Every year, the Albion College Theatre Department puts on four main shows. These plays give theatre students many challenges and experiences, which will be useful after graduation. They also provide thought-provoking entertainment for all inhabitants of Albion.
The first show, “The Phoenix Lottery,” is a modern comedy written by Canadian, Allan Stratton. It premiers on Oct. 3 at 8:00 p.m. in the Herrick Auditorium Black Box Theatre.
Mark Hoffland, a theatre professor and director of “The Phoenix Lottery,” is looking forward to this play.
“It’s kind of silly, and kind of serious,” Hoffland said. “It should be very touching.”
Amber Cook, the costume designer, shop supervisor and adjunct instructor for the theatre department also is excited to work on these upcoming plays.
“Basically it’s about a young man who inherits his father’s business,” Cook said. “He donates too much money, and it’s about the scheme he hatches to save the business by burning a Van Gogh painting.”
Hoffland agrees the play has a plethora of subjects for the audience to witness.
“It’s a contemporary play about old art vs. new art, politics, religion, philanthropy…” Hoffland said. “Really everything but the kitchen sink.”
Hoffland created a new and rather unique stage design for “The Phoenix Lottery.”
“We’re creating four sections of seating so basically it’s plus-shaped,” Hoffland said. “It offers challenges for lighting and actors. The viewing process will be an experience and different everywhere you sit.”
Aside from the intricate set, there are other qualities of “The Phoenix Lottery” that are not in a typical Albion College play.
“I would say something about ‘Phoenix Lottery’ is unique because we’re using faculty members for radio voices and multimedia,” Cook said. “We also have a student designer, Senior Corey Brittain, he’s designing the show.”
The second play being shown this semester is “The Merry Wives of Windsor,” a Shakespeare play with a 1950’s twist. It premieres on Nov. 21 at 8:00 p.m. in the Herrick Auditorium Black Box Theatre.
“We picked this play because we have a lot of women in the department, and this play of Shakespeare’s has mostly female roles,” Hoffland said.
Theatre students will create the costumes the actors will wear. Some acting students create their costumes as well. This time, though, it will be a little different than a normal sewing pattern.
“The students will make all the costumes in the original ‘50’s style,” Cook said. “The undergarments will be authentic as well, which will take some getting used to for the actors.”
“The Merry Wives of Windsor” should hold many laughs and with its modern look, bring a new feel to an old play.
The system in place allows for many different kinds of shows to be prepared and preformed.
“We rotate Shakespeare and musicals,” Hoffland said. “We also try to get period plays or ‘out there’ plays we haven’t done. We want to do as many plays as possible and have a wide range of shows.”
“They all have their own individual personality and each one is exciting in its own way,” Hoffland said.
Photo and Posters by Amber Cook