Department of Theater and Dance brings an entertaining and eclectic season

Beginning the academic year with a production of Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” the 2010-2011 Department of Theater and Dance production season has featured a diverse yet equally entertaining set of performances. This semester, the department continues its mission to deliver consistently outstanding displays of talent from SIUE’s students and faculty.

A Midsummer Night's Dream, a Shakespeare classic, performed by SIUE students last Fall.

The Spring 2011 calendar is comprised of major productions of George C. Wolfe’s “The Colored Museum” and Alfred Jarry’s “Ubu Roi” along with several, smaller and student-led pieces. Such productions include: Student One-Act play festival, Black Theater Workshop, Student Dance Concert and Bring Your Own Dance.

First on this season’s agenda is the Student One-Act plays on January 25-27. Peter Cocuzza, department chair and associate professor of theater and dance, said that this particular production is an excellent opportunity for students for several reasons.

“This is an opportunity for students to direct their own works,” said Cocuzza. “ For students who have not been cast in a lot of things, this is also and opportunity for them to get some on-stage performing experience.”

SIUE students showcase their dancing talents at the Student Dance Showcase.

The Black Theater Workshop performances will take place on February 11-13. The workshop, which features Kathryn Bentley, assistant professor of theater and dance, as the artistic director and Curtis Lewis, senior, as the student director, is a 10-year tradition at SIUE. The tradition began as primarily a celebration of black history month, however, according to Cocuzza, it as evolved into much more.

“It’s a wonderful evening of multicultural performances. There will be songs, scenes, original work and music at no charge,” said Cocuzza.

Cocuzza said that the department does ask for donations, however, as such donations are vital to keeping this annual multicultural tradition in existence.

“The Colored Museum,” on February 23-27 in the Dunham Hall Theater, is set to entertain but also encourage reflection on African American culture.

“‘The Colored Museum is a very popular piece that is done – not only at colleges and universities but also professionally,” explained Cocuzza.” “The really interesting thing about this show is that  Laura Hanson [associate professor of theater and dance] has brought in a professional costume designer who has worked on productions across the country to work on this show… so it should be just fabulous.”

The Student Dance Concert follows a few months later on April 6-10.

“This really is exciting,” said Cocuzza. “You really get to see the kind of dance that’s being taught here at the University and the quality of students that are coming through the program.”

"Miss Julie," performed by students in the Metcalf Theater during the Fall 2010 semester.

Another dancing opportunity for students, Bring Your Own Dance, comes on April 10.

“Bring Your Own Dance is another opportunity for students who maybe did not get into the Student Dance Concert or were late [on auditioning] or for whatever reason were not involved in the concert,” said Cocuzza.

The season closes with a production of “Ubu Roi,” directed by Chuck Harper, associate professor of theater and dance. According to Cocuzza, this unique production, which contains intense subject matter and dialogue, is a fitting way to close out such a diverse season.

“I think we would be doing our students a disservice if we didn’t try to have an eclectic season each year,” said Cocuzza.

For more information about shows including times and  locations or to purchase tickets, contact the box office at (618) 650-2774. The box office is located in Dunham Hall, room 1042.

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