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Creative Productions to Shine in Fall Theater Season

By Juliette Martin

Section: Arts

August 24, 2012

Due to an intensely competitive a cappella scene, a slew of comedy troupes, and not to mention the many theater groups on campus, each school year brings a new batch of performances. As the semester unfolds, each weekend brings some new theatrical event, and the coming semester looks to be no different.
Between September and December, the campus will be hosting three plays produced by the Brandeis Theater Company: “Escape From Happiness” written by George F. Walker and directed by Doug Lockwood, “A King of Infinite Space – Hamlet In a Nutshell” created and directed by Marya Lowry, and “The Glass Menagerie” written by Tennessee Williams and directed by Paula Plum. “Escape From Happiness” is a comedic drama written by a Canadian playwright centering on the life of a Toronto-area family. It is the third of a trilogy called “The East End Plays,” and was first produced in New York City in the early ’90s. “The Glass Menagerie” is the first hit play written by Tennessee Williams, who went on to become one of the great and renowned American playwrights, producing the now famed and acclaimed “A Streetcar Named Desire.”
“A King of Infinite Space – Hamlet In a Nutshell” is an adaptation of William Shakespeare’s dramatic masterpiece, “Hamlet.” Featuring guest artist Kate Kohler Amory, “A King of Infinite Space” seeks to re-imagine “Hamlet” as a type of multi-media exploration with music and martial arts. In a play where we’ve come to expect the same thing every time, it explores a fresh and modern look at the characters of “Hamlet,” as well as the relationship between dramatic creator and text source. Imaginative and original, expectations run high for the Brandeis Theater Company production held in Spingold Theater from Nov. 16 to Nov. 18. Additionally, this particular production is free and open to the public.
There is also much to be excited about in the coming months from the university’s Undergraduate Theatre Collective, a union of various performance-oriented and student-run groups on campus. In addition to the annual 24 Hour Musical (in which a musical is written, rehearsed and performed in exactly 24 hours) and a series of one-acts known as Quickies, UTC’s various groups will also produce four plays. The first play will be the Brandeis Player’s production of “Or.” A playful comedy written by Lizzy Duff Adams, Or chronicles the life of Aphra Benn, a prolific writer in the English Restoration, who is widely considered one of the first professional English writers.
From BET, or Brandeis Ensemble Theatre, comes “Metamorphosis” by Mary Zimmerman. First performed in the ’90s, “Metamorphosis” is an adaptation of the classic Ovid poem of the same name, staged as a series of vignettes. Drawing on the well-known Greek mythology, many will find “Metamorphosis” both familiar and new, and coming from the likes of BET, the production has great promise.
Following that, Tympanium Euphorium will produce “Bat Boy,” a comedic musical written by Keythe Farley, Brian Flemming and Laurence O’Keefe. “Bat Boy,” to be directed by Lizzy Benway ’14, is based on the 1992 fictional scandal of a half-boy, half-bat creature found living in a cave.
Finally, Hillel Theater Group will produce “Rumors,” a 1988 farce by Neil Simons. Neal Rabinowitz ’13 will direct “Rumors,” which tells the story of an ill-fated dinner party set in an affluent New York suburb.
Though the Brandeis Theater Company and Undergraduate Theatre Collective are Brandeis’ largest theatrical groups, every year a wide slew of plays and musicals are performed in venues as large as Spingold Theater and as small as the Ridgewood Commons.
Sometimes, in the thick of the academic year it can feel as though each weekend hosts a new production or two. Just note that each performance is worth attending. For new and returning students alike, this fall should boast another enjoyable season of theater at Brandeis University.

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