By: Nick Bergeman ~Staff Writer~
Forget what you thought you knew about college theater, because Xavier Theatre is going for something a little different this time.
Beginning today, Xavier Theatre is opening three shows in the same week, including the premiere of a new play written by Newswire Editor-in-Chief, Tatum Hunter.
Modeled after the style of repertory theatre, the three shows run in rotation for two weeks. “Betrayal” by Harold Pinter will premiere on Feb. 17, “Miss Julie” by August Strindberg will premiere on Feb. 18 and “Begotten” by Hunter will premiere on Feb 19.
After the shows’ premieres they begin to rotate their runs, giving audiences plenty of opportunities to attend.
Repertory theatre may not be an original concept, but it’s a first for the theatre department.
Pinter’s “Betrayal” is directed by Bruce Cromer, who many locals will recognize from his long tenure as Ebenezer Scrooge in Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park’s “A Christmas Carol.”
“Betrayal” is a story of infidelity and lies in relationships between two best friends and the woman that is married to one, but having an affair with the other.
Cromer invites audiences to engage with the play, as he says that Pinter demonstrates a massive amount of content through subtext, which the show seeks to illuminate.
“The audience is mainly seeing the tip of the iceberg, but they need to look for the entire thing,” Cromer said.
Regina Pugh, who directed Black Fly Spring at Xavier last year, directs the production of Strindberg’s “Miss Julie.” However, it might be more accurate to call it Xavier’s “Miss Julie,” as Pugh says that the production about a young woman’s affair with a valet, and the fallout that follows, will be different than any production done before. This owes primarily to the script’s assembly from different translations and heavy collaboration from the students.
“What they have created is uniquely their own,” Pugh says.
Perhaps the crown jewel of the experience is “Begotten,” the premiere of a student show by Tatum Hunter, which is a first for Xavier. Director Bridget Leak has collaborated with Hunter throughout the development of the story about two mothers experiencing loss, which she says has been treated as a professional show since the beginning.
“Doing and premiering a show like this is scary, but it’s so exciting,” Leak says.
All three shows might be rather small, but consider what it takes to put on a single production.
At the bare minimum, let’s say a play has a cast, director, stage manager, set designer, light designer, sound designer and costume designer.
Multiply that by three, and remember that Xavier’s Theatre Department has fewer than 50 students with a small, shared space for rehearsal.
Buy tickets online through the Xavier website or at the Xavier Theatre box office.