Theatre performance begins Feb. 13

The Department of Theater and Dance will present the play “The Madwoman of Chaillot” beginning Feb. 13 and running through Feb. 16. The play will be performed on the Main Stage of the University Theater Center at 8 p.m. on all four days. There will also be a special 2 p.m. matinee performance on Feb. 16.”Madwoman,” written by Jean Giradoux in the ’40s, is a poetic fantasy-fable about Countess Aurelia, played by junior Kira Brasel, and her comrades who fight for the common good against evil businessmen who seek to destroy Paris. The industrialists wish to unearth a fortune’s worth of oil that rests under the city, and Aurelia, the Madwoman in the title, must lead her forces against them. They seek to crusade against greed and materialism so they may return joy, justice and love their city.Theater Professor Maureen McIntyre directs the play. She said although the play was written back in the ’40s, it still has a strong message about preserving the environment from destruction by industrial profiteering.”Very current issues like the Enron debacle can be addressed by this play,” said McIntyre.She said she enjoys the play and was drawn to it because it is a romantic comedy with a touch of fantasy.”I also picked it because I could get a lot of my wonderful students on stage,” she said.McIntire also said the play is an exciting, fun production with a lot of heart, as well as big sets and good costumes.”It’s a huge show,” said McIntyre. “We hope it’s a celebration of all the things we want to keep joyous in our lives.”According to McIntyre, the character of Countess Aurelia is “fun, dear, bossy, charming, a bit confused, but a good leader” and that Brasel is an amazing young woman who worked hard for the part.Many people participated in the production of the play, and McIntyre said she was blessed with her assistant director Brian Upchurch, as well as all the other people who worked behind the scenes.Other principal actors include Zach Arrington, Connor Bartely, Tye Blue, Sharna Christensen and Jennifer Davies. Junior Shavon Wagner serves as stage manager with assistance from freshman Lee-Anna Hamilton, and faculty member Shawn Fisher designed the set. Dr. Thomas Soare created the play’s lighting design, and junior Juan Felix worked on sound design.Faculty member Kristina Hanssen and senior Krystal Davis designed costumes.The choreographer for “Madwoman” is Dr. Cindy Gratz, the associate professor of dance for the department. She headed up two dance rehearsals for the play where she taught the students dances, such as “The Madwoman Mazurka.”Gratz said the Mazurka itself is similar to a waltz, and about 20 people will be on stage during the dance scene.”To have that many people dancing the Mazurka together was really funny,” said Gratz. “The actors really knew their characters well, so it wasn’t hard.”Gratz said working with the students was easy since they stayed so much in character during the rehearsal, and the play itself will be a fun experience.”It’s got these rich metaphors in it, and I perceive Mrs. McIntyre as magical by the way she communicates her ideas to the students and makes them portray her images on stage,” said Gratz. “It should be a high energy, fantastic performance.”Theater Manager Penny Hasekoester said the play was chosen at the beginning of the school year from a list submitted by faculty and staff.”It was very popular when it was written,” she said.McIntyre said the ultimate message of the play is about good guys who want to keep the world beautiful despite the actions of evil corporations.”Beauty and truth and even general love can survive in this world and triumph if you keep an eye on the bad guys,” she said.The price of tickets is $10 per person and $8 for senior citizens or SHSU students with an I.D. To make reservations or for more information, call the University Theater Center Box Office at 294-1339.

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