The Southwestern College theatre department is back in full swing. Four major shows will be presented during the course of the 2012-2013 academic year, and three will take place in Richardson Performing Arts Center. Rehearsals have already begun for the fall productions, according to Roger Moon, professor of theatre at Southwestern College. The plays will feature an exceptionally talented group of student actors.
The season will begin with the Homecoming production of “The Miser” by Moliere, a comedy that takes the Homecoming theme of service learning to heart. “The Miser” is about a greedy man and his children who are anxious to get away from home.
“It’s a very funny comedy, a laughing comedy,” says Moon. Not only is this production a light-hearted fit for Homecoming, it’s a piece of classic literature, which makes it a perfect fit for theatre studies. “We wanted our students to have the opportunity of dealing with a classic, and when we found out the theme was servant leadership, we were looking at Moliere.”
“The Miser” will be presented Thursday, Oct. 11, at 7:30 p.m.; Saturday, Oct. 13, at 8 p.m.; and Sunday, Oct. 14, at 2 p.m.
The second major production will be “August: Osage County,” a Pulitzer Prize-winning drama by Tracy Letts. It presents an American family who are consumed by their greed and selfishness. Moon described it as a brutal, honest look at our American culture, our values, our self-centeredness, and the way these are destructive to family.
“It’s going to be tough,” Moon says. “Our audiences need to be warned, it has adult language. Though the play is a tragedy, not all will be doom and gloom; its saving grace is that it is also funny, helping audiences to laugh in order to keep from crying. Sit down and brace yourself for this. It won the Pulitzer Prize for a reason.”
“August: Osage County” will be performed Thursday, Nov. 15, at 7:30 p.m.; Friday, Nov. 16, at 7:30 p.m.; and Saturday, Nov. 17, at 7:30 p.m.
The spring semester will begin with the musical thriller “Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street,” by Stephen Sondheim.
“I have great fun with musical comedy, and so do the students, but they also like to deal with serious issues,” says Moon.
The thriller is described as a revenge tragedy about the destructive nature of revenge and the character’s inability to forgive himself or others. The department chose the show both for its popularity and for its music.
“Sondheim is one of the greatest American composers of all time. For students and audiences to deal with his music is very important,” Moon adds.
“Sweeney Todd” will be a full dinner theater experience. Friday, March 1, dinner will be served at 6 p.m. and the show will start at 7:30 p.m. Sunday, March 3, dinner will begin at 12:30 p.m. and the show will start at 2 p.m. Thursday, March 7, and Saturday, March 9, dinner will be served at 6 p.m., and the show will begin at 7:30 p.m.
The final major production will be “Parallel Lives,” the Gaffney and Najimy comedy based on The Kathy & Mo Show. It boasts an all-female cast of two or more. The comedy studies relationships between men and women and looks at what it’s like to be a woman in our world.
“These ideas are examined through laughter,” says Moon.
“Parallel Lives” will be presented Thursday, April 11; Friday, April 12; and Saturday April 13, at 7:30 p.m. in Messenger Recital Hall in the Darbeth Fine Arts Center.
Three of the four shows are new to the Winfield community and Southwestern students, which is another reason why the theatre department is so excited about this season.
“It’s important for us to create quality theatre for the campus and for the community that is a result of the educational experience of our students,” Moon says. “It’s fun to do shows that we want to do, but we really want to prepare our students as we entertain our audiences. We also hope to educate through entertainment and make us feel more empathetically about our lives.”