January 08, 2010
Knox College presents Tony Kushner's "Angels in America: A Gay Fantasia on National Themes" Parts I and II, February 25-March 6, 2010. The two plays, "Millennium Approaches," and "Perestroika," will be performed in nightly rotation, as part of Knox's Repertory Theatre Term. Tickets are $10 for the general public, $5 for senior citizens and Knox College alumni, and free to all students. Due to sexual content and strong language, the plays are intended for mature audiences.
Repertory Theatre Term, known informally as "Rep Term," was created at Knox in 1970 by emeritus professors Robert Whitlatch, Ivan Davidson and former professor Peter B. Young. Held every three years, the program allows students to spend an entire ten-week term working exclusively in theatre. The students take three theatre classes and work on all of the performance and production tasks found in a professional repertory theatre company.
REPERTORY THEATRE 2010 - PERFORMANCE SCHEDULE
Theatre faculty offered their comments during and prior to a company meeting with students as Rep Term began.
Elizabeth Carlin Metz, professor of theatre:
Our rehearsal schedule is more concentrated this year. There are only six rehearsals before the first "stumble-through." You'll need to come to rehearsal having already worked on your scenes, already thinking about the ways that you will move.
Kelly Lynn Hogan, visiting instructor in theatre:
Let me add to what Liz [Carlin Metz] just said -- you should come to rehearsal having already rehearsed your scenes twice.
Neil Blackadder, professor and chair of theatre:
Rep Term is a 'total immersion' program -- it has a 24/7 nature. You're part of a team that experiences frustration and hard work and getting on each other's nerves, but also moments of excitement. You're moving gradually toward the end point of creating a piece of work that you can feel proud of and that you know would not have come about without your contribution.
Craig Choma, associate professor of theatre:
It will be an abstract set that will use layers to reveal. We'll use some 'lighting graphics,' which means you'll be able to see the shapes of the beams, it won't be just a spot on the floor. We'll also use some projections to help tell our story.
Sherwood Kiraly, distinguished writer in residence:
I'm really glad to be here this term, when you're doing these two plays. They are astonishing masterpieces that sum up an era.
I worked hard at theatre at Knox -- a lot harder than I worked at anything else... I don't remember a lot about the plays that we did at that first Rep Term [in 1970, featuring "Seven Against Thebes," "Antigone" and "Love's Labors Lost."] What I remember about Rep Term is the colors, the feelings that I had at the performances. Even today when I have an 'actor's nightmare,' I still have it right here, on the Harbach stage.
More about Repertory Theatre Term participants:
Elizabeth Carlin Metz is professor of theatre and director of "Perestroika." In addition to her work at Knox she is co-founder of the award-winning Chicago company, Vitalist Theatre. She also served as an assistant director at the Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles for the premiere of Ariel Dorfman's play "Widows," adapted from his novel with Tony Kushner.
Kelly Lynn Hogan is visiting instructor in theatre and director of "Millennium Approaches." A graduate of Knox College with honors in theatre and writing, and a veteran of Repertory Theatre Term, she has a master's in performance studies from the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University. Most recently she directed the Knox College production of "Intimate Apparel."
Craig Choma is associate professor of theatre and designer of sets and lighting for "Angels in America." He is also an alumnus of Repertory Theatre Term and Knox College, earning his bachelor's degree in theatre and philosophy. He completed master's degrees in set design and lighting design at Carnegie Mellon University. He has designed sets and lighting for numerous productions at Knox and in Chicago for Vitalist Theatre.
Thirty-six students... Kelly Lynn Hogan observed: "Tony Kushner's 'Angels in America' contains themes and characters that are very poignant and relevant to our students -- indeed, to our America -- those of gay rights, racial inequality, political and religious freedoms.
Rep Term Retrospective:
"The outpouring of interest from students is thrilling, propulsive; these shows have full commitment from students and faculty alike. We regularly have had Rep Term participants who are not theatre majors or minors, but the response this year has been wonderfully diverse, from all disciplines of study, from students with relatively no experience in multiple aspects of the theatre, to those who have been consistent contributors to the theatrical arts."
Photos: Top of page, Lyle Lippincott models the make-up for her character, Oceania, in "Perestroika." Others above, from company meeting in Harbach Theatre; right, model of set design.