Shocking set hits the UCA

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Feb 012011
 
Authors: Anna Baldwin

This week at the University Center for the Arts, audiences will get the unique opportunity to see two main stage productions performed by the Theatre Department: “bash,” which premiered Monday night and “Some Girl(s),” which premiers tonight at 8 p.m.

In place of the customary single play, these two plays will give the student actors more opportunities, said Walt Jones, the director of both productions.

Both plays were written within the last 10 years by acclaimed writer and director Neil LaBute.

“LaBute is very prolific, and he’s willing to paint the purest picture of what people are capable of,” Jones said. “He’s relentless.”

Some New York critics have named LaBute one of today’s best writers, Jones said.

Both plays offer different experiences, “bash” is dark and “Some Girl(s)” has a lighthearted tone.

“bash” is made up of a trio of one-act plays titled “Iphigenia in Orem,” “A Gaggle of Saints” and “Medea Redux,” with the first act dealing with a businessman who confides a chilling secret to a stranger and the final act that tells of a woman’s relationship with a schoolteacher. All three are based on Greek plays.

But despite the different tones, there are vast similarities between the plays, including how in both LaBute features the evil seen in everyday life through various complex and grim situations.

Jakob Burleson, who plays all-American guy John in “bash,” says each play conveys a study of humans and how we interact.
“There’s a buildup in all three acts with subtle hints of what might happen, but the audience doesn’t really know what’s going on,” Burleson said. “I don’t know if the audience will be ready for the big surprise at the end.”

“All of the stuff in “bash” is as heavy as a rock hitting the floor,” Jones said.

“Some Girl(s)” is a tale about human manipulation featuring a man who, with an impending marriage on the horizon, decides to go on a reconciliatory journey to visit old flames across the country in five different hotel rooms.
The young man, a shallow man described as having “sexy eyes,” was once notorious for fleeing from his girlfriends with no explanations, and now he’s trying to make amends.

“At face value, he looks like a monster who breaks hearts for fun, but it’s really not much worse than other guys in relationships,” said Kryssi Miller, who plays Bobbi. “In this way it’s very relatable to college.”

Miller, as Bobbi, one of the five “girls,” and also the “one that got away,” says that the script of “Some Girl(s)” contains many humorous one-liners and digs into other characters.

“I’m the girl that gets to say what every girl wishes she could say to a guy,” Miller said.

In both plays there are two people maximum on stage at one time, which allows the productions to be very monologue-driven.

“The audience becomes the person that the actors are talking to,” Jones said. “The audience becomes the group of friends, the stranger and even a cop.”

Both plays contain adult language –– not appropriate for youth under the age of 17.

UCA beat reporter Anna Baldwin can be reached at verve@collegian.com.

See the plays

What: Two plays by Neil LaBute, “bash” and “Some Girl(s)”
Where: University Dance Theatre, University Center for the Arts
When: “bash,” Feb. 3, 7 at 8 p.m. and Feb. 5 at 4 p.m.; “Some Girl(s),” Feb. 2, 4 at 8 p.m. and Feb. 5 at 1 and 9 p.m.
Tickets: $9 for CSU Students, $18 for the public and are available at the UCA ticket office, by phone at 970-491-2787, or online.

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