The University of Redlands theater arts department’s planned spring production, The Pirates of Penzance, has been canceled unexpectedly due to internal complications. In the absence of a spring performance, the Bulldog met with Scene Shop Coordinator Annie Gibson to discuss the department’s plan for moving forward.
Gibson says that after the show was cancelled, she and her colleagues received an influx of interest from involved students regarding alternate opportunities for a spring performance: “All these students, after Pirates was cancelled, they came to us and they … still wanted some opportunities to [act] … there were multiple, at least five … who came up to the faculty and staff … and wished [we] were still doing something”.
At a forum that took place on Tuesday Jan. 28, students were given a space to voice their suggestions for an alternate production. According to Gibson, there were a wide variety of ideas expressed by students hoping to create a replacement show.
“We had a forum on Tuesday to discuss with all the students opportunities that they were interested in, and that varied from plays that only had like two people to plays that had bigger casts and more elaborate set production …”
When asked what would be doable at this point for the department, she regrettably replied:
“Unfortunately we can’t do a lot of production aspects in only two months, because usually we overlap the shows, so we were going to do Pirates starting last Wednesday, and since we couldn’t start on that one … we are now looking at smaller things to do … but still great opportunities for the students … we just had a meeting today to discuss what opportunities are doable for the department.”
Although she was unable to let on too much, Gibson can confirm that there will be future opportunities for students to act coming up this spring, and that the department is currently weighing their options. Gibson spoke with high regard for the students involved in the department, and made clear that there is a high level of comradery within the theater department. Speaking of the investment and enthusiasm of the students, she noted, “This whole department, the students just love acting and doing productions, they just want to jump on every opportunity they get and I think that’s really great.”
UPDATE: Senior Anna Klein will be directing a replacement production, Proof, in place of the canceled production.
The decision to produce Proof came after an impromptu audition by Klein in which the replacement play “would be decided based on who comes to audition.” Commenting on the play and her connection to it, Klein says,
“I have loved this script since I started reading plays for pleasure back in high school, particularly in the way that it deals with the subjects of loss, and hereditary mental health.
“Proof is a play about family, grief, mental health, and math. It tells the story the young but guarded Catherine, who grieves over the loss of her father, Robert. Robert was a famous mathematician who had become a legend at the local university for solving complicated proofs, and suffered from a severe and crippling mental illness. Just as Catherine begins to give in to her fear that she, too, might suffer from her father’s condition, Catherine’s older sister Claire returns home to help “settle” family affairs and Hal, one of the father’s old students, starts to poke around the house. What Hal discovers in an old speckle-bound notebook brings to light a buried family secret. It tests the sisters’ kinship as well as the romantic feelings growing between Catherine and Hal.
“I like to call it a dramedy, because while it deals with complicated topics, the characters are hilarious and vibrant and fun. My cast and crew is stellar, and while this process has been rushed due to the complicated circumstances, I am so very excited for this production.”