Apr 092003
Authors: Amy Bergstrom

As Tori Fox attaches her extra sets of legs to become a spider, she laughs.

“If you could do bloopers in Broadway,” Fox said.

Behind the scenes of the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures’ all-French production, “Les Aventures de Yevi au Pays des Monstres” (“The Adventures of Yevi in the Land of the Monsters”), is a cast and crew that love to laugh.

The atmosphere off-stage is light partially because of the constant joking of Jesse Luken, who plays a giant and is a sophomore majoring in wildlife biology.

“It’s brought out the true cross-dressing giant in me,” Luken said. “I’ve poured every ounce of blood, sweat and tears into this play.”

On stage, the play is performed entirely in French, however there will be English subtitles projected over the stage.

“Les Aventures de Yevi au Pays des Monstres” is the story of an African folktale, which cast members describe as a political satire, and involves the use of live African drumming and dancing, while the actors wear African-style clothing and masks.

Fox, a freshman French major, plays the title role of Yevi, a spider who goes on a quest for food and gets caught in a land of monsters. “Yevi’s an idiot,” Fox said about her character. “The only thing he’s thinking about the whole play is ‘I’m hungry.'”

Sarah Dodson, director of the play and a French instructor, wanted to put on an all-French play to help her students learn French.

“I’ve always felt that one of the best ways to learn a language is to immerse yourself in it,” Dodson said. “Since I can’t take my students to France or Africa, I wanted to put them in an environment where they’d speak the language.”

Dodson showed no concern about people who may boycott a French play because of France’s stance on the war in Iraq.

“If people aren’t going to come because it’s in French, they are cutting themselves off from a really cool part of Africa and it shows their closed mindedness,” Dodson said.

Dodson commended the actors for taking on the challenge of acting in a foreign language.

“These actors have worked so hard and are very brave,” she said.

The actors have risen to the challenge, Dodson said. One actor, Mike Gates, came in on short notice to replace one of the lead roles and memorized his lines in a week.

“It’s not every day you get to do French theater,” said Gates, who plays “le Conteur,” or the storyteller, and is a freshman majoring in French and German.

“You have to pay a lot more attention, because it’s in French,” he said. “It brings up a lot of the problems with a foreign language, like intonations and pronunciation. It’s been a challenge.”

Gates and the other 19 members of the cast and crew will be putting on the play Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. All performances are free and will be held in Eddy Hall room 212.


“Les Aventures de Yevi au Pays des Monstres” (“The Adventures of Yevi in the Land of the Monsters”) will be performed Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. in Eddy Hall room 212. All performances are free and open to the public.

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