Arts & CultureTheater

There’s a lot going on with University Theatre this fall



University Theatre is bringing a diverse portfolio of plays to campus this year. The fall features a work founded on the trials and tribulations of love. A modern and abstract piece highlights the winter. The spring term will begin with the story of a climate scientist that poses grave ecological questions and will conclude with a farcical tale of mistaken identities.

University Theatre, the premier performance sector of the University of Oregon’s Department of Theatre Arts, puts on several productions every year that showcase the talent of university students both within the Theatre Arts department and the community. This year’s schedule includes four plays and a faculty dance concert. Here’s a look at what the University Theatre has to offer for the 2014-2015 season.

First on the agenda is John Jory’s stage adaptation of Pride and Prejudice. Countless adaptations of the classic Jane Austen novel exist, as director Michael Malik Najjar can attest. The story holds special significance to Najjar, as a vintage edition of the book was the first gift he gave his wife. Upon attending a number of stage variations of the play, Najjar settled on Jory’s rendition of the play because “it highlights all the best parts of the novel. Certain versions were extremely long, over 400 pages…this one cuts away a lot of the fat.” The production, while retaining the original dialogue, will translate the immutable charm of Austen’s original work to a modern audience. Pride and Prejudice will be showing Nov. 7-22.

Winter term will feature contemporary playwright Caryl Churchill’s Love and Information directed by department head John Schmor. The play, a free-form and abstract work, features a cast of more than 100 characters to be played by a dozen actors and no cohesive plot. Love and Information uses fragmented scenes to raise questions about love and identity in a shifting digital world. Schmor remains confident that the play will be well received on the UO campus.

“A college audience is gonna get it right away,” Schmor said. “This generation is really the first to be fully comfortable in the social media world and understanding the weird separation of love and information.”

Love and Information will be performed in the Hope Theatre Jan. 22-Feb. 1.

Dr. Theresa May will direct Sila: An Arctic Tale, which will run during the spring 2015 term from Apr. 16 through the 26. Sila is the first installment of Montreal playwright Chantal Bilodeau’s Arctic Cycle series of eight plays, each focused on a different Arctic country where the changing climate can displace ecosystems and disrupt lifestyles. The particular work, set in Canada, weaves a story of conflicting interests of a climate scientist, an Inuit activist and her daughter, an Inuit elder, two Canadian Coast Guard officers and two polar bears as they struggle to coexist.

Finally, the year will end on a comical note with Shakespeare’s Comedy of Errors directed by Joseph Gilg. It tells the story of two sets of twins separated at a young age, and the resulting confusion when they suddenly end up reuniting years later. This is Gilg’s first time directing a Shakespeare work with University Theatre and he is aiming for a modern and unique take. Comedy of Errors will be running May 22-Jun. 6.

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Kaylee Tornay

Kaylee Tornay

Kaylee is the Emerald's 2015-2016 Hiring and Training Director. Formerly an ASUO reporter for the News Desk and writer for the Arts and Culture Desk, Kaylee has also interned for the Medford Mail Tribune and freelanced for the Bend Bulletin.
Ask her to discuss local journalism or for tips on throwing shade at people who take up too much room on the sidewalk.