in the lower level of the Pioneer Memorial Theatre, 300 South and University Street.
Big Love, which has nothing to do with polygamy or the late cable TV series, tells the story of 50 brides who flee their 50 grooms and seek refuge in an Italian villa. Mayhem ensues, complete with grooms in flight suits, women throwing themselves to the ground, occasional pop songs, romantic dances, and even a bride falling in love.
Written originally for the Humana Festival, Louisville, in 2000, this play is topically relevant by tackling the issue of sexual misconduct that prompted the #MeToo movement, and challenging the many misconceptions of gender and sexuality that still exist today. In a 2003 interview with Open Stages newsletter, Mee explained, “…it’s all about refugees and gender wars and men and women trying to find what will get them through the rubble of dysfunctional relationships, and anger and rage and heartache.”
Big Love is timely, important, and a spectacular theatre piece the audience won’t forget.
UofU Fac/Staff $15
Seniors (60+)/Military $15
Free for UofU students with valid student ID, must show Ucard in person to request a ticket
So, I made a thing.
A year ago I was beginning to write the grant for this project. I had seen Remote Mitte by Rimini Protokoll earlier that year in Berlin, and I was really interested in audio tours as an immersive, theatrical experiment. I wrote about re-contextualizing locales, sharing stories dismissed by ageism, engaging people with my city, and, with the help of Robert Scott Smith, I got the grant.
In December of 2017, I sent out flyers to every assisted living facility in Salt Lake, calling for storytelling volunteers. I got one reply. This tour is a collection of his stories. Along the way, equipment broke, feelings got hurt, and publishing platforms disappeared into the ether after being acquired by massive speaker companies (I’M LOOKING AT YOU BOSE). But my friends and faculty were always there to work through the hiccups, and that was pretty flipp’n awesome. Special thanks to Benjamin Young and Alexander Woods.
This tour isn’t perfect. But it’s personal, political. And it’s probably not like any other audio tour you’ll be listening to in the near future. So go out there and get to know my city.
by Emily Nash, student in the Actor Training Program
By Emily Nash
Available on VoiceMap Audio Tour
Oct. 6-Nov. 6, 2018
Audio Tour: Great Ascents was made possible by a University of Utah Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP) grant. UROP provides undergraduate students and mentors the opportunity to work together on research or creative projects. To find out more about how to apply for a UROP grant, visit: our.utah.edu/urop/
About Emily Nash
She is a senior in the ATP. Currently she’s the assistant director of Julius Caesar in Studio 115 at the University of Utah. She is also finishing her massage therapy certification, and lurking, “whoops I mean interning,” at Pioneer Theatre Company. Favorite roles include Maria in Up: The Man in the Flying Chair (Studio 115), Player in Shockheaded Peter (Sackerson), and Carmen in This Girl Laughs, This Girl Cries, This Girl Does Nothing (Arizona State University). Next up you’ll see her in The Rivals in the Babcock Theatre. Lots of love to her friends and family for supporting her shenanigans.
Adjunct Assistant Professor of Theatre and Adjunct Instructor of Gender Studies, Lynn Deboeck has helped in the coordination to bring Rohina Malik, a Chicago-based playwright and solo-performer to the University of Utah campus to perform her piece, Unveiled at the Post Theatre on Friday, October 19 at 7:00 p.m and Saturday, October 20 at 1:00 p.m. This event is free and open to the public.
Praise for Unveiled
“Rohina Malik, the hugely talented writer-actress at the center of the Victory Gardens solo show “Unveiled,” is a remarkable new theatrical voice in Chicago. In her rich, upbeat and very enjoyable 70-minute collection of five character studies of Muslim women in modern-day America, Malik gives voice to characters from whom we hear far too little in the theater.”
–Chris Jones, Chicago Tribune.
A “terrific show… intellectually engrossing work of theater”
— Nina Metz, Chicago Tribune
“Unveiled offers a provocative, insightful and uplifting theater experience.”
Tom Witom, Pioneer Press
“Powerful solo show… five riveting tales of Muslim women”
— Jack Helbig, Chicago Reader
“A compelling 70-minute piece rich with illuminating surprises, drawing the audience into worlds that are both unique and truly universal. It is terrifically entertaining.
— Catey Sullivan, Chicago Examiner
“Rohina’s little masterpiece will further open our eyes”
— Alan Bresloff, Steadstyle Chicago
“The stories are important, to be sure, but the cumulative effect is weighty.”
—Web Behrens, Chicago Free Press.
