Gustavus Adolphus College Announces Anderson Theatre 2008-09 Season Posted on August 27th, 2008 by

Anderson Theatre’s production of The Tempest

Anderson Theatre’s production of The Tempest

With a nod to a successful past season and with determination to continue the mission of confronting social justice issues on the stage, the Department of Theatre and Dance at Gustavus Adolphus College announces the 2008-09 Anderson Theatre season. The new season opens with Topsy Turvy Mouse by playwright Peter Gil-Sheridan of the Laramie Project, followed in November by Eugene Ionesco’s absurdist play, The Lesson. February brings The Other Shore, written by Chinese Nobel Prize winner Gao Xingjian, the Gustavus Dance Company in Range of Motion and, finally, Carlo Goldoni’s comedy The Impressario from Smyrna swaggers across the stage in May.

Topsy Turvy Mouse opens the season October 24 – November 1, directed by Amy Seham with writer Peter Gil-Sheridan in residency at the college. It deals with the legacy of today’s violence in Iraq and the meanings we will make out of the images of Abu Ghraib. How will shifting values of our shared humanity play out for the next generation? With a combination of dramatic and comic scenes, Topsy Turvy Mouse imagines a not-too-distant future when photographs create reality and children learn how not to know the truth. This award-winning play investigates questions of loneliness, fear, difference, and, ultimately, personal responsibility in unexpected and thought-provoking ways.

Eugene Ionesco’s The Lesson is a masterpiece of the theatre of the absurd and the surrealist avant garde as it pushes the boundaries of morbid humor into the depths of darkness. A student, eager to learn quickly to qualify for her total doctorate exam, attends a private lesson in the house of a well-known young professor and is guided through the basics of arithmetic, linguistics and comparative philology, only to be interrupted by the maid who warns the professor to be cautious and avoid philology, which “can only lead to calamity!” The plot unfolds as the characters wrestle through language, the ultimate instrument of power. The Lesson runs November 20 – 23 and is directed by Henry MacCarthy.

Gao Xingjian, the first Chinese Nobel-prize-winner in literature, wrote The Other Shore in 1986 as a commentary on the shifting values and beliefs in Communist Chinese society. The work, controversial in his homeland, eventually forced him into exile, but is widely recognized as a powerful expression of the struggle in contemporary China and elsewhere. The Other Shore, a featured event in the college-wide Global Insight program, is a vibrant physical-theatre piece that experiments with movement, sound and imagery to explore questions of individuality, community and freedom. Guest artists in Chinese Music and shadow-puppetry will collaborate in this production directed by Amy Seham and running February 19 – 22.

March 13 – 15 brings the Gustavus Dance Company to the Anderson Theatre stage to present Range of Motion. This year’s concert highlights the colorful palette of dances created by faculty choreographers Cynthia Gutierrez-Garner, Michele Rusinko, Melissa Rolnick, and selected student choreographers. Also featured will be guest choreographer Charlotte Adams’ humorous and quirky Alpaca Dreams. Adams work has been performed throughout the U.S. by companies and university dance programs and internationally in Australia, the Caribbean, South East Asia, and Europe.

The season finale, The Impresario From Smyrna, May 1 through May 9, is directed by Henry MacCarthy. It was first produced in Venice in 1761 and is a laugh-out-loud comedy which follows the trials and tribulations of a group of self-absorbed, avaricious, naive and manipulative artists, agents and benefactors in the 18th Century. From the performers to the impresario, this work is a hilarious look at behind-the-scene rivalries, diva fits, casting couches and audition gossip. And yet, The Impresario From Smyrna is also about the beautiful vulnerability of the romanticized artistic personae and the mythologies that surround stage life. In brief, it’s everything we love and love to hate about the theatre.

Tickets for the 2008-2009 Anderson Theatre season are available two weeks prior to opening night at the Gustavus Ticket Center, 507-933-7590.


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