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Past Productions

A sample of past productions in the Department of Theater.

A Map of Virtue

Erin Courtney’s A Map of Virtue is a changeling: a play, a poem, a bird song, a moment of exchange, intimacy, terror, love and longing. She asks us to see what we don’t see and not to see what we see. She questions us--begging the difference between chaos and symmetry, choice and fate, and dark and luminousness inner spaces. She asks whose story is it, anyway. The Bird Statue? Sarah and Mark? Ray and June? Seductively she asks us is there a path to follow, a belief to have, a map to make. And we —can watch and be marked by this — this funny, strange, changeling of a thing.
Four students mime driving and riding in a car on stage under green lights
Performed: Spring 2016
Director: April Sweeney

KISS

Two couples meet for dinner to take their minds off the war raging around them. An unexpected profession of love, an untimely proposal, and one kiss later, one of the foursome lies dead on the floor. KISS breaks open cultural barriers as a group of western actors interpreting a Syrian play slowly realize the limits of their own understanding, and the suffocating effect of an oppressive regime.
Portrait of a face in a gas mask with lipstick marks on it
Performed: Fall 2015
DirectorAdrian Giurgea

Really, Really

College: a playground for trying out reality; a time to test what we are, what we could be, what we are not, and what we wish to become. A space designated for stretching the mind and exercising the heart, for meeting friends and making enemies, for falling in love. Really, Really by Paul Downs Collaizo is a play about college, about youth, about the effort of being oneself while keeping the pace with the fast shifting world and the expectations of others. It is a play about wanting the future.

The play focuses on a group of college students the morning after a huge party. It mirrors the turbulence and uncertainty of college life, while allowing each audience member to come to their own conclusion.
Collection of portraits of young people making a variety of expressive faces
Performed: Spring 2015
DirectorSimona Giurgea

Seeing the Beast

Human beings are paving the road to extinction for animals everywhere. Soon North American bats, polar bears, Bengal tigers, giant pandas, and thousands of other wondrous species will be relegated to the realm of children's books, taxidermy, and documentaries. Fear not: David Attenborough’s soothing voice will narrate their demise with elegiac ease. 

But what if we could bring the wilderness back. What if we could tip the scales so that ecosystems would restore themselves. What if we could turn down the dial of the deer population and turn up the dial of foxes, wildflowers, and songbirds. What if we could revive the majestic creatures from the forgotten age of the Pleistocene. Perhaps we can. If human beings can’t avoid playing God, then why not do a better job? Seeing the Beast, an original theatrical creation made by Colgate students and visiting artist Director, Scott Sheppard, challenges you to re-wild planet earth. Or just watch it on Netflix.     

 

a male deer head on the body of a person
Performed: Fall 2014
Director: Scott Sheppard
Dramaturg: Mason Rosenthal

A Dreamplay

A Dreamplay by August Strindberg is unique in that it features a dream as the basic setting for the entire production, abandoning conventional perceptions of time and space for reflection on symbolism, expressionism, and surrealism. As Director Simona Giurgea writes, “dreams are always more vivid, emotional, and distinct from waking life. Whether we attempt to find their meaning within a rational evolution of the self, focus on scientific explanations of their occurrence, or follow the theory of dreams where Freud abandoned it, we acknowledge their vital necessity: dreams are restoring our capacity to ask old questions anew.” In staging A Dreamplay, we are invited to reflect on the nature and significance of human relationships and human struggle, all the while leaving their subsequent implications up for interpretation. 

 


Performed: Spring 2014
Director: Simona Giurgea

A Mouthful of Birds

This 1986 play by Caryl Churchill and David Lan explores a series of seemingly ordinary characters, each of whom experiences an "undefended" day, when the body is possessed by spirit, addiction, love, or desire. Like Euripides' Bacchae (on which A Mouthful of Birds is based), violent and unexpected transformations reverse conventional understandings of gender and sexuality, leading some characters to destruction and others to fruitful — but painful — moments of self-discovery.
Student actors sitting at a table on stage talking over a pot of coffee
Performed: Fall 2013
Director: Adrian Giurgea