“She creates five characters on stage…..I shed a tear or two….Works like this do their bit to bring about peace and harmony and counter hate. I wish this could visit every school, every church, every mosque, every temple in the country.” Moira de Swardt
“One of the most awaited performances of the 2016 National Arts Festival was Unveiled, written by internationally-acclaimed playwright and actress Rohina Malik.… Unveiled was written in response to the 9/11 attacks in America and is one of the bravest
and uplifting experiences I have ever had.” Khinali Bagwandeen
“Unveiled is a provocative piece of theatre, rich with enlightening surprises that draw the audience into a unique but yet universal world.” – Carol Kagezi
The Wolves by Sarah DeLappe, directed by Assistant Professor Alexandra Harbold featuring Department of Theatre faculty, students, and alumni is playing at Salt Lake Acting Company October 10-November 11, 2018.
These warriors are ready to take on anyone. Their minds move at warp speed, their emotions jostle for position, their bodies are fine-tuned, and their hormones are raging. It’s war out there on the girls’ soccer field. Get ready for The Wolves.
Tickets available at Salt Lake Acting Company.
Set Design – Erik Reichert
Costume Design – Kerstin Davis
Lighting Design – William Peterson
Sound Design – Jennifer Jackson
Prop Design – Janice Jenson
Dramaturg – Catherine Heiner
Soccer Consultant – Joe Murray
Stage Manager – Justin Ivie*
Assistant Sound Design – Kate Hunter
Assistant Stage Manager – Katelyn Limber
Madi Cooper – #25
Louise Dapper – #14
McKenzie Steele Foster – #11
Tracie Merrill – Soccer Mom
Mary Neville – #7
Ireland Nichols – #00
Hailee Olenberger – #13
Fina Posselli – #2
Cézanne Smith – #8
Alison Jo Stroud – #46
The Department of Theatre at the University of Utah is honored to be hosting Fight Master David Boushey on October 19, 2018 for a master workshop with faculty and students from the Actor Training Program, 9:40-11:35 a.m. in the Performing Arts Building.
Master Boushey is an American stuntman, stunt coordinator, stage fight director and stunt trainer. He is the founder of International Stunt School in Seattle, WA, which is considered the foremost stunt training facility in the film industry. He is also the founder of the United Stuntmen’s Association and the Society of American Fight Directors. He was inducted into the Hollywood Stuntmen’s Hall of Fame in 1992. Fight Master Boushey is one of fourteen First Masters in North America and the recipient of the Los Angeles Critics Award for Best Fight Choreography in 1981, 1985, and 1991.
During his career 40-year professional career as a stunt coordinator and stunt instructor throughout North America and Europe, he has Coordinated Stunts and Action for 8 Academy Award-Winning actors including Chris Cooper, Brad Dourif, William Hurt, Tommy Lee Jones, Marsha Mason, Jon Voight, Christopher Walken, and Denzel Washington. Other actors he’s trained include Drew Barrymore, Barry Corbin, Anna Faris, Danny Glover, James Earl Jones, Heather Locklear, Mary Tyler Moore, Meg Ryan, Keifer Sutherland, and Elijah Wood.
Championship chess is a thrilling world, filled with larger than life personalities, intrigues, and fast paced action. Who knew that watching hyper-intelligent people think could be so interesting? Mix chess with the dynamics of take-no-prisoners international diplomacy, crossed with complicated interpersonal entanglements, and you have the basis of a compelling story. The story of these various attempts at manipulation come together compellingly in Tim Rice, Benny Anderson, and Bjorn Ulvaeus’s musical Chess.
Why this play? This play has been tried in different forms between the West End and Broadway. It has been pretty commonly understood in the industry that neither form worked perfectly. Tim Rice, whose idea this play was, invites a director to continue the work of shaping the telling of this story, its character development, and the interplay of those different worlds. That alone was a compelling reason to work on this material. ABBA’s score is well known and well loved, and Tim Rice’s lyrics give fuel to the world. It was an exciting prospect for me to dissect this wonderful story, script, and score, and to reimagine the intersections of the characters in order to make their journey touch us across the footlights.
Why now? Current Russian–American sparring cannot help but remind us of the deadly diplomatic tensions of the Cold War. How do we relate to each other as nations and as individuals? How do we know what the other side really wants, really means? How we really function productively?
We in the Chess company have a tremendous respect and admiration for the amazing minds that compete in chess at the championship level. We’ve come to understand the dominance of Russia in the game and the support they have given their most skilled players. The obsession and focus required to participate at this level attracts minds that just don’t turn off. Unfortunately, minds that ignore other aspects of life are easily mis-used. We hope that you will love these characters and their story in this rarified world as much as we have loved creating it all for you.
