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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Department of Theater Arts offers something for everyone

Published: August 23, 2013
Section: Arts, Etc.

From portraying artists in love to celebrating 365 plays, the members of the Brandeis Department of Theater Arts plan to willkommen, bienvenue, welcome all to the fall semester.

Brandeis Theater Company will put on three major productions this fall, with the largest being “Cabaret,” the musical. All students, regardless of major, are invited to audition or enroll in a drama class. As the semester begins and auditions commence, advice on how to achieve the perfect performance seems simple.

“Auditions can be nerve-wracking, but if you prepare, you’ll be fine. Have your monologue or audition material memorized (if that’s what’s asked of you), be confident, make direct eye contact,” said Alyssa Avis, Management Assistant and House Manager for the Theater Department. “It’s an interview of sorts and you want to show the director that you can play this role—that you’re right for the part.”

The season will open with a performance of “The Seagull” by Anton Chekhov from October 3-12. “‘The Seagull’ […] is a new translation, which is really exciting,” said Avis. The play illustrates what it means to be an artist. Auditions are scheduled for after the start of classes, according to Avis, who also recommends checking times and dates on the Facebook page for Brandeis Department of Theater Arts.

Brandeis will be transported to 1930s Berlin, Germany for the musical “Cabaret.” Based on a book by Joe Masteroff accompanied by music by John Kander, the show will hit Brandeis from November 21-24 on the Mainstage Theatre.

“With ‘Cabaret,’ we’re looking for a wide range of students. That’s going to be a really big production,” said Susan Dibble, Director of Theatre Arts. Dibble recommends that students of all talents audition. “We love to have all levels of students. You don’t have to be a theater major or theater minor,” she said.

In the world of “Cabaret,” the two main characters Clifford Bradshaw and Sally Bowles fall in love, while the outside world begins to fall apart. Trapped in the decadence of cabaret and the Kit Kat Klub, the characters must decide if love is truly what is most important to them.

The final large production this fall is set for December 5-8. Pulitzer-prize winner Susan-Lori Parks, wrote one play every day for an entire year. Her final product is titled “365 Days/365 Plays.” Although Brandeis will only show a selection of her works, the production will cover much of what was written.

“They range drastically in themes, so there’s really something for everyone in there,” Avis said.

“‘365 Plays’ was chosen to support diversity,” Dibble said.

Each production will have different requirements for auditions, so students should keep an eye out for more information. “It could be anything from a contemporary monologue to a few bars from a musical, or both,” Avis said.

For those students who may not feel ready to leap forward into auditioning, Brandeis offers many theater classes, some of which are new this year, to quell doubts. Dibble is looking forward to one specific class titled “Making Mirth: Building Psychological Resilience Through the Power of Play.” Dibble, in collaboration with the psychology department, will teach the class with peer assistant Rocky Reichman.

“It is collaboration with theatre and psychology working together,” said Dibble. The course is a new offering for Fall 2013.

Other notable theater art courses offered this semester include “Modern Drama: Theatres of Rupture, Resistance and Engagement,” “Stage Combat,” “Vocal Gesture: The Expressive Use of the Voice” and “Signifying Character: Creating Meaning Through Costume and Production Design.”