Voices Coming Together as One: Realism Plays and Student Choreography

Posted on November 18th, 2019 by

Students Jayden Luikens '19 and Lillian Kline '22 perform a scene in "Time to Get Real."

This weekend the Department of Theatre and Dance will present two unique sets of performances. The first, Time to Get Real: Selections from the Classics of Modern Drama, combines different monologues, scenes, and short plays from the realism genre together into one show. The other, Lyric Confluence: Choreographers’ Gallery, features dance works by student choreographers. Tickets for both performances can be purchased at www.gustavustickets.com or by calling 507-933-7590. 

Time to Get Real: Selections from the Classics of Modern Drama
November 22 at 6 p.m. and 11 p.m.
November 23 at 8 p.m.
November 24 at 1 p.m. and 7 p.m.
Black Box Theatre

This year’s workshop production gives students the opportunity to delve into realism, a genre that tells the stories of ordinary people dealing with real social issues. At Gustavus, students don’t often get the chance to perform plays in this genre.

As part of the class “Text and Performance,” students had the chance to read essential plays in the realism genre. From there, they worked with professor and director Amy Seham to pick the selections and put together the show. All of the selections are framed by the play Happy Journey from Trenton to Camden, which serves as the overarching structure for the night. This play follows a family on a road trip to see their oldest daughter.

Using selections from classic realism plays such as Henrik Ibsen’s A Doll’s House and Tennessee Williams’s The Glass Menagerie to more modern plays such as The Laramie Project by Moises Kaufmann, the show encompasses a full timeline of theatrical realism. Seham also ensured the selections included works by female playwrights including A Man’s World by Rachel Crothers and Sweat by Lynn Nottage.

While each of the plays tells a separate story, there are common themes throughout the show. A few of the plays explore the idea of women’s roles in society, spanning multiple decades. Other plays delve into the struggle of identity and the “American dream.” As Seham explains it, the plays pose questions such as, “How are we defined by the job we do, and who are we separate from that?” In the end, it comes down to deciding what really matters. “What should I be pursuing? Should I be pursuing what makes me happy or should I be pursuing what makes the most money?” Seham believes this struggle will resonate with students today. 

Tickets are still available for Time to Get Real at www.gustavustickets.com

Lyric Confluence: Choreographers’ Gallery
November 21 at 7 p.m.
November 22 at 8:30 p.m.
November 23 at 5:30 p.m.
November 24 at 4 p.m.
Kresge Dance Studio

This year, student choreographers had the opportunity to create their own pieces to exhibit in the Choreographers’ Gallery. The theme is lyric confluence, which is the idea of many voices coming together as one. With eight different student choreographers, the concert features an array of styles and voices with unique themes and form.

These choreographers applied to be a part of the concert and were selected last spring. All of the choreographers cast their pieces in September and have been working with their dancers ever since. 

Director Melissa Rolnick highlights the idea that the process to create these performances is embodied research. “This requires an enormous amount of time, energy, and inner-working to find the vocabulary to bring forth the work,” she says. Having students create their own pieces is an integral part of the dance curriculum at Gustavus. “We create creators,” Rolnick says. 

This year, the show also features lighting design by the dance students who are in Assistant Professor Terena Wilkens’ “Light and Sound Design” class this semester

The concert features 23 dancers in pieces choreographed by Marissa Williamson ’20, Amber Lange ’20, Jack Fischer ’20, Maddi Miller ’20, Megan Witte ’20, Kelly Montgomery ’21, Annie Carlson ’20, and Sam Tonjes ’21.

Tickets are only available for the Thursday night performance of Choreographers’ Gallery. The other performances are sold out.

 

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