Campus Life

New theatre lineup another winner

The 2009-2010 theatre season, as presented by the Department of Theatre and Dramatic Arts, promises to be another entertaining and highly varied lineup.

The season opens on a witty and sophisticated note with Noel Coward's Hay Fever, Oct. 20-24. Hay Fever is a comedy about a family whose theatrical excesses torment their unsuspecting visitors. The eccentric Blisses, including Judith, a recently "retired" stage actress, David, a self-absorbed novelist, and their two children, live in a world where reality slides easily into fiction. A group of unfortunate weekend guests – a proper diplomat, shy flapper, athletic boxer and fashionable sophisticate – are thrown into melodramatic scenes where their hosts react to situations that don't exist! The resulting hilarious chaos ends only when the tortured visitors tip-toe out the door.

Next on the University Theatre stage is the dark, turbulent and stark Festen, by David Eldridge, Nov. 24-28. Helge is turning 60 and it should be a time of celebration and a time for the family to gather and smooth over the cracks left by the suicide of Linda, the twin sister to Christian. As Helge's eldest son, Christian raises the first toast. Confined within the family house, guests are rocked by revelations that pierce and destroy the veneer of middle-class respectability.

Seating for Festen is limited and the play has very mature content, with material unsuitable for those under 18.

The cultural phenomenon Hair, by Gerome Ragni and James Rado, with music by Galt McDermot, explodes onto the stage from Feb. 9-13, including an unusual midnight performance on Feb. 12. Set in New York City of the 1960s, a tribe of long-haired hippies celebrates its pacifist bohemian lifestyle, vehemently condemning the Vietnam War and embracing the sexual revolution. Through dance and song, Hair exposes the passionate fervor of a contentious era. Colourful and unforgettable, this rock musical has defined a generation.

The season ends in March with a 400-year old masterful classic entitled Life is a Dream, by Pedro Calderon de la Barca, which was adapted by Adrian Mitchell and John Barton. Written by a prominent playwright of Spain's Golden Age, it is the story of a king who, on the advice of an astrologer, imprisons his infant son for fear the boy will grow up to rebel against him. When, at age 20, the young man awakens from a drug-induced sleep to find himself on the throne, he behaves rather badly and is returned to prison. His excursion to the palace is said to be merely a dream, but citizens take up his cause and stage a rebellion in support of his becoming their king once and for all.

Set in a fictional Poland, Calderón's play explores illusion and reality, fate and free will, tyranny and kindness. Sometimes violent and dramatic, sometimes thoughtful and even comic, this classic has entertained audiences for nearly 400 years.

Watch for season ticket specials coming in September.