The Berea College Theatre Laboratory’s 2011-12 main stage performance season, themed “The Enduring Power of Love,” will feature different tales of love from the palaces of Peking, China, to the rolling hills of the Appalachian Mountains, to Germany.
Opening the 2011-12 season is Carlo Gozzi’s “Turandot.” Set during the Qing Dynasty in Peking, China, “Turandot” is about a proud princess who is wary of men. Because of events in her past, Turandot, a beautiful, powerful and intelligent woman who knows what she desires, has developed a deep distrust of men who wish to win her love. Her father requests that she marries and, not wanting to be required to wed, Turandot makes one request of her father: that her suitors solve three riddles or face death for failing. Many patrons may recognize the title from the more famous opera which Giacomo Puccini adapted from Gozzi’s story. The play was written in 1762 and Gozzi said of “Turandot,” it was a “work of theatrical fantasy” and has also been referred to as a fairytale with light and sarcastic tones. It will include intricate costumes, masks, puppets and Commedia Dell’Arte movement. Directed by Deborah Martin, with designs by Shan Ayers and Mary Ann Shupe, performances are October 28 and 29 and continue November 2-5 in the McGaw Theater.
Acclaimed Appalachian author, Silas House, interim director of Berea’s Appalachian center, continues the season with a world premiere of “This is My Heart for You,” a narrative that explores community reactions to a widely reported incident in eastern Kentucky where homosexuality, perceptions and community standards made the headlines. Says House, “I think that as a contemporary Appalachian writer I have a responsibility to report on what is happening currently in Appalachia and it seems to me that the reaction to the men being kicked out of the pool is one that needs examining.” Assistant Professor of Theatre Adanma O. Barton will direct this premiere with designs by Shan Ayers and Mary Ann Shupe. Performances are February 22-26, in McGaw Theater. A Sunday afternoon matinee will be offered on February 26.
Completing the main stage season is the musical, “Cabaret,” written by Joe Masteroff, music by John Kander and lyrics by Fred Ebb, based on “The Berlin Stories” by Christopher Isherwood. Set in the Kit Kat Club in the Weimar Republic during the decadent 1930s, “Cabaret” was made popular by the 1972 film starring Joel Gray and Liza Minnelli. The Broadway revival in 1998 explored the darker elements of the Weimar Republic in the shadow of Nazi Germany, and it is this concept the Berea College Theatre Laboratory will showcase. Jacques Le Sound, of Gannett Newspapers, said of the 1998 revival, “Cabaret gleams like a precious black pearl.” Michael Kuchwara of the Associated Press labeled the revival as, “Startling! A brilliant reinvention. . .”
Deborah Martin will direct this production with designs by Shan Ayers and Mary Ann Shupe. Two Berea College graduates will complete the production team with Jessica Slaton as the musical director and Katie Basham as the choreographer. Performances are April 13-14 and continue April 18-21 in McGaw Theater.
Season tickets are on sale for $25 per person, a savings of 20% off the single ticket price. Patrons interested in being placed on a mailing list can call the Berea College Theatre box office at 859-985-3300, between 1 – 5 p.m. on weekdays, or mail subscription payments to the Berea College Theatre Laboratory, CPO 2148, Berea, KY, 40404.