The collaborative nature of theatre requires that artistry and co-operation from many specialists come together. Our team has been especially brilliant. We have an amazingly talented cast. Musical Director Alex Marshall’s orchestration underscores the drama with passion. Halee Rasmussen’s tilted, raked chess board is a constant tweak to the predicatable. Cole Adams’s inspired lighting keeps us on edge and guessing at what will happen next. Adam Day masterfully brings the voices front while still letting us feel the band in the room. Brenda Van der Wiel created our edgy, surprising costumes. Amanda French wig’s and make-up have added to the off kilter nature of the characters. Amber Lewandowski and her skilled stage management team have kept us focused and on schedule. The Musical Theatre Ensemble supports and broadens the score allowing us to expand the sound.
We have been so blessed with a team that has bonded, and who serve the show with definitive focus and unique sensitivity and talent.
We hope you enjoy the show!
Director and Choreographer of Chess The Musical
Musical Theatre Program Head
BROWN FISH a short film by alumnus Troy Deutsch will be showing on Thursday, September 13 at FilmQuest Festival in Provo, UT. The film stars alumni, Sean Kazarian and Kelsie Jepsen who graduated from the Actor Training Program alongside writer and director, Troy.
Troy’s film is part of the Taste The Rainbow shorts block #10 starting at 8:00 p.m., featuring all LGBT filmmakers. FilmQuest Fest describes the Taste The Rainbow shorts block as “a dynamic, and provocative selection of films from the LGBT community that celebrates love, diversity, monsters, revenge, and the best pot pie you ever tasted.”
“Our film is now officially crazy enough to be welcomed into the realm of horror/sci-fi/fantasy/and the beyond…” Troy said. BROWN FISH is based on a short play from Troy’s collection of one-acts, IN A TILTED PLACE, which premiered at IRT Theater in New York City in 2015.
FilmQuest tickets are available for the entire festival, featured films, short blocks and more at www.filmquestfest.com/tickets-all-films-events-2018/. Student discounts available.
SYNOPSIS: It all starts with a missing goldfish and a strange smell. Now a young woman’s world spins out of control, as she goes to meet her friend in the park.
DIRECTOR’S / FILMMAKER’S BIO: Troy Deutsch is a filmmaker and playwright from rural Minnesota living in New York City. He studied with Nicky Silver as part of The Vineyard Theatre’s Playwriting Workshop.
IMAGES FROM THE FILM:
On Wednesday, Aug. 29 from 11A – 2P, the arts at the University of Utah are taking over the Marriott Library Plaza. We’re talking live performances on a massive stage, interactive art, free food, free T-shirts, free swag, and all the info you could ever want on the different ways to experience the arts on campus.
Hold on, you know about Arts Pass, right? It’s the one-of-a-kind program that makes it so you can use your UCard to get free or deeply discounted tickets to literally hundreds of arts experiences on campus each year. So you can attend dance performances, concerts, plays, exhibitions, film screenings, and more on the super cheap — and it even includes special student access to the Utah Museum of Fine Arts, UtahPresents and Pioneer Theatre Company.
Why? Because more and more research is showing the positive impacts of the arts on education. The findings are significant: exposure to the arts is linked with better critical thinking skills, greater social tolerance, a greater likelihood of seeking out art and culture in the future and better workforce opportunities. (Maybe that’s why we issue tens of thousands of tickets to students every year.)
But, back to the Bash: First things first, pick up a passport from any of the booths, visit other booths to collect stamps, and when your passport is full, visit the Info booth to redeem it for a super soft mint green Arts Pass t-shirt that you can take to get your choice of design screen printed on it right in front of your eyes. Then you’ll grab some food and catch a couple acts on stage.
We’re so excited to have all five academic units in the College of Fine Arts there to let you know what non-major classes you can take to spice up your class load, how to major in the arts, and give you the scoop-diddy-whoop about what experiences they’re providing throughout the year for all U students, faculty, and staff.
Plus, we’ll have all three professional arts organizations (UMFA, UtahPresents and Pioneer Theatre Company) there along with our friends from ArtsForce, Arts Teaching, the Marriott Library’s Creative & Innovation Services, ASUU, Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute, and the Union Programming Council.
And we’re stoked to welcome to the main stage:
• A proper bash kick-off from the U’s new Associate Vice President for the Arts and Dean of the College of Fine Arts, John Scheib
• The Department of Theatre’s musical theatre program will perform numbers from their season opener “CHESS” directed and choreographed by Denny Berry
• Ballet grad student James Wallace will take the stage for a stunning performance
• The School of Music’s Percussion Ensemble will host a not-to-be-missed drum circle
• And the modern dance freshman class will do its famous improv jam on the plaza (fan favorite every year!)
