By Glen Vaugh-Petersen
Avila University’s Theatre Department is gearing up for an eventful season. With a wide range of theatrical genres and niches on display, Avila’s theatre department is showing off its versatility. “We are preparing for a truly exciting season in the Avila School of Performing Arts,” says Matt Schwader Harbor, Assistant Professor of Theatre and Director of Performance Studies at Avila. “The collection of works we’ve chosen — from the classic comedy of manners in Hay Fever, to the heartrending real-life drama of The Laramie Project, the enchanting lyricism of Eurydice, and the delightful musical adventures of First Date— promises a rich tapestry of experiences. Each production offers unique challenges for our students, both performers and designers, pushing them to explore different storytelling styles, time periods, and emotional landscapes.”
The season begins this month with Noel Coward’s Hay Fever, September 28-30. Written in 1924, this classic comedy revolves around the eccentric Bliss family, whose eccentricities are blown out of proportion by the appearance of unexpected guests. “Presented during Homecoming week, this uproarious play captures the spirit of returning to the Avila ’family’ with all the unforgettable quirks, laughter, and unexpected twists that make coming ’home’ truly special,” notes Schwader Harbor about Hay Fever.
Switching gears for the second show, November’s play will be Moisés Kaufman’s The Laramie Project. Told through a series of interviews and testimonies, this play chronicles the aftermath of the brutal 1998 murder of Matthew Shepard. This year marks the 25th anniversary of Shepard’s murder. “As we present this impactful production, we wholeheartedly embrace the values which lie at the core of Avila University’s mission: inclusivity, understanding, peace, and service to the Dear Neighbor,” says Schwader Harbor.
February brings with it mythology and fantasy through Sarah Ruhl’s Eurydice. In this 2003 play, the Greek myth of Orpheus and Eurydice is retold from Eurydice’s perspective. After Eurydice dies on the night of her wedding to demigod musician Orpheus, she is transported to the Underworld, where Orpheus tries to journey to bring her back to the mortal realm.
The season closes out in April with the 2012 musical comedy First Date. This musical encapsulates the experience of going on a blind date for the first time, and the twists and turns the two protagonists go through over the course of the evening.
“ This season is going to be an exciting ride filled with laughter and profound reflection for our community,” says Schwader Harbor of this upcoming theatrical season.
For times and tickets, as well as the dates of the season’s other shows, visit Avila’s Performing Arts website.