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Catawba College announces 2015-2016 theater season

The Catawba College Theatre Arts department will streamline its six-production 2015-16 season with explorations in form. The department’s thematic goal is to analyze “the conversation” that occurs in the creative act between the form of a work and its content.

“On the Verge” – “On the Verge” by Eric Overmyer opens the season as this playwright spins the tale of three early 19th century female explorers as they traverse a symbolic journey through time. The characters include the pretentious Mary Baltimore, the young and enthusiastic Alexandra Cafuffle, the conservative Fanny Cranberry and eight more colorful characters – all of whom are traditionally played by the same zany male actor.

The production will be directed by new Associate Professor of Theatre Arts Kindra Steenerson. “On the Verge” will run in Hedrick Little Theatre at 7:30 p.m. Sept. 22-26.

“Waiting for Lefty” – The first Blue Masque production of the season will be Clifford Odets’ “Waiting for Lefty,” directed by Catawba senior Melissa Tarduno of Indian Trail, who is pursuing her bachelor’s degree in theatre arts.

Odets pans into 1930s New York City while the Great Depression is crushing the city’s population full force and working families are put out on the street to starve. As citizens struggle to survive, a union of cab drivers declares “No more!” and they wait for their leader, Lefty Castello, to decide whether or not to strike. Revelations of greed, heartbreak, anger and injustice suffered at the hands of big business run through the ranks as the group struggles with the choice. Driven by demand for social change, this production lingers with the question, “What are we waiting for?”

“Waiting for Lefty” will run in the Florence Busby Corriher Theater at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 21-22 and 24-25.

“Godspell” – “Godspell” closes the fall semester and will be directed by Assistant Professor of Theatre Arts Joe Hernandez.

This 20th century musical by Stephen Schwarts and John-Michael Tebelak was one of the longest running off-Broadway musicals before it moved to Broadway in 1976. With catchy songs and brilliant colors, the elaborate ensemble of biblical and versatile characters dance and play through the incredible stories and teachings of the Gospel according to Saint Matthew. At its heart, “Godspell” is about a community coming together with Jesus to share in telling timeless parables of friendship, forgiveness, loyalty, and love.

“Godspell” will run in Hedrick Little Theatre at 7:30 p.m., Nov. 10-14.

“Eurydice” – Catawba College will greet the new year with a modern take on a classic Greek tale. “Eurydice,” by Sarah Ruhl, will be directed by Associate Professor of Theatre Arts Dr. Beth Homan.

A love story to what makes theater theatrical, MacArthur “Genius” award recipient and two-time Pulitzer Prize-nominated playwright Sarah Ruhl’s “Eurydice” is a grand re-imagination the famous myth of Orpheus through the eyes of his wife, Eurydice. The play is full of both figurative and literal transformations, revelations that are reflected in Ruhl’s characters, their stories, and often in the stage itself.  Playing off of these and what Ruhl describes as, “the pleasure of heightened senses,” Catawba Theatre approaches this endearing remix through the lens of moment work and devised theatre to create an experience like no other.

“Eurydice” will run in Hedrick Little Theatre at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 23-27.

“Woyzeck” – Following close behind “Eurydice” is the year’s second Blue Masque production, “Woyzeck,” directed by senior Morgan Summers of Gastonia who is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in theater education.

Left incomplete at the early death of its writer George Büchner in 1837, “Woyzeck” was finished by Karl Emil Franzos and has since lived on to become one of the most influential plays in German theater. Admired by both German naturalists and expressionist playwrights, Büchner’s play spins the semi-historical tale of a young soldier, Franz Woyzeck, in a small German town living with his bastard son and the mother of his child. Struggling to provide for his family, Woyzeck volunteers as a subject for medical experiments, which subsequently causes his mental health to deteriorate. Opening with a sin and closing with an “ertrinkt,” “Woyzeck” plays with the form of a working class tragedy. “Woyzeck” will run in the Florence Busby Corriher Theater at 7:30 p.m. March 30-April 2.

“The Outrageous Dance Project” – Catawba College will conclude its season with the second installment of “The Outrageous Dance Project.”

Back by popular demand is Catawba College’s crazy dance collaboration with alumni Richard Steinert, artistic director of Ballet Pensacola. This show will celebrate a wide variety of dance forms and styles ranging from classical ballet to ballroom. In this out-of-the-box partnership, Catawba College alumni and faculty member Meredith Fox and the current student dance ensemble team up with professional dancers from Ballet Pensacola to present an outlandish dance experience.

“The Outrageous Dance Project” will waltz across the Keppel Auditorium stage at 7:30 p.m. April 20-23.

Season tickets are on sale online, and can be ordered at www.catawba.edu/theatretix. Each of the shows presented this season represents a shift in perspective on theatrical form, a new shape for their time, crafted by the playwrights and choreographers to more effectively contain the political, philosophical, and aesthetic essence of each work’s historical and cultural moment.

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