Not to mention, we have a couple surprises up our sleeves…
So, come. Experience. And start thinking differently.
Original post from The Finer Points Blog
In Spite of Ourselves is a devised piece based on the poem “All My Love Poems Sound Like Break Up Poems” by Ashe Vernon. Heiner said in an interview with The Chrony, “My play exists in this weird space between falling in love and falling out of love… it does have a beginning, a middle and an end, but they don’t have to happen in that order and you can decide what they are.”
In Spite of Ourselves has 6 performances between August 3-12. For more information visit the Facebook event page.
They were in love.
Are. Were. Maybe.
They’ve grown apart, or back together.
This has all happened before, or it’s a sign of what’s to come.
They can’t stand each other, and they can’t let each other go.
About the playwright:
Catherine Heiner received her master’s degree in Literary and Cultural Studies this spring from Carnegie Mellon University. This year she has also presented at the American Theatre in Higher Education conference, Comparative Drama Conference, and the University of Wisconsin-Madison Theatre and Drama Graduate Student Conference. Her work in dramaturgy has included productions of As You Like It, American Idiot, and Self Defense, or death of some salesmen, as well as upcoming productions of The Wolves,The Lion in Winter, and the world premiere of An Evening with Two Awful Men.
About the cast:
Hannah Ensign is a senior in the Actor Training Program at the University of Utah. Previous credits include Meg Long and Captain Jemmy Campbell in Our Country’s Good (University of Utah), Ellie in Elephants Graveyard (Anthem Theatre Co), The Vagina Monologues (University of Utah), Maggie in Somewhere In Between (Great Salt Lake Fringe Festival), and Ursula/Outlaw in The Two Gentlemen of Verona (Salt Lake Shakespeare).
Recent University of Utah Theatre graduate, Mark Macey, will premiere his play Shooter at the Great Salt Fringe Festival, August 3-12, 2018.
Shooter had it’s first staged reading on April 23, 2018 as part of the New Plays Workshop class taught by Department of Theatre Professors Tim Slover and Sydney Cheek-O’Donnell. During the New Plays Workshop class taught every spring semester, plays are developed through discussion and exploratory workshops over the course of the semester. The development process culminates with student-run staged readings where members may serve variously as actors, directors, dramaturgs,stage managers or producers depending upon area of interest and the requirements of each play.
Shooter tells the unusual story of a man and his gun. Macey says he began writing the play after recognizing similarities between the perpetrators of mass shootings in the United States, himself, and men in general.
Shooter is rated R for violence, strong language, and nudity.
Tickets for the Great Salt Fringe Festival are available at: www.greatsaltlakefringe.org/tickets
Pictures from Shooter rehearsal for the Great Salt Fringe Festival 2018
We are excited to open our season by returning for the fourth year to the Hayes Christensen Theatre at the Marriott Center for Dance for Chess The Musical, a politically-driven, Cold-War–era musical about a chess tournament where players, lovers, politicians, and spies collide through manipulation. Then, David Carey from Oregon Shakespeare Festival joins us in October to direct Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar. November brings Charles L. Mee’s Big Love, an elaborate, updated retelling of one of the oldest plays in Western history, The Danaids by Aeschylus.
In the spring, we present Stephen Sondheim and George Furth’s musical comedy Company, directed by Ryan Emmons, followed by the true(ish) history of an 1869 expedition, Men On Boats by Jaclyn Backhaus in March. We close with Richard Brinsley Sheridan’s first play, The Rivals, a comedy of manners set in 18th-century Bath, England.
We strive to maximize the access, interest, and impact of theatre for our diverse audiences. Our productions will ignite exciting dialogue through talkbacks, panels discussions, and other artist-interface opportunities.
Music by Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus
Lyrics by Tim Rice
Based on an idea by Tim Rice
Directed and Choreographed by Denny Berry
September 14-23, 2018
The Hayes Christensen Theatre at the Marriott Center for Dance
By William Shakespeare
Directed by David Carey
October 26-November 4, 2018
Music and Lyrics by Stephen Sondheim
Book by George Furth
Originally Produced and Directed on Broadway by Harold Prince
Orchestration by Jonathan Tunick
Directed by Ryan Emmons
February 15- March 3, 2019
Professor Chris DuVal is hosting a Quarterstaff SAFD Skills Test Workshop at the University of Utah July 23-30, 2018.
