It’s a month into the school year and Western theatre groups have hit the ground running.
The Arts and Humanities Students' Council hope to create intrigue with their 2017 production of Antigone by playwright Jean Anoulih. Set to hit the stage March 2017, play director and coordinator Camille Inston describes it as: “A kind of interdisciplinary, multimedia-infused approach to theatre.”
Jean’s adaptation of Antigone is a modernized Greek tragedy about the individual struggle against the law. “It uses more contemporary dialect to tell this story of a girl going up against her government and her uncle," she explains.
Inston believes that the play will draw interest from students due to its relevance with today’s political climate that's always in the public eye because of social media. She also adds that students have been approaching her, excited to see a text they had studied in class brought to life.
“The arts and humanities department does a lot of shows that take what we learn in the classroom and bring them to the community,” Inston says. She adds that audiences can arguably compare the character Creone to a Stephen Harper or Donald Trump character because the Athenian democratic system has so many ties with our own.
Concerns with politics and the justice system seem to be popular, as Theatre Western’s fall play also follows this theme.
“This semester we have Twelve Angry Men coming up from Nov. 12 to 19,” says Theatre Western coordinator Hailey Hill. “It’s a gender-blind production though, so the jurors are male and female,” she adds.
Hill explains that she was angry about the injustice of the Jian Ghomeshi and Brock Turner trials, which inspired the play selection.
“I think a lot of people can relate to the subject matter of the play, of just wanting to have a fair trial and wanting justice served,” Hill says.
She adds that Theatre Western plans to partner with a charity that helps women who have been sexually abused afford a lawyer. “We don’t want it to just be a performance, we want to give back to the community as well,” she says.
Along with the fall play, Theatre Western also organizes the student written play event, Purple Shorts. The festival will take place Feb. 13 and 14 with three plays per night.
For students who’d like to perform and receive course credit, English 2041F offers a unique opportunity. The special topics in drama professor, Joanna Devereux explains, “We do a production every fall and students can get credit for being involved either in the cast or crew.”
This year, the course will be performing a shortened version of Hamlet along with a Tudor interlude. “It’s a short comical play from the renaissance,” Devereux explains. She says that the dark tragedy of Hamlet and the lively allegorical short will make for an interesting contrast.
The play runs from Nov. 9 to 12 at the Arts Project downtown. Audition information for next year’s play and course enrollment will appear between January and February of 2017. Audition and crew calls for Antigone begin early October, with more information available on their Facebook page.