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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Brandeis theater kicks off Spring 2015 season

Published: January 16, 2015
Section: Arts, Etc.

As a new semester begins, the Brandeis community prepares for students of all experience levels and all interests to join in on Brandeis’ creative and eclectic performances. This semester, students can expect a large variety of shows and numerous ways to participate in the Brandeis Theater Company.

On Jan. 30, the semester will kick off with “Two Dance Stories,” a soulful dance and movement piece created by director Susan Dibble and her ensemble. According to the BTC website, “Inspired by the poetry of W.H. Auden, one piece illustrates how people are propelled into movement through the rhythms and sounds of time, and asks what happens when the ticking hands of the clock stop. The other piece revolves around a small shop that hatches a plan to heal people through the ghost costumes it creates.”

Next, the BTC presents “The Way of Water,” a play highlighting the aftermath of the BP Oil Spill in the lives of individuals living in the Gulf of Mexico following the disaster. This piece seeks to highlight the lasting effects of an event whose features in national and international headlines do not measure its severity. This play, directed by OBIE Award-winning playwright Caridad Svich, will run from March 12 to March 15.

On April 21 through April 26, the Senior Festival will showcase the work of select seniors as they prepare for graduation. Each year varies as the students present their own compositions, act in a variety of shows and exhibit their many other talents.

Finally, the semester will wrap up with “A Night on the Clowns,” an event filled with music, magic and comedy performed by famous comedians, magicians and other entertainers who have performed in shows worldwide, even having appeared in the famous Cirque du Soleil. This semester’s shows are sure to captivate a wide audience, as each show is entirely distinct from the next.

However, the BTC invites students to do more than just watch. Alyssa Avis, management assistant, recommends two entry-level classes for students interested in taking a theater class, who may not have any theater experience yet. Both THA 21B and THA 177B are entry-level courses that teach the fundamentals of theater, the former being an acting-based course and the latter being an introduction to the backstage elements of theater production. These courses present the perfect opportunity for new or returning students to become involved. Whether students have acted before or not, or are looking to help build the magic backstage, a new semester is the perfect time to get started.

For students who have experience in theater or have taken the beginning courses, there are also advanced courses being offered. The courses consist of playwriting, lighting design and set design. THA 175A is The Art of Scenography II: Scenic Design and Invention for Performance. In addition, this semester will offer THA 185A, which teaches advanced lighting design, and THA 185B, which teaches advanced playwriting and dramatic structure. If students are interested in getting more information on these courses or are looking to enroll, they may contact the instructor for permission.

The Brandeis theater program involves students not only through their skills on stage or backstage, but also by incorporating other skills, for example, through dance, scenic design and directing positions. Although the shows have been cast for this upcoming semester, Avis recommends students wishing to be involved this semester to enroll in THA 30A, Theater Practicum. “You’ll get the chance to crew a show and experience the practical aspects of theater production,” she said. To keep informed about auditions, performances, workshops, and other special events, students may follow Brandeis Department of Theater Arts on Facebook, where upcoming season announcements, audition information and updates of theater productions as well as information about alumni achievements are posted.

Though the BTC alone offers an overwhelming number of ways to participate this semester, there are many other opportunities to be involved with performance arts on campus. Students may look to student-led groups for a capella, sketch comedy and improv comedy performances, either to participate as audience members or to get up on stage. With such incredible opportunities available this semester, whether it be a sketch comedy show in Chum’s Coffeehouse or a Brandeis Theater Company production, Brandeis students are invited to participate in a wide variety of performances.