A sneak peek at Theatre and Dance’s upcoming year

Lights, camera, action and a lot of hard work. The UAA Department of Theatre and Dance has plenty of new shows to perform this upcoming year.

UAA Theatre and Dance students perform the play “Rain and Zoe Save the World” on the main stage of UAA’s Fine Arts Building.

The theater students will be performing five new plays, including two which will be directed by senior students.

“Playhouse Creatures,” written by playwright April de Angelis, is the first to be performed this semester. Brian Cook is directing the English play, which is set in 1660, with opening day being Oct. 26. It will run each Friday, Saturday and Sunday until Nov. 4. “Playhouse Creatures” is notable for being the first play of women acting on stage.

Nova Cunningham will direct a new play this year and has the opportunity to take it to local schools in Anchorage. The play, “New Kid,” written by playwright Denis Foon, covers the topic of bullying. “New Kid” is a part of a class at UAA, giving the cast and crew opportunity to gain some credits for their production and the unique experience to gear it towards students younger than they.

UAA Theatre students rehearse “Earthquake ’64,” an entirely student-created multidisciplinary performance that carefully weaves together the personal stories, local experiences and science behind the 1964 Great Alaska Earthquake. The show will make its Alaska debut Feb. 9–18, 2018 in the UAA Mainstage Theater.

“A great opportunity for [UAA] students that’s very different than our usual season is that they get to be a part of this rehearsal process, but instead of the product, for example, being just a weekend or two, they’re really making last throughout the semester,” Cunningham said.

“New Kid” will be at UAA for two performances, Nov. 30 and Dec. 1.

Before spring break in 2019, Ty Hewitt will be directing another spring play, “Lysistrata.” The Greek comedy was first staged in 411 BCE, written by Aristophanes, though the translation used is from around 1984. In “Lysistrata,” a woman goes out to extreme measures to end the Peloponnesian War and comes to the conclusion for women to withhold sex from their husbands so the men can negotiate. Adult humor and themes are prevalent and is not recommended for children.

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Spring 2019 will hold one play directed by Paitton Reid and Taran Haynes each, both senior students directing as a part of their honor thesis.

Reid will be directing “Betrayal,” a three-sided story about an affair, told in reverse order. Haynes will be directing “Frozen,” a story about three characters dealing with trauma, loss and murder.

With the exception of Cunningham’s class, these plays are put on for fun and experience, getting students involved in acting and learning the aspects of putting together a show. Rehearsals start early in the semester and take dedication from the actors.

Each Thursday before opening day for all plays is student-preview day, allowing UAA students to view the play for free.

“Maybe there will be something that touches on the truth that resonates with you,” Hewitt said.

Tickets will be available for purchase at artsuaa.com.