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Student-Produced "Audience/Protest" Plays at Catawba College Oct. 20-23

October 06, 2010

Category: Events, Students, Theatre Arts


Audience/ProtestBy Mara Stewart '11, Catawba College News Service
Photos by Kaylee Johnson

Do you want a brief glimpse into life in a totalitarian state? Audience-goers will see it in Catawba College's upcoming production of "Audience/Protest," to be performed at 7:30 p.m. October 20-23 in the Florence Busby Corriher Theatre on campus.

The play, written by Vaclav Havel and translated by Jan Novak, is composed of two pieces that together illustrate the struggles individuals face when their emotional and moral needs are cast aside in the interest of national solidarity. The production looks at life in a world where conformity is essential for survival and the needs of the state systematically deconstruct the needs of the individuals.

Audience/ProtestStudent-directed, "Audience/Protest" gives the audience an opportunity to experience life in a totalitarian state through the character Ferdinand Vanek. "Audience" takes place in a brewery after Vanek has recently been released from prison. He is confronted by the Brewmaster, who tries to use Vanek's political status for personal gain. "Protest" follows Vanek to the home of an old friend and fellow dramatist, Stanek, who seeks Vanek's help in composing a letter protesting the politically motivated arrest of a young artist.

Director Ryan O'Hare of Milwaukee, Wis., was drawn to the show because of its examination of political forces on the personal lives of individuals. "I really found it fascinating how Havel portrayed the fracturing of these individuals," O'Hare says. "They are continually forced to exist in a situation where they must continually lie to themselves, and the crisis this creates for their identity cannot be disguised any longer."

Lighting designer Adam Stolzenberg of Salisbury, explains that "Audience/Protest" "occurs in a place that seems familiar to audiences, but they will discover soon that this is not a world they may be familiar, or perhaps even comfortable, with." He also points out that in the world of the play "...'glitches' go unnoticed by the cast, such as lights coming from places they shouldn't necessarily come from, this conveys the truth or the subtext of the scenes."

Set designer Liz Parsons of Mocksville indicates she "wanted to make the set non-localized, so this place could be set anywhere, in any country, at any time. I've chosen furniture that looks foreign, props that look abstract, and a window that represents the eye of the government."

"Audience/Protest" is a Blue Masque production and as such is entirely student-produced. Everything from the design and execution of the costumes, to the creation of the set and the look of the lights lies in the hands of the students. Members of the cast include Chris Herring of Oakboro, as Vanek; Ryan Glidewell of Marietta, Ga., as Stanek; and Greg Stoughton of Niceville, Fla., as the Brewmaster.Audience/Protest

Others involved in the production are Leana Guzman of Charlotte; Maggie Truxell of Cherry Hill, N.J.; and Tatianna Long of Kodiak, Alaska. Members of the Blue Masque Club also contribute many hours of work to make the production possible.

Tickets are $5 for adults and $4 for students and senior citizens. For more information or to make reservations contact the Catawba College theatre box office at (704) 637-4481.


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PhotosPHOTOS: "Audience/Protest" Theatre Productions

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