Archive for Sunday, August 15, 1999


August 15, 1999


For the first time in many years, University Theatre will stage a Henrik Ibsen play and a historical drama by William Shakespeare.

Del Unruh uses the "E" words to describe University Theatre's lineup for 1999-2000.

"It's an exciting season, and it certainly is an eclectic one," Unruh, director of University Theatre, said.

How else would you characterize a season that begins with "Schoolhouse Rock," includes Steve Martin's "Picasso at the Lapin Agile" and ends with Shakespeare's "Henry IV, Part I"?

"We start with 'Schoolhouse Rock'," Unruh said. "" We have an hour version for the schools and a 90-minute version for adults."

The musical, based on the popular children's television show and written by Scott Ferguson, Kyle Hall and George Keating, will be a co-production of Kansas University's Theatre for Young People and the community-based Seem-To-Be Players. Ric Averill, artistic director of the Seem-To-Bes, will direct the show.

"We have heard for young adults it's a part of their culture," he said. "We want them to bring their kids, and we hope everyone has a good time."

The adult version will be presented Oct. 8-9, 16-17 and 21-23 while school performances will be staged Oct. 11-15, all in Crafton-Preyer Theatre in Murphy Hall.

After its KU run, the Seem-To-Be Players will inherit the set and take the show on tour.

The Inge Theatre will get its first fall production when the virtual-reality play "Machinal" opens Oct. 28. The show, directed by Ron Willis, professor of theater and film, will run through Nov. 6.

"It's a play by Sophie Treadwell about the oppression of individuals by society, industry and business," Unruh said.

Mark Reaney, associate professor of theater and film, will oversee the virtual-reality aspects of the production.

"Picasso at the Lapin Agile," the brainchild of comedian-actor Steve Martin, will be directed by Doug Weaver, lecturer in theater and film, and run Nov. 12-14 and 18-20 in Crafton-Preyer Theatre.

"It's about an imaginary encounter between Einstein and Picasso," he said. "It's a very funny play."

"Picasso at the Lapin Agile" pits the inventor and the painter against each other in a battle of ideas about painting, probability, lust and the future of the world.

The fall semester's lineup will conclude with "The Suicide," a comedy by Nikolai Erdman that will be directed by Russian Veniamin Smekhov, who will be visiting the KU campus.

The play will be presented Nov. 29-30 and Dec. 1-6 in Inge Theatre.

"It's about a young man who's married and in despair about life and decides he will kill himself," Unruh said. "Word of the plan leaks out and he is besieged by others who want him to kill himself but take their names."

The spring semester will be kicked off with Theatre for Young People's production of "The Ugly Ducking," written by Pamela Sterling with music and lyrics by Chris Limber.

"It's the classic tale told with Japanese theater techniques," Unruh said. "It promises to be very interesting."

Jeanne Klein, associate professor of theater and film, will direct the show. School performances are slated Feb. 7-11, with a public performance on Feb. 12, all in Crafton-Preyer Theatre.

Delores Ringer, associate professor of theater and film, will sit in the director's chair for "Fen," a drama by Caryl Churchill. The play will be presented Feb. 17-20 and 22-26 in Inge Theatre.

"It's a dramatization of rural English life around the turn of the century. It's about what happens to people who lose their ties to the land because of sociological, economic or political reasons," he said. "(Churchill) believes as we lose land we lose the ability to connect with each other."

Unruh said during his 22 years with University Theatre a play by Henrik Ibsen has never been done. That will be remedied in March when

See UT, page 8E

"Hedda Gabler" comes to Crafton-Preyer Theatre. The show, slated for March 3-5 and 9-11, will be directed by John Staniunas, assistant professor of theater and film.

"It's (Ibsen's) best-known play, and it's a real treat for everyone," Unruh said. "The play follows a woman who is trapped in a loveless marriage and secretly is in love with another man. She finds herself pregnant and kills herself."

The annual "Pot-Pourri Productions" will be presented March 31-April 2 and 4-8 in Inge Theatre. The productions are acting and directing projects by KU students and have not yet been selected.

The season will conclude with Shakespeare's historical drama "Henry IV, Part 1," which will be directed by Jack Wright, professor of theater and film.

"We haven't done any of Shakespeare's historical plays in a long time," Unruh said. "It has a huge cast, with armies. It's good for us to do this. It gives us a good stretch."

"Henry IV" will be presented April 14-16 and 20-22 in Crafton-Preyer Theatre.

"So the season is a smorgasbord, which really is what UT is about," he said. "We want to give the widest possible range of dramatic fare."

The annual University Theatre Rally is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. Aug. 18 in Crafton-Preyer Theatre. Auditions will be held Aug. 19-23 in Murphy Hall.

Unruh said more than 1,000 students take part in University Theatre productions each year. In addition to acting and directing, opportunities exist for those interested in set design, technical skills, costume design and other aspects of theater.

-- Jan Biles' phone message number is 832-7146. Her e-mail address is

Here is a list of University Theatre productions planned for the 1999-2000 school year:

  • Oct. 8-9, 16-17 and 21-23: "Schoolhouse Rock," 8 p.m. except for Oct. 17, which is at 2:30 p.m., Crafton-Preyer Theatre, Murphy Hall.
  • Oct. 28-31 and Nov. 2-6: "Machinal," 8 p.m., Inge Theatre, Murphy Hall.
  • Nov. 12-14 and Nov. 18-20: "Picasso at the Lapin Agile," 8 p.m. except Nov. 14, which is at 2:30 p.m., Crafton-Preyer Theatre.
  • Nov. 29-30 and Dec. 1-6: "The Suicide," 8 p.m., Inge Theatre.
  • Feb. 12: "The Ugly Duckling," 7 p.m., Crafton-Preyer Theatre.
  • Feb. 17-20 and 22-26: "Fen," 8 p.m., Inge Theatre.
  • March 3-5 and 9-11: "Hedda Gabler," 8 p.m. except March 5, which is at 2:30 p.m., Crafton-Preyer Theatre.
  • March 31-April 2 and April 4-8: "Pot-Pourri Productions," 8 p.m., Inge Theatre.
  • April 14-16 and April 20-22: "Henry IV, Part 1," 8 p.m. except April 16, which is at 2:30 p.m., Crafton-Preyer Theatre.

For ticket information, call the Murphy Hall Box Office, 864-3982.

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