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BU Students Cue House Lights

School of theatre announces a packed fall lineup

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The new season of CFA’s school of theatre includes a one-night-only performance of Tom Stoppard’s Every Good Boy Deserves Favour on October 24. Photo by Kalman Zabarsky

Actors from the College of Fine Arts school of theatre are set to take the stage with an ambitious season of comedy, drama, and song.

“We are actively reaching out to all corners of the University to engage the community with diverse, provocative, and remarkable theatrical productions,” says Jim Petosa, director of the school of theatre.

The school’s 55th season opens with the 13th Fall Fringe Festival. An annual celebration of unconventional opera and theater, the festival is a collaboration between the school of music’s Opera Institute and the school of theatre.

This year’s festival, “Willful Women: Worlds Apart,” opens with The Good Person of Setzuan, one of German playwright Bertolt Brecht’s masterpieces. Shen Te struggles to lead a good life, but when greedy friends and neighbors take advantage of her, she invents a male alter ego to protect herself. Directed by David Gram, a CFA lecturer, The Good Person of Setzuan plays at the Boston University Theatre, Lane-Comley Studio 210, 264 Huntington Ave., on October 9, 10, 11, 16, 17, 22, and 24.

The next play, Diventare, written by Jenny Rachel Weiner (CFA’09), is a product of the school’s New Play Initiative. When Linda’s world collapses, she seeks refuge in an imaginary underwater kingdom. Directed by Ellie Heyman (CFA’11), Diventare opens at the CFA Theatre Lab, 855 Commonwealth Ave., on October 14 and runs through October 18; admission is free.

Next is Antigone, based on Sophocles’ classic drama and featuring music and a libretto by former CFA faculty member Marjorie Merryman. When Antigone’s brothers, Eteocles and Polyneices, kill each other, Creon, the new ruler of Thebes, refuses to give Polyneices a proper burial. Antigone resolves to bury him in secret, and tragedy ensues. Directed by Petosa, with musical direction by William Lumpkin, a CFA associate professor, Antigone is being performed at the BU Theatre, Lane-Comley Studio 210, on October 17, 18, 23, and 25. It will also be featured in the spring’s InCite Arts Festival in New York City.

Composer William Bolcom wrote Lucrezia for the 2007 New York Festival of Song. The one-act comedic opera, a “riff” on Niccolò Machiavelli’s La Mandragola, is retold from the viewpoint of Lucrezia, a seemingly virtuous woman pursued by the unscrupulous Callimaco. Directed by E. Loren Meeker (CFA’99), with musical direction by Allison Voth, a CFA assistant professor, Lucrezia will be at the BU Theatre, Lane-Comley Studio 210, on October 24, 25, 30, and 31.

The Fringe Festival’s final piece, Recital Meets Theatre, is performed by second-year Opera Institute singers and transforms the formal recital format into an intimate setting. It will be performed one day only, November 1, at 2 p.m., at the BU Theatre, Lane-Comley Studio 210; admission is free.

Tickets for Fringe Festival performances are $7, unless otherwise noted, and may be purchased online, by phone at 617-266-0800, or in person at the BU Theatre box office, 264 Huntington Ave. Performance times vary; check the calendar for a full schedule.

Next up is Every Good Boy Deserves Favour, composed by Andre Previn. Music students use the phrase to remember the notes (EGBDF) that sit on the lines of the treble clef. In Tom Stoppard’s play, two men are in a Soviet asylum; one, a schizophrenic, has conjured a full symphony orchestra, while the other, a political prisoner, must choose between his political principles and the life of his son.

Rarely performed because it requires a 47-member orchestra to share the stage with two actors, Every Good Boy Deserves Favour is directed by Petosa, with musical direction by Lumpkin. It will be performed during the fall InCite Arts Festival in Washington, D.C., with a one-night-only preview at the BU Theatre, 264 Huntington Ave., on Saturday, October 24, at 8 p.m. Tickets are $12 for general admission and $10 for BU alumni, students, senior citizens, Huntington Theatre Company subscribers, and WGBH members.

The house lights will dim in November. Then David Rabe’s A Question of Mercy and D. W. Gregory’s Radium Girls open in December. Written during the height of the AIDS crisis, A Question of Mercy explores euthanasia. It’s 1990, and Anthony is dying of AIDS. When his lover enlists a doctor to relieve Anthony’s suffering, the characters face a painful question: is this murder or mercy?

Directed by Petosa, A Question of Mercy plays at the BU Theatre, Lane-Comley Studio 210, on December 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 16, 17, 18, and 19. Tickets are $20 for general admission and $10 for BU alumni, students, senior citizens, Huntington Theatre Company subscribers, and WGBH members. Performance times vary; check the school of theatre calendar for a complete schedule.

Radium Girls takes place in a New Jersey radium factory, where workers paint watch dials with a phosphorescent radium compound. When Grace Fryer and other dial painters fall ill, they sue the U.S. Radium Corp. for exposing them to the deadly compound.

Directed by Elaine Vaan Hogue, a CFA assistant professor, Radium Girls (based on a true story) will be performed at the Boston Center for the Arts Calderwood Pavilion, 527 Tremont St., Boston, on December 10, 11, 12, 13, 16, 17, 18, and 19. Tickets are $12 for general admission and $10 for BU alumni, students, senior citizens, Huntington Theatre Company subscribers, and WGBH members. Performance times vary; check the school of theatre calendar for a complete schedule.

Members of the BU community are eligible to receive one free ticket at the door, subject to availability, with a BU ID on the day of every CFA performance.

Vicky Waltz can be reached at vwaltz@bu.edu.

1 Comments

One Comment on BU Students Cue House Lights

  • Anonymous on 09.21.2009 at 10:58 am

    A Question of Mercy was authored by David Rabe and is being produced by the University’s Boston Center for American Performance (BCAP), CFA’s professional performing arts extension. Tickets are slightly more expensive (and BU community seats are $10) because the show will feature a mostly alumni and faculty cast and design team.

    It’s also important to note the composer for EGBDF: the wonderful Andre Previn.

    Looking forward to the upcoming season! Thanks for sharing this news, Vicky.

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