Knox College Presents 'Devised Theatre' Performance

February 17, 2009

Adam McDowell in Three Houses beyond the Fourth Wall

The Knox College Department of Theatre and Dance presents "Three Houses Beyond the Fourth Wall," a work of devised theatre, at 7:30 p.m., Wednesday through Saturday, February 25 through 28, in Harbach Theatre, Ford Center for the Fine Arts, on the Knox campus in Galesburg, Illinois. Tickets are $10 for adults, $5 for senior citizens, and free for students and members of the Knox community.

The performance is a type of experimental theatre known as devised theatre. The text, loosely based on myths and fairy tales, has been developed by the students in the theatre course "Theory and Performance." Lindsey Snyder, assistant professor of theatre, is teaching the course and directing the production.

"Some of the stories are familiar, such as Sleeping Beauty or Pygmalion," Snyder said. "There are moments of comedy and moments of sadness. Some have the very standard happy ending, and some do not. They don't fit neatly into any categories."

Lisa Choi and Randy Geary in Harbach Theatre Two cast members in Harbach Theatre

Above, Lisa Choi and Randy Geary in a scene from the segment "1U." Photograph by Po Ling Chan.

Above right, Cast members Kathryn Flynn and Lindsey Murrell chat during a break in rehearsal.

Right, Lauren Neiheisel, Michael Smith and Samantha Newport adjust a light stand.

Lighting crew works in Harbach Theatre

As the class worked through the term, which began in January, students chose an overall theme -- how individuals create identities within cultures, Snyder said. "Myths and fairy tales show what each culture sees as appropriate for the individual."

"Devised theatre means that the students themselves created the performances, taking responsibility for what they wanted to show," said Snyder, who characterizes her role as a team leader, who helps build the ensemble. "I came with questions, not answers."

"Students brought a wide range of experience, from first-years to senior theatre majors, and some thought of themselves primarily as actors, and others primarily as designers," Snyder said. "Devised theatre gives everyone a sense of ownership of all the pieces."

Devised theatre is improvised in the sense that the actors develop their own dialogue and movement. However, the performances are not improvised -- the script was finalized last Saturday, Snyder said.

The show is performed in the round, with audience seated on both sides of the stage.

The informal title, "Three Houses," reflects the structure of the play, three one-act segments, while "Beyond the Fourth Wall" indicates that the script and performance transcend the traditional boundaries between audience and actors on stage.

"Three Houses Beyond the Fourth Wall"
February 25-28, Harbach Theatre, Knox College

Director: Lindsey Snyder
Assistant Director: Adam McDowell
Stage Manager: Kathleen Dickinson
Co-Stage Manager: Lauren Neiheisel
Costume Designer: Analise Rahn
Costume Consultant: Margo Shively
Set Designer: Eli King
Set Consultant: Craig Choma
Lighting Designer: Kathleen Dickinson
Lighting Consultant: Craig Choma
Sound Designers: Lauren Neiheisel, Alix Dewald
Master Electrician: Kathryn Flynn

Cast Members
Segment: "1 U"
John: Randy Geary
Hannah: Mikah Berky
Meghan: Lindsey Murrell
Carol: Annie Ford
Dan/Leslie: Eli King
Real Estate Agent/Janet: Lisa Choi

Segment: "Cranked / In Demand"
Clara: Kelsey Ingle
Mother/Sarah Silverwoman: Gloria Feliciano
Maddy/Butterfly: Carlyse Owens
Sage/Maxton MaxMillion: D'Angelo Smith
Jerry Jones Jr.: Michael Kaminski

Segment: "Before I Wake"
Rose: Analise Rahn
Sleep: Samantha Newport
Wise Woman: Kathryn Flynn
King/Prince: Ben Lee
Paper Seller/Townsperson: Rohel Terrazas
Townsperson: Matthew Becker

Photo, left, a mysterious figure, played by Adam McDowell, emerges from a trunk to lead the ensemble in a dance that serves as a transition between two of the segments.

"Myths and fairy tales show what each culture sees as an appropriate path for the individual, what the culture wants its children to be afraid of." Director Lindsey Snyder