Gannon University’s Schuster Theatre will open a new theater season with freedom, a feast and international guests.
The Schuster Theatre announced its 2018-2019 theater season basing the play selections on Gannon’s College of Humanities, Education, and Social Sciences’ theme of “Freedom.”
Theater director Alaina Manchester, an assistant professor, discussed the selection process for the upcoming season, noting the selections are not necessarily literal to the theme of freedom, but each piece delves into the idea of freedom and captivity.
The order of mainstage shows follows a chronological order, starting in ancient Greece with “Trojan Women,” venturing into the medieval period with a Medieval Feast, going to classic contemporary with “Endgame” and concluding with a modern piece and the season’s musical, “Big Fish.”
Starting off the mainstage season is “Trojan Women,” a tragic Greek play written in 415 BC by Euripides, telling of the sufferings war causes to even the most innocent survivors.
The play follows the women of Troy after their city has been sacked and their families and husbands enslaved and killed.
The gods, meanwhile, discuss the punishment due for the Greeks after destroying man and precious temples.
The play focuses on the captive Trojan women and their mental and physical struggles experienced while also providing a bit of history on the Trojan War.
Next up on the Schuster Theatre season is the Medieval Feast.
“We wanted to just shake stuff up,” said Manchester. “We wanted a way to bring the campus together and I think it just fit our season well.”
The feast will occur as the second production of the season with food and laughs.
Opening up the spring semester, “Endgame” is a one-act French play based on the idea that beginnings and endings are intertwined.
The playwright, Samuel Beckett, alludes to the idea of a circular existence while the play’s characters are stuck in an endless routine, repeating phrases and words throughout the play.
Ending the season will be the theater’s musical, “Big Fish.”
The plot splits between two timelines, looking back at young Edward Bloom and his teenage encounters with mythical creatures like witches and mermaids as well as the love of his life, Sandra.
The story meets up to the present, where Edward’s son, Will, is preparing to become a dad, but begins uncovering the secret life his own father once led.
Outside the mainstage Schuster productions includes special international guests — the Cambridge American Stage Tour (CAST), retuning to Gannon and performing Shakespeare’s “The Tempest.”
CAST, an international theatre tour from Cambridge University, aims to bring the works of Shakespeare to audiences around the U.S., touring the nation performing Shakespeare’s greatest works.
“With our actors having toured with ‘Ape’ this past summer in Scotland,” said Manchester, “I really think there is a type of appreciation for this.”
CAST last came to Gannon in the fall of 2016 and will make its return in September.
More information on the Schuster Theatre’s upcoming season, including audition and show dates, can be found on the theatre’s Facebook page and website.