University Players will return to live, in-person performance this month with a season that serves up a delightful display of laughter and love.
After two years of virtual presentations that explored the realms of Zoom theatre and challenged drama faculty, staff, and students to stretch the limits of the art form, the theatre company is inviting audiences back on campus. The season features graduating students from the BFA in Acting program.
“We are eager to invite audiences back to the theatre after a long two-year hiatus,” says Tina Pugliese, director of the School of Dramatic Art. “This season promises thrilling drama and comedy, along with familiar characters that the whole family will love.”
The season opens with Sarah Ruhl’s Dead Man’s Cell Phone, running Oct. 21 to 30 at Essex Hall Theatre. It’s a perfectly absurd dark comedy for the Halloween season. Fed up with a cell phone ringing on a table in front of a man nearby, Jean decides to answer it, unaware that the man has died right next to her at the café. This tiny action thrusts her into the life of Gordon Gottlieb, his mother, his brother, his wife, and his mistress. In a world saturated with technology and communication, Dead Man’s Cell Phone considers the value of real connection and the need we all have to unravel our complicated lives.
As we enter the holiday season, families will be thrilled to see Tinker Bell, a delightful take on the classic story of Peter Pan, Captain Hook, and Wendy in Never Land, told from the famous fairy’s perspective. From puppets and pirates to mermaids and crocodiles, this is sure to be a recipe for family fun. The show, written by Patrick Flynn and based on the works of J.M. Barrie, runs Nov. 25 to Dec. 4 in Essex Hall Theatre.
One of the more creative pieces in the season, 365 Plays/365 Days offers students an opportunity to stage a unique play by Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Suzan-Lori Parks. Written as a personal project over a one-year period, the playwright would write a short play every day, sometimes only a few lines long, sometimes with no words at all. The result is a deep dive into the human condition, at turns hilarious, touching and gut-wrenching. University Players students will take a selection of the 365 works and perform them on the Hatch Studio Theatre stage.
The final offering is a beloved romantic comedy and a classic Shakespearean combination of shipwreck, mistaken identity, unrequited love, and fools who speak the truth. Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare runs March 24 to April 2.
Subscription packages are available with special family pack pricing for Tinker Bell. Buy tickets online at www.universityplayers.com or through the University Players box office at 519-253-3000, ext. 2808.