DANBURY, Connecticut — The Western Connecticut State University Department of Theatre Arts announces its Spring Virtual Production Series. The series comprises four unique productions that will be broadcast twice over two weekends spanning Thursday, April 29, through Sunday, May 9, 2021. A ticket to each performance date will allow the purchaser to access the show over the course of 24 hours that day. Tickets are available at wcsuvpac.eventbrite.com.
“The WCSU Theatre Arts faculty is very proud of what we’ve been able to accomplish this year regarding our virtual productions,” said Department of Theatre Arts Associate Chair and Assistant Professor of Musical Theatre Justin P. Cowan. “Between last fall and this spring, our department will have fully produced and streamed a total of nine productions. Considering that most of our professional industry has been on hold for over a year, we are thrilled to not only be providing theatre to our community and beyond, but also to be providing such meaningful opportunities for our students. These productions have allowed our students to develop new skills; broaden their performance, design and technical experiences; and perhaps most importantly: taught them the importance of creation and expression during challenging times.”
Junior Bachelor of Fine Arts in Musical Theatre major Logan Farley, of Belvidere, New Jersey, said, “The thought of doing virtual Zoom musicals and plays seemed so daunting. However, leave it to WCSU to prove me wrong and make lemonade out of lemons! The faculty pushed us to create, work together, and perform in a time when those things seemed impossible. I have always been so incredibly proud of the work we produce here at WCSU, and I am especially proud of the work we did together as a team this year under such extraordinary circumstances.”
Streaming on Thursday, April 29, and Saturday, May 8, is “SWEAT” by Lynn Nottage, directed by Tim Howard. Filled with warm humor and tremendous heart, “SWEAT” tells the story of a group of friends who have spent their lives sharing drinks, secrets and laughs while working together on the factory floor. But when layoffs and picket lines begin to chip away at their trust, the friends find themselves pitted against each other in a heart-wrenching fight to stay afloat. This poignant play looks at the de-industrial revolution through the lens of a history play, but also delves into the issues of today: the economy, immigration, race-relations in America, and politics. Nottage’s “SWEAT” gives us characters filled with the good and the bad, and asks us to reflect on our own views and the views of others.
The next production featured in the Spring Virtual Production Series is William Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” directed and adapted by Pam McDaniel. One of Shakespeare’s most popular and acclaimed comedies, “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” tells the tale of love and marriage, order and disorder, and perception and reality. The play consists of four interconnecting plots, connected by a celebration of the wedding of Duke Theseus of Athens and the Amazon queen, Hippolyta, which are set simultaneously in the woodland and in the realm of Fairyland, under the light of the moon. “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” streams on Friday, Apr. 30, and Sunday, May 9.
Streaming on Saturday, May 1, and Thursday, May 6, is “The Covid Decameron,” directed and curated by Sal Trapani. “The Decameron,” written in 1348 during the Black Plague in Florence, Italy, is the inspiration for this modern and provocative series of reimagined stories of Giovanni Boccaccio. Students, under the direction of Trapani and collaborating with a team of designers and technicians, have devised original pieces that include an adult puppet show, a short musical, a series of dance pieces, short comedic and dramatic films, new songs, unique storytelling, a Zoom play, performance art and some surprise performances. This daring and entertaining event is not to be missed.
The final production in the Spring Virtual Production Series is “Hedda Freeman, a Contemporary Adaptation of Ibsen’s “Hedda Gabler.” This production is directed by Justin P. Cowan, and adapted by Cowan and guest collaborator Kamilah Bush. Ibsen’s “Hedda Gabler” is perhaps one of the most polarizing plays of the 19th century. Published at the height of Ibsen’s fame and performed across Europe, “Hedda Gabler” dares to study one woman’s psychological drives, and how they are both influenced and informed by her surrounding socio-economic environment. In this contemporary adaptation, Hedda Freeman finds herself in a marriage and a society that she can’t seem to reconcile or escape. Issues of race, privilege, identity and destiny come to a dramatic head as Hedda struggles to define what freedom really means. “Hedda Freeman” streams on Sunday, May 2, and Friday, May 7.
The Spring Virtual Production Series will stream on two consecutive weekends beginning Thursday, April 29, and ending Sunday, May 9. Tickets for each performance are $10. For $30, passholders will have access to one performance of all four shows, for the cost of three. Tickets and season flex passes are available at wcsuvpac.eventbrite.com. To learn more about the shows and to view behind-the-scenes footage and photos, visit the Department of Theatre Arts on Facebook and Instagram.
Western Connecticut State University changes lives by providing all students with a high-quality education that fosters their growth as individuals, scholars, professionals and leaders in a global society. Our vision: To be widely recognized as a premier public university with outstanding teachers and scholars who prepare students to contribute to the world in a meaningful way.