Schuster Theatre preps for fundraiser

LAUREN SOVISKY
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Gannon University’s Schuster Theatre as well as other local theaters welcome Fringe Fest Erie 2017.
Throughout the month of February, Gannon students, faculty and staff produce original pieces to be performed across Gannon’s campus.
In addition, the past five years have been filled with local companies submitting productions to Fringe Fest as associate companies.
Fringe Fest is an arts festival based on the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, the largest arts festival in the world that takes place every August in Scotland.
The Schuster Theatre has turned its festival into an annual fundraiser to support Gannon students’ participation in the International Collegiate Theatre Festival (ICTF).
ICTF is a festival that runs in association with the Edinburgh Festival.
Every three years, Gannon’s Theatre Program takes students across the pond to participate and perform at ITC.
August will mark the next trip to Scotland where Gannon’s Schuster actors will perform “Ape/Essence,” a dystopian play with a storyline based on Aldous Huxley’s novel “Ape and Essence.”
On campus, students can support their fellow peers in a few different productions including: The GU Talent Show, “Off The Cuff: A Gannon Improv Experience,” “The White Snake” and “Till Death Do Us Part.”
The GU Talent Show opens Saturday, with Gannon faculty, students and staff showing off their own creative, and possibly unknown, talents.
Then, Monday and Tuesday, students can join Schuster Theater members in the wacky world of improvisation.
Improv theater is live theater entirely made up on the spot. Audiences can shout out ideas for plot lines and possibly become part of the show.
Tom Barton, a senior theater communication major and director for “Off the Cuff,” said the nature of this show is unpredictable.
“You won’t be an observer, you’ll be a contributor,” Barton said. “We rely on the audience to drive us where to go each night, so no show will be the same as the last.”
Up next is the Schuster’s next main stage production, “The White Snake.”
Playing Feb. 15-19, students have been working for months to bring this Chinese folktale to life.
The show includes puppets, love and tons of giggles as the audience follows the tale of a shape- shifting snake and her best friend as they try to join regular civilization and end up falling in love.
Concluding the on-campus fun is an interactive game night filled with snacks and murder. “Till Death Do Us Part” is a two-day event with a lighter take on a murder mystery dinner on Feb. 20-21.
Guests will enjoy a loving couple’s wedding shower while playing detective. There will be tasty hors d’oeuvres as well as a chance to uncover a murderer, hopefully before he or she strikes again.
Off-campus sites contain more theatrical fun with The Schuster Theatre’s Associate companies: All An Act Theatre Productions, Dafmark Dance Theater, Dramashop and The Erie Playhouse
Dramashop opens with the 2016 Tony Award winning play, “King Charles III.”
Written by Mike Bartlett, this play looks back on history to the story of the ascension and reign of King Charles III and brings into question the people beneath the crowns: Britain’s most famous family and the unwritten rules of our democracy. For reservations and more information, visit www.dramashop.org.
All An Act Theatre Productions returns for another year of Fringe with their production of Agatha Christie’s “Spider’s Web,” a story of murder and politics in the house of Henry Hailsham Brown, a foreign office diplomat.

Clarissa, his second wife, finds herself in a crime drama after a murder takes place in her house, and she attempts to cover it up only to discover more terrifying clues and truths about the life she married into. For reservations and more information, visit www.allanact.net.
The Erie Playhouse joins Fringe Fest Erie with their performance of “A Chorus Line.”
On Feb. 17-18, audiences can support Fringe Fest in a musical of dance and theater as they are inspired by the determined gypsies trying to land a job in a show choir. For more about this production, to reserve tickets and to hear about future Playhouse shows, visit www.erieplayhouse.org.
Wrapping up Fringe Fest is the first-ever dance performance to hit the Fringe Fest stage. Dafmark Dance Theater joins Fringe with its performance of “Dance Kaleidoscope” on Feb. 18.
The performance mixes poetry and music to emphasize the language dance creates.
Following the presentation, the audience is also invited to meet the performers and learn more about the performance’s meaning.
Fringe Fest Erie 2017 celebrates theater throughout the month of February. All proceeds from each production go to Gannon’s participation at the ICTF.
For more information and specific show dates, follow the Schuster Theatre on Facebook or visit the Schuster Theatre’s webpage.