Having to mount his first production for the University Players away from Essex Theatre has been a positive experience, says drama professor Gordon McCall.
New to the faculty of the School of Dramatic Arts, he brings a fresh perspective to his direction of A Party to Murder, which runs this weekend and next in the Studio Theatre, Jackman Dramatic Art Centre.
“The good thing is, it’s all new to me,” McCall says. “I don’t have any experience with Essex Hall Theatre either, so one is as good as the other.”
To accommodate the change in venue—necessitated by a recent strike by CUPE Local 1393, which includes members of the company’s technical staff—he has added a context to the play: the characters enter a theatre at Hallowe’en to defy the tradition of keeping one light always burning to keep away ghosts.
“That is a wonderful tradition, full of mystery. And it comes naturally to young people to try to undermine these superstitions,” he says.
McCall came to the University of Windsor after having taught at Purdue, Simon Fraser and Queens universities. He has also served as artistic director at many theatres, including Montreal’s premiere English-language company, the Centaur Theatre.
Tina Pugliese, director of the School of Dramatic Art, says she considers her faculty “extremely fortunate” to have McCall.
“We look forward to his work as a director at University Players, and as an instructor in the BFA Acting Program contributing to the training and development of our students as the next generation of theatre artists,” she says.
For his part, McCall says he has loved his introduction to UWindsor students.
“It has been a very rewarding first journey,” he says. “The students come with a very open and generous attitude to one another and to the artform. My experience so far has been that they are eager to learn and it makes teaching such a pleasure.”
A Party to Murder will run October 24 to 27 and October 30 to November 3, with performances each evening at 8 p.m. as well as Saturday and Sunday matinees at 2 p.m. On Saturday, October 26, a “Talk Back” discussion with the director and actors will follow the 8 p.m. performance.
For tickets, call 519-253-3000, ext. 2808 or visit www.UniversityPlayers.com.