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Past Productions

A sample of past productions in the University Theater Program.

A Mouthful of Birds

This 1986 play by Caryl Churchill and David Lan explores a series of seemingly ordinary characters, each of whom experiences an "undefended" day, when the body is possessed by spirit, addiction, love, or desire. Like Euripides' Bacchae (on which A Mouthful of Birds is based), violent and unexpected transformations reverse conventional understandings of gender and sexuality, leading some characters to destruction and others to fruitful — but painful — moments of self-discovery.
Student actors sitting at a table on stage talking over a pot of coffee
Performed: Fall 2013
Director: Adrian Giurgea

Threepenny Opera

Inspired by John Gay’s 18th-century Beggar’s Opera, this brutal yet humorous show revolutionized the theater with its satire of bourgeois capitalism and modern morality. Through the love story of Polly Peachum and Macheath (better known as “Mac the Knife”), The Threepenny Opera portrays a society at the height of decadence and on the verge of chaos. With its unexpected plot twists, hummable tunes, and improbable happy ending, Bertolt Brecht and Kurt Weill’s masterpiece has been staged in countless productions all over the world. English adaptation by Marc Blitzstein. Presented through special arrangement with R&H Theatricals.
Student performers raise both arms triumphantly on stage.
Performed: Spring 2013
Director: Eleanor Reissa
Music Director: Dianne Adams McDowell

the world is round is round is round Visiting Artist Workshop

Visiting artists workshop

An exuberant version of Gertrude Stein’s playful, searching children’s book The World Is Round. Before its professional premiere in August 2013 (which featured Colgate professor April Sweeney), the world is round is round is round was workshopped with students at Colgate. VIDEO RECAP
Student performers interact on stage
Performed: Fall 2012
Director: Karin Coonrod
Composer: Gina Leishman

Spring Awakening

First appearing in 1891, Frank Wedekind's Spring Awakening wasn't performed until 1906, due to its revolutionary perspective on the agonies of adolescence. Colgate presented the Jonathan Franzen translation of the German classic, with attention to the strains and pressures placed on young people in our contemporary society.
Female performer leans affectionately against male performer on stage
Performed: Spring 2012
Director: Adrian Giurgea

Successful Strategies

L’Hereux Stratageme, a brisk, sophisticated comedy written in 1733 by Pierre Carlet de Chamblain de Marivaux and brilliantly translated as Successful Strategies by Timberlake Wertenbaker, depicts a world of social immobility. Servants and masters alike, animated by ardent and urgent desires, chase love where they see it. Speaking Marivaux’ demonstratively artificial language—encumbered as it is by deception and self-delusion—the Commedia-dell’Arte inspired characters run around in circles, buzzing with energy, going nowhere until reality catches up with them. Colgate’s production of this frenetic comedy explored resonances between the social life of eighteenth-century France and the etiquette of today’s online culture. LEARN MORE
Student performers address one another on stage.
Performed: Spring 2011
Director: Simona Giurgea

1500 Meters Above Jack's Level

A contemporary play by acclaimed Argentinian theater artist Federico León, staged in a site-specific production at Colgate's Glendening Boathouse.
Student performers pack into a bathtub on stage.
Performed: Fall 2010
DirectorApril Sweeney

Polaroid Stories

A raw, early work by celebrated American playwright Naomi Iizuka. Set in a world of street kids where, as one of the characters in the play puts it, "Stories and lies add up to something like the truth."

VIDEO RECAP
Student performer on stage illuminated with red light.
Performed: Spring 2009
DirectorSimona Giurgea

Jack, or the Submission and
The Future is in Eggs

In Jack, or the Submission (1955) and The Future is in Eggs (1957), French-Romanian playwright Eugène Ionesco satirizes life as lived in accordance with norms originating in prejudice. He finds inspiration in the absurdity of a world in which objects dominate and people are socially conditioned never to question the status quo. With humor and intelligence, he invites us to observe while being observed. As they march enthusiastically in the tunnels of conformism, the characters in these two plays appear ridiculous in their lack of perspective, hilarious in their instinctual force, and frustrating in their obstinacy. Yet, the noise they produce sounds strangely close to the music of our own lives.
Jack, or the Submission and The Future is in Eggs
Performed: Fall 2009
Director: Simona Giurgea

The Marriage

Written by playwright and novelist Witold Gombrowicz, The Marriage (1948) is structured as the dream of a Polish soldier stationed in France during the Second World War. The soldier, Henry, dreams about going home, where the war has transformed all he once cherished into a nightmare. Struggling to adapt to the violence that surrounds him, Henry ascends to incredible power through his dream but looses his soul along the way. "What does it matter that I'm healthy when my actions are sick?," he asks himself. Through Henry's dream, The Marriage addresses isolation and communion, power and fear, force and the loss of dignity--all through a plot centered on family, home, and love.
Students perform a dip while dancing on stage
Performed: Spring 2008
Director: Simona Giurgea

Miss Julie

The University Theater staged August Strindberg's powerful drama of seduction and class intrigue in two separate, simultaneous productions, offering audiences two distinct interpretations of this famously enigmatic play.
Student performer sitting at a table, miming the action of hanging herself.
Performed: Spring 2007
Director: Adrian Giurgea

Visiting Artists

The University Theater regularly hosts performances by nationally and internationally renowned theater and dance artists, including Grupo Krapp (Argentina), Takoy Theater (Russia), and Pig Iron Theatre Company (USA).
Students interact in a theater workshop

Children's Theater Workshops

This course offers students an introduction to performance through the creation of a play for children. Often the play is adapted from literature (story, fairy tale, myth). Students explore all aspects of collaboration in a final production at the conclusion of the semester. The course has a service-learning emphasis, which includes community-based projects and touring the final production.
Student performers dressed in white look at a book together on stage.