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DPAC fall theatre season kicks off with tales from the Bard

Michelle Fordice | Thursday, August 30, 2007

As the summer theatre season wraps up, the fall season is ready to begin. Summer Shakespeare’s production of “Love’s Labor’s Lost” is in its final days, but Actors From the London Stage will soon come to campus with its take on “Macbeth” to usher in the fall.

In addition to these Shakespearean comedies and tragedies, the DeBartolo Performing Arts Center and the Department of Film, Television and Theatre are bringing John Patrick Shanley’s “Savage in Limbo: A Concert Play” and Tony Kushner’s “A Bright Room Called Day.”

“Love’s Labor’s Lost” concludes Summer Shakespeare’s film and play season theme of “smart men and smarter women.” This comedy by William Shakespeare tells the story of four young nobles who, after swearing to spend three years living aesthetically and studiously without even the company of women, are tempted away from their task by the love they develop for three ladies-in-waiting and the French princess they serve.

Summer Shakespeare, the professional theatre in residence at Notre Dame, produces excellent plays every year, and shouldn’t be missed in the rush to move on to campus. “Love’s Labor’s Lost” began running on the Decio Mainstage Theatre Aug. 21 and will continue through Sunday.

The Actors From the London Stage will respond to Summer Shakespeare’s comedy with a Shakespearian tragedy, the infamous “Macbeth.” The Actors From the London Stage, a group housed in the DPAC that travels throughout the U.S., is known for performing with limited actors, sets and props. This creates a very clean production centered on the acting and the words with few embellishments. “Macbeth” depicts the slow descent into madness of a general and his wife after they kill the king of Scotland for his throne. “Macbeth” will run in Washington Hall Sept. 12-14.

The FTT Department’s “Savage in Limbo: A Concert Play,” written by John Patrick Shanley, is the story of five elementary school classmates that meet by chance in a bar sometime after their 32nd birthday. All are experiencing serious disappointment in their lives, and the encounter and their circumstances force them to face their shortcomings and failures. “Savage in Limbo: A Concert Play” will run in the Philbin Studio Theatre Oct. 8-12.

The core of “A Bright Room Called Day,” written by Tony Kushner, is set during Germany’s Weimar Republic. Five artists watch, declaring various stances and ideologies, but do little as Adolf Hitler rises to power. In the original, an American woman named Zillah interrupts the primary action and criticizes the rise of the Republican Party in America during the 1980s, to the point of comparing President Ronald Reagan with Hitler. In subsequent plays, the directors have chosen to perform both parts, only the section of the play set in the 1930s, or write their own version of Zillah that better applies to the times.

With this play, the FTT Department has the chance to approach many of the issues coloring American politics today. “A Bright Room Called Day” will run in the Decio Mainstage Theatre Nov. 13-18.

The fall theatre season on campus should be an excellent one consisting of a strong set of works that ranges from the lesser known to the very famous. The companies have plenty of room to explore the ever-relevant and demanding themes of these four plays, and each one stands distinct from the other.

To purchase tickets for all of these events contact the DPAC Ticket Office at 574-631-2800.