While most CSU students donâ€™t usually think â€œoperaâ€ when considering what to do with their Friday night, â€œThe Turn of the Screw,â€ written by Benjamin Britten and directed by Tiffany Blake, promises to be interesting, with the intrigue of a ghost story deliberately left ambiguous to the viewer.
â€œI want to give the audience the same experience I had in studying the story,â€ Blake said. â€œIâ€™m presenting the piece as ambiguously as possible so that the audience can make their own assumptions.â€
â€œThe Turn of the Screw,â€ presented by the Charles and Reta Ralph Opera Center with the CSU Sinfonia Orchestra, opens tonight at 7:30 p.m. at the Griffin Concert Hall in the University Center for the Arts. Tickets are $20 for non-students, $10 for CSU students and $1 for youths 17 and younger.
The cryptic nature of the opera has provided a challenge for the studentsâ€™ acting abilities, as well as their musical talent. Music major Mira Madorsky, one of the actresses who plays Flora, said, â€œItâ€™s been very musically challenging. You canâ€™t depend on the music to tell the story.â€
Music major Anastasia Gray, one of the students who plays Miles, said, â€œThere are a lot of scenes where (our characters) donâ€™t say anything, so it was really a challenge as actors.â€
She added, â€œItâ€™s different from other operas because, in a lot of operas, you see a lot of overacting, but â€œThe Turn of the Screwâ€ is much subtler. Itâ€™s so ambiguous that you canâ€™t overact.â€
Publicity Coordinator for the Department of Music, Theatre and Dance, Carrie Care, said, â€œWeâ€™re really excited. Twentieth-century opera is very different, and itâ€™s really been a great challenge.â€
In addition to those provided by the playâ€™s enigmatic nature, challenges are found in the characters themselves.
Music major Alexandra Diessner, one of the Governessâ€™s actors, said, â€œTo be prepared for (my role), I had to understand the story from beginning to end and understand what characters contribute to the change of governess.â€
Gray said, â€œ(The kids) have very adult minds, and we needed to act that out and still act like children, and to portray different levels of maturity from scene to scene.â€
â€œAnd different levels of sanity,â€ added Madorsky with a laugh. â€œOur characters have evolved so much as weâ€™ve begun the rehearsal process. They really feel like a whole different animal now.â€
Gray found additional challenge in playing the part of a boy.
â€œI played Peter Pan in high school,â€ he said, â€œbut I still tried talking to guys about things like how they walk and how they move.â€
Despite premiering in 1954 in Venice and the fact itâ€™s based on Henry Jamesâ€™ novella published in 1898, the play is still believed to be both relevant and accessible to a modern audience.
â€œItâ€™s most definitely still interesting and relevant today,â€ Madorsky said. â€œAnd itâ€™s a ghost story, which I think transcends time periods.â€
â€œItâ€™s so unlike its setting (late 1800s),â€ added Gray. â€œKids are still growing up and inevitably losing their innocence, which is a major theme in this play.â€
According to Madorsky, the production is great for people willing to push their boundaries.
â€œItâ€™s appealing to a mature audience, to people interested in the details who like to analyze things,â€ said Gray.
One of the narrators, music major Nate Alpers, added, â€œItâ€™s good for an educated audience.â€
Given that CSU is first and foremost a place of learning, such an audience ought to be close at hand.
Collegian writer Emily Kribs can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
What: A supernatural spectacle
Where: Griffin Concert Hall, University Center for the Arts
When: Tonight, March 30 and 31, 7:30 p.m., Sunday matinee on March 25 at 2 p.m.
Cost: $20 for non-students, $10 for CSU students and $1 for youths 17 and younger