Story by Mitchell Brown, for the Muleskinner — The UCM theater department is getting ready to unveil its 2012-2013 season, with the theme of “Vibrant American Voices.”
Richard Herman, department chair, said the plays for this season were all written by American playwrights.
Kicking off the season will be the Tony Award winning musical “The Drowsy Chaperone,” which runs Oct. 3-7. It is a musical comedy set in the 1920s that parodies the musicals of that era. It has a large cast of 24 actors.
“Street Scene,” a drama centered on the lives of immigrants in a circa 1929 New York City, runs April 24-28, 2013.
Herman said the subject matter of “Street Scene” is still relevant to the present. He also said that during the run of the play he will have five small bit-parts filled by members of the Warrensburg community, played by different people each night.
During the play, the audience will get a strong message about inequality.
“Theatre is a great teaching tool,” Herman said.
In the era of Netflix and the iPod, Herman said the theater experience remains pertinent.
“Theater can give the audience something they can’t get anywhere else,” he said.
He added that he doesn’t get the same feeling from a computer or iPod.
“When people sit at home watching TV, or even go as far as the movie theater, they aren’t given the opportunity to see a production in process,” said Kayla Lopez, senior theatre major. “Rather, they see a production fully rehearsed, edited and revamped. Live theater is a living being. One can never see the same performance twice. The show changes night by night.”
Speaking about a controversial work performed on campus last semester, “How I Learned To Drive,” Alexis Morris, junior musical theater major, described the heightened emotional impact that comes from the live experience. The play was about a young woman who was molested by her uncle.
Morris said people could see the same theme on a TV show show like “CSI: Miami” and not be affected in the same way.
“It’s the same thing, but you are not bothered because you’re not connected to it,” Morris said.
She said plays that focus on more serious subject matter can help people learn about emotions.
Herman said he thinks theater will continue to thrive in the digital age because it’s a communal experience and social event.
“As humans we need to connect with other people,” Morris said. “I think theater is the perfect way to do it.”
Other plays featured this season are “And We Will Share The Sky,” which runs Oct. 26-27. It is an adaptation of a Nigerian folk tale.
“Blue Window” runs Nov. 13-17. It is a contemporary story of seven New Yorkers at a dinner party.
“Death Trap,” running Feb. 20-24, 2013, is a murder mystery and “Louder Than Words,” March 8-9, is a dance production.
More information on the 2012-2013 UCM theatre season can be found at ucmo.edu/theatre/calendar/index.cfm.