Intimacy of Language and Power: Eugene Ionesco’s The Lesson to be Performed at Gustavus Adolphus College

Posted on November 7th, 2008 by

The Department of Theatre and Dance at Gustavus Adolphus College presents an intimate performance of Eugene Ionesco’s comic drama The Lesson. Directed by Henry MacCarthy, performances will be held in Anderson Theatre November 20, 21, and 22 at 8:00 p.m. and November 23 at 2:00 p.m.

The Lesson is a masterpiece of the theatre of the absurd and the surrealist avant garde, pushing 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, which eventually consumes them in complete destruction.

MacCarthy’s daring re-invention of Ionesco’s challenging drama provides audiences an intimate experience with the play. The proximity of the audience to the performers, aided by the set design by student designer Brian Pelach, allows audience members to be immersed in the world created on stage. The students involved with the production have been given a unique opportunity to bring this avant garde play into the Gustavus Theatre repertoire. The cast features students Jordan Klitzke, Bethany Ringdal, Shane Jensen, Christine Dornbush, and Kelly Nelson.

The lighting design for The Lesson is by Terena Wilkens, and costume design by Andrea Gross.

Tickets are available through the Gustavus Ticket Center at (507) 933-7590. Adult tickets $7.00, Student and senior citizen tickets $5.00, Gustavus students and staff free of charge. Tickets not purchased in advance may be purchased at the Anderson Theatre Box Office beginning one hour prior to curtain.

Note: only 50 tickets are available for each performance. Latecomers will not be seated.

 

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