By Kelsey Jochum, Content Editor
The UNO Theatre Department saw a big year in its 2010-2011 season. From a hilarious comedy, to dark dramas, to the classics of Shakespeare, the theatre always brought something new to audiences.
The department started its season off with “Eurydice,” a drama which told the story of the Greek god Orpheus’s wife and her journey in the underworld. Taken from the more popular story of Orpheus traveling into the underworld to rescue his wife and return her to Earth, this play told the story from Eurydice’s eyes and illustrated her struggle in choosing the love of her father or the love of her husband.
“Eurydice” was wonderfully executed by the department, with one of the more impressive sets of the season. In creating a separation between Earth and the underworld, actors performed on a raised platform some 20 feet above the set of the underworld. The set also incorporated the recurring symbol of water, creating a river on stage as well as a couple of impressive rainstorms.
The second play of the year took a sharp turn from the dark drama of “Eurydice” into “Noises Off,” a comedy about what happens when nothing goes right. A play within a play, it told the story of a group of actors and stagehands trying to put together their own production of “Nothing On.”
Split into three acts, the first showed the trials of a dress rehearsal in which everyone was distracted and no one knew their cues; the second delivers opening night of the production in which backstage antics may have been more entertaining than what was happening on stage; and the third reaffirmed the director’s fear that anything that can go wrong, will.
“Noises Off” again brought an incredibly striking set, which was rotated between acts in order to show the backstage during Act II. Built to look like the living room of a two-story house, the set included eight separate doors, which made for interesting escape routes and hilarious confusion amongst the characters.
Returning for the spring semester, the theatre treated its audience to another drama, this time very dark in both name and execution. “Dark Play or Stories for Boys” followed the story of Nick who, as he puts it, likes to test the “gullibility threshold” of others. By entering anonymous online chat rooms and becoming any character he chooses, he manipulates the minds of others to believe anything he’d like them to. As the story goes on, it becomes clear that Nick’s most recent con might have him manipulated as well.
Living up to its title, “Dark Play” was played on a dark stage, sometimes with the light of laptops as the only lighting at all. This made for an exceptionally ominous atmosphere, and the intense acting held the audience’s attention.
Premiering last weekend and again this weekend, the department shared its last major performance of the year with Shakespeare’s “Twelfth Night,” which revealed the complexities of not only understanding who one is, but who everyone else is as well. With an abundance of characters and separate story lines, the play concludes when the characters finally put all the pieces together and discover everything isn’t always as it seems.
The play, while complex and difficult to understand at first, exemplified the talent of UNO Theatre, both in acting and stagecraft. The set, which was inspired by a weeping willow tree, was simple, yet impressive with its use of lighting. Accompanying the story on stage was a group of musicians who seemed to carry the story along and tie everything together.