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Angels and Demons Theme of InCite 2012

Annual CFA festival heads to New York this weekend

A one-act opera about a man who kills his wives and a reimagined 90-minute staging of an epic drama are the featured events at this year’s InCite Arts Festival, which begins tomorrow and runs through Monday at the BMCC Tribeca Performing Arts Center in New York.

Created four years ago to promote collaboration among the College of Fine Arts Schools of Theatre, Music, and Visual Arts, the InCite festival focuses this year exclusively on theater. InCite artistic director Jim Petosa, director of the School of Theatre, says the festival gives students the opportunity to “bring work they are proud of to the most culturally significant city in the United States,” and to perform before an audience of alumni and theater professionals.

First up is a streamlined version of Henrik Ibsen’s classic play Peer Gynt, directed by Jason King Jones (CFA’12). Often running between three and seven hours, this is a breathtaking hour and a half. Jones says the play, first staged at BU last fall, grew out of a graduate directors scene study class assignment: to “take a play that you love and direct a 10-minute version of it.” He found himself asking “how to distill every element of the play to its essence so that what we were experiencing was actually more engaging than the 10-course meal that is the unedited poem.”

Jones describes Ibsen’s 19th-century drama as “incredibly timely,” asking questions that contemporary audiences grapple with. “What does it mean to be true to oneself? How do we define success and happiness? How do we reconcile our need to both raise up and tear down iconoclasts?”

John Zdrojeski (CFA’12), who plays the title character, also thinks the character will resonate with 21st-century playgoers. “The crux of Peer’s struggle, which is his inability to make a commitment to anything or anyone, is something we all experience at one time in our lives,” says Zdrojeski. He says Jones has preserved the original play’s romantic nature while “telling it through a minimalist, rock ’n’ roll, 21st-century lens.”

Bluebeard's Castle, Adrian Smith, Meredeth Kelly, Boston University CFA

Adrian Smith (CFA’12) and Meredeth Kelly (CFA’12) star in Béla Bartók’s Bluebeard’s Castle. Photo by Kalman Zabarsky

Alarming, creepy, and terrifying

Inspired by a French fairy tale, Béla Bartók’s Bluebeard’s Castle was first presented last fall by the School of Music and the Opera Institute as part of CFA’s Fringe Festival. The dark tale of a man who taunts his young bride, the production represents some of the finest work of the opera program, says Petosa.

The part of Bluebeard was originally played by two singers alternating performances. But in the InCite production, Adrian Smith (CFA’12) performs the role in back-to-back performances on Sunday. Smith says the part allowed him to stretch as an artist. “I really relished the opportunity to dig deep inside my psyche and find the deeper, darker aspects of my being,” he says. “As a young bass-baritone, most of my characters thus far have been comedic ones, and it was really satisfying to play someone who is truly alarming, creepy, and ultimately terrifying in his nature.”

Smith says he is honored to be able to sing the role in Manhattan. Sopranos Meredeth Kelly (CFA’12) and Celeste Fraser (CFA’13) will alternate as Judith, Bluebeard’s ill-fated bride.

Petosa says that both stories “deal with the paradox of human nature that makes us wonder if a character is essentially good or evil. Both stories are quite different from the other, but both present a related puzzle of seduction and alienation, darkness and light, good and evil…angels or demons.”

In keeping with tradition, InCite will conclude with a design and production showcase and a performance showcase celebrating the accomplishments of graduating School of Theatre BFA and MFA students—not just actors and directors, but scenic, lighting, and costume designers.

More than 100 agents and professional representatives are expected to attend. “This is an event that is perhaps our most formal way of introducing our students to the industry, alumni, and friends of the school,” says Michael Kaye, a CFA assistant professor.

“It’s really a celebration of the unique talents and accomplishments of the current students of the BU School of Theatre,” Petosa says.

More information is available here or by calling 617-353-3350.

InCite Festival, New York, Theatre Design and Production showcase

A scene from InCite 2011’s Design and Production Showcase. Photo by by Roger Meeker

Ticket Information

Peer Gynt

Saturday, March 10, 8 p.m.
BMCC Tribeca Performing Arts Center, 199 Chambers St. (between Greenwich and West Streets), New York
Tickets are $10 in advance or pay what you can at the door.
Box office: www.bu.edu/cfa/incite. Phone: 212-220-1460.

Bluebeard’s Castle

Sunday, March 11, 5 and 8 p.m.
BMCC Tribeca Performing Arts Center (address above)
Tickets are $10 in advance or pay what you can at the door.
Box office: www.bu.edu/cfa/incite. Phone: 212-220-1460

Design and Production Showcase

Monday, March 12, 3 to 9 p.m.
BMCC Tribeca Performing Arts Center (address above)
Admission is complimentary, but online reservations are recommended.
Box office: www.bu.edu/cfa/incite. Phone: 617-353-3384

Performance Showcase

Monday, March 12, 4 and 7 p.m.
BMCC Tribeca Performing Arts Center (address above)
Admission is complimentary, but online reservations are recommended.
Box office: www.bu.edu/cfa/incite. Phone: 617-353-3384

Can’t make it to New York to see the festival? You can catch the Theatre Showcase on Monday, March 26, starting at 6 p.m. at the College of Fine Arts, 855 Commonwealth Ave. The event kicks off with the Design and Production Showcase and a reception in Studio 102, followed by the Performance Showcase at 7 p.m. in the TheatreLab@855. The event is free and open to the public, but because of limited seating, reservations are required. Contact Liz Phillips at mazar@bu.edu by March 23 to attend.

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john o'rourke, editor, bu today
John O’Rourke

John O’Rourke can be reached at orourkej@bu.edu.

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