A big part of the Gustavus student experience is being able to showcase your own talents and work, whether you are presenting research at a conference or performing your music in Björling Recital Hall. One such opportunity comes in the form of the annual Theatre Gallery.
Each year, students in the Department of Theatre and Dance are given the chance to have their advanced theatre projects realized. This year, two productions, Adam Rapp’s The Edge of Our Bodies and Senior Julia Tindell’s At Risk, will be performed in the Gallery.
The Edge of Our Bodies, directed by Professor of Theatre and Dance Amy Seham and starring Senior Karla Leitzman, is a one-woman show which centers on the experience of a 16-year-old schoolgirl Bernadette, who has just boarded a train to deliver news to her boyfriend in New York City. Leitzman expressed an interest in performing in this particular show after seeing it performed at the Guthrie last fall. We follow her character throughout her journey, where her experiences cause her to examine her own worldview as well as her place in the world.
This coming-of-age tale explores themes that are not often explored in the theatre, and the story line is riveting yet complex.
“The Edge of Our Bodies posed a significant challenge. It contains very layered, interesting text, which calls for a more sophisticated level of acting,” Seham said.
The entire production is put on by students—including all costume and set designs—a signature aspect of the Theatre Gallery.
The Edge of Our Bodies will couple with another production, At Risk. Playwright Julia Tindell has been working on the show since last December. Tindell has worked through a long process of drafting and editing since then, and she is excited to finally get the chance to showcase her masterpiece.
“Writing this play has been engaging and fulfilling in ways I never could have imagined when I started. I am so pleased to know that it is being performed. Knowing that my words are coming to life through such a phenomenal team of director, actors, stage crew, and designers is a dream come true,” Tindell said.
At Risk examines the topic of mental illness with the help of Shakespearean characters and humor. It delves into this issue in order to remove the stigma associated with people with disabilities.
“I’m proud of the work that I’ve put into this play and I’m glad that it gets to be shared with the Gustavus community. I’m hoping it will encourage the audience to ask hard questions of themselves, and the people around them and to start reshaping the way we see each other so that we can resist the constraints of ableism and discrimination against people with disabilities whom we have labeled crazy or crippled so we don’t have to deal with the reality of who they actually are: human,” Tindell said.
“When people leave the show, hopefully they will come away with two things. The first being a better idea of how someone tries to maintain a sense of identity while coping with some sort of mental illness such as anxiety or depression. The second is how this play can be applied to their lives and community,” Director and Junior Kaitlyn McElrath said.
Tickets are available online at www.gustavustickets.com or at the SAO desk. They can also be purchased at the venue on the nights of the shows. They are free to students, 5 dollars for adults, and 3 dollars for senior citizens.
Professor Seham also encourages students to attend the Social Justice Theatre performance of Social Justice Soup in Kresge Dance Studio at 4 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 17, 2012 which will feature original monologues centering around this year’s theme, the body.