Threepenny Opera

Inspired by John Gay’s 18th-century Beggar’s Opera, this brutal yet humorous show revolutionized the theater with its satire of bourgeois capitalism and modern morality. Through the love story of Polly Peachum and Macheath (better known as “Mac the Knife”), The Threepenny Opera portrays a society at the height of decadence and on the verge of chaos. With its unexpected plot twists, hummable tunes, and improbable happy ending, Bertolt Brecht and Kurt Weill’s masterpiece has been staged in countless productions all over the world. English adaptation by Marc Blitzstein. Presented through special arrangement with R&H Theatricals.
Student performers raise both arms triumphantly on stage.
Performed: Spring 2013
Director: Eleanor Reissa
Music Director: Dianne Adams McDowell

the world is round is round is round Visiting Artist Workshop

Visiting artists workshop

An exuberant version of Gertrude Stein’s playful, searching children’s book The World Is Round. Before its professional premiere in August 2013 (which featured Colgate professor April Sweeney), the world is round is round is round was workshopped with students at Colgate. VIDEO RECAP
Student performers interact on stage
Performed: Fall 2012
Director: Karin Coonrod
Composer: Gina Leishman

Spring Awakening

First appearing in 1891, Frank Wedekind's Spring Awakening wasn't performed until 1906, due to its revolutionary perspective on the agonies of adolescence. Colgate presented the Jonathan Franzen translation of the German classic, with attention to the strains and pressures placed on young people in our contemporary society.
Female performer leans affectionately against male performer on stage
Performed: Spring 2012
Director: Adrian Giurgea

Successful Strategies

L’Hereux Stratageme, a brisk, sophisticated comedy written in 1733 by Pierre Carlet de Chamblain de Marivaux and brilliantly translated as Successful Strategies by Timberlake Wertenbaker, depicts a world of social immobility. Servants and masters alike, animated by ardent and urgent desires, chase love where they see it. Speaking Marivaux’ demonstratively artificial language—encumbered as it is by deception and self-delusion—the Commedia-dell’Arte inspired characters run around in circles, buzzing with energy, going nowhere until reality catches up with them. Colgate’s production of this frenetic comedy explored resonances between the social life of eighteenth-century France and the etiquette of today’s online culture. 
Student performers address one another on stage.
Performed: Spring 2011
Director: Simona Giurgea

1500 Meters Above Jack's Level

A contemporary play by acclaimed Argentinian theater artist Federico León, staged in a site-specific production at Colgate's Glendening Boathouse.
Student performers pack into a bathtub on stage.
Performed: Fall 2010
DirectorApril Sweeney

Polaroid Stories

A raw, early work by celebrated American playwright Naomi Iizuka. Set in a world of street kids where, as one of the characters in the play puts it, "Stories and lies add up to something like the truth."

VIDEO RECAP
Student performer on stage illuminated with red light.
Performed: Spring 2009
DirectorSimona Giurgea

Jack, or the Submission and
The Future is in Eggs

In Jack, or the Submission (1955) and The Future is in Eggs (1957), French-Romanian playwright Eugène Ionesco satirizes life as lived in accordance with norms originating in prejudice. He finds inspiration in the absurdity of a world in which objects dominate and people are socially conditioned never to question the status quo. With humor and intelligence, he invites us to observe while being observed. As they march enthusiastically in the tunnels of conformism, the characters in these two plays appear ridiculous in their lack of perspective, hilarious in their instinctual force, and frustrating in their obstinacy. Yet, the noise they produce sounds strangely close to the music of our own lives.
Jack, or the Submission and The Future is in Eggs
Performed: Fall 2009
Director: Simona Giurgea

The Marriage

Written by playwright and novelist Witold Gombrowicz, The Marriage (1948) is structured as the dream of a Polish soldier stationed in France during the Second World War. The soldier, Henry, dreams about going home, where the war has transformed all he once cherished into a nightmare. Struggling to adapt to the violence that surrounds him, Henry ascends to incredible power through his dream but looses his soul along the way. "What does it matter that I'm healthy when my actions are sick?," he asks himself. Through Henry's dream, The Marriage addresses isolation and communion, power and fear, force and the loss of dignity--all through a plot centered on family, home, and love.
Students perform a dip while dancing on stage
Performed: Spring 2008
Director: Simona Giurgea

Miss Julie

The University Theater staged August Strindberg's powerful drama of seduction and class intrigue in two separate, simultaneous productions, offering audiences two distinct interpretations of this famously enigmatic play.
Student performer sitting at a table, miming the action of hanging herself.
Performed: Spring 2007
Director: Adrian Giurgea

Visiting Artists

The University Theater regularly hosts performances by nationally and internationally renowned theater and dance artists, including Grupo Krapp (Argentina), Takoy Theater (Russia), and Pig Iron Theatre Company (USA).
Students interact in a theater workshop

Children's Theater Workshops

This course offers students an introduction to performance through the creation of a play for children. Often the play is adapted from literature (story, fairy tale, myth). Students explore all aspects of collaboration in a final production at the conclusion of the semester. The course has a service-learning emphasis, which includes community-based projects and touring the final production.
Student performers dressed in white look at a book together on stage.