This workshop will include training and testing in Quarterstaff, one of the primary weapon disciplines offered by the SAFD and DAI. Over 30 contact hours with the weapon will be offered, in addition to opportunities to study other weapon styles (TBD).
Reserve your space by contacting Professor Chris DuVal at email@example.com.
Dates: July 23 – July 30
Instructor: DC Wright
About D.C. Wright
D.C. Wright has been teaching, performing, and directing staged violence since 1994. D.C. became a Certified Teacher of Stage Combat with the Society of American Fight Directors in 1998 and was recognized as a Full Instructor by Dueling Arts International the same year.
D.C. is very active in teaching at national, regional, and local stage combat workshops all over the country with the SAFD and DAI. He currently coordinates the Central Illinois Stage Combat Workshop, and is the coordinator in charge of the Associate Instructor Program for the Winter Wonderland Workshop, the largest stage combat workshop in the country. D.C. has been teaching every year at the DAI Stage Combat Teacher Training Workshop, which has been hosted at his school for the last six years.
D.C. is also busy as a Fight Director around the country, having directed the violence for Syracuse Stage’s production of The Three Musketeers and Noises Off. He has directed violence for Arkansas Rep’s productions of Spamalot, Peter and the Starcatcher, Wait Until Dark, The Complete Works of Williams Shakespeare: Abridged, Treasure Island, Death of a Salesman, To Kill a Mockingbird, Henry V, Hamlet, both Les Miserables, Moonlight and Magnolias, Of Mice and Men, and Romeo and Juliet. He has directed fights for Peter and the Starcatcher, One Man, Two Guv’nors and Hamlet at Theatre Squared in Fayetteville. Romeo and Juliet, Winters Tale, Titus Andronicus, Taming of the Shrew, The Complete Works of Shakespeare: Abridged, Macbeth, Twelfth Night, Henry VIII and others for the Illinois Shakespeare Festival, as well as the Off-Broadway production of The Blowin of Baile Gall.
D.C. has worked on several commercials and film projects, most notably…And They Fight, a 23-hour six volume stage combat instructional series produced by Dueling Arts International covering all major weapon styles, in which D.C. is a primary demonstrator.
D.C. Wright is recognized as a Certified Teacher of Stage Combat and a Theatrical Firearms Safety Instructor by the Society of American Fight Directors, and as a Master Instructor by Dueling Arts International., D.C. teaches Movement and Stage Combat at Western Illinois University.
For this episode of MAGNIFYING we spoke with Communications and Marketing Coordinator for the Department of Theatre, Josiane Dubois. Our creative community here at the College of Fine Arts is diverse and wide spread. With the goal of gaining a deeper knowledge and awareness of the people within our community, we bring you MAGNIFYING, a series dedicated to showcasing the talent of our students, faculty, and staff.
Tell us about yourself: Name, where you are from, what you do and how you got into in your field of work.
My name is Josiane Dubois. I was born in Lima, Peru, and moved to Salt Lake at the age of 9. I’m the Communications and Marketing Coordinator for the Department of Theatre. I started working in the Department when I was studying Strategic Communication as an undergrad. This summer I’m finishing a Master’s degree in Health Promotion and Education at the U. Through my research in nutritional label literacy, I’m redesigning Front-of-Package Symbols (FOPs) to make nutrition information quicker and easier to notice, understand, and use in low-health-literacy populations. In the future, I hope to work with health programs that utilize art to promote wellness.
What has surprised you the most in your life?
The need to go back to my roots. The older I get, the more interested I am in Latin American writers, poets, musicians, and other artists. As a child, I dreaded listening to the music my grandparents played at family parties, but now those are the same songs I play to feel connected to my family abroad and to my memories of Peru. I never thought that I would play “La Flor de la Canela” by Chabuca Granda on my Spotify at work, or that I would be humming “En Barranquilla Me Quedo” while walking my dog.
For a long time, I neglected reading or listening to music in Spanish because I wanted to assimilate into the neighborhood where I grew up. I’m really thankful that during my time at University I was encouraged to embrace the different cultures I had lived in. TV series like “Jane the Virgin,” “Mozart in the Jungle,” and “One Day at a Time” similarly portray my experience of growing up around multi-generational Latinx people who speak Spanish, English, and other languages interchangeably. I love working in a community of storytellers who create bridges through art.
What do you wish you had known/been told?
I wish I had learned earlier the power of speaking for myself. In a Conflict and Resolution class during my undergrad, I learned about using “I” statements. Ever since, I feel as if I have been able to communicate more effectively with others.
Originally Published by: The Finer Points