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  • Katelin Gandee

CCU theatre starts off with “Arms and the Man”

(Credit: CCU's Theatre website)

CCU’s theatre department starts off the production season with “Arms and the Man,” a classic-comedy by George Bernard Shaw.

“Arms and the Man” is a play that pokes fun at the absurdities of war and idealistic notions of love. First produced in 1894 at the Avenue Theatre in London and one of Shaw’s first commercial successes, this romantic comedy travels from the battlefield to the boudoir with crackling wit, irony and charm.

On a Bulgarian evening in 1885, a chance encounter between a disheveled soldier fleeing the fight and a young woman awaiting the return of her heroic fiancé from the Serbo-Bulgarian War; unfolds in fits and starts to reveal what’s at heart in the matters of the heart.

Hilarious antics lead to everything heroic turned upside down and asks, “Is all fair in love and war?”

Directing the play is the Theatre Department Chair Monica Bell.

Bell said that a great deal of work goes into season selection, with plays and musicals chosen to train the students and to entertain.

The pieces that the department produces are specifically chosen to provide a wide variety of opportunities to the students.

“We may choose a play because it’s a period drama, for example, and we haven’t done one of those in a few years,” Bell said, adding that they try to give as much experience as they can to students before they graduate.

The department also chooses shows that will benefit the students from the different degree programs both in performance and design and technology.

The productions that are scheduled for the rest of the Fall season are Violet, a moving musical, filled with songs that embody American Folk and gospel in performance in October; Our Country’s Good, a play about the humanizing and transformative power of theatre, in performance in November and, finally, Broadway’s Next Hit Musical, the only unscripted theatrical awards show.

Master improvisers take suggestions from the audience to compose a Broadway musical. This is sponsored as a Cultural Arts Event and is in performance on one day only, Dec. 3.

The rest of the season includes; Bullets Over Broadway: The Musical, Julius Caesar, and 35mm. All will run in the Spring semester in the Wheelwright Auditorium and the Edwards Theatre, respectively.

Bell says that while many students pursuing various degrees from the University are required to attend the shows, the productions have been getting more and more positive receptions from students in the past few years. The choices of the material and the quality of the students’ work in them are two elements that can be pointed to as influential.

She hopes that students will come out to see the shows without their attendance being a required activity. She explained that she’d seen more investment in students in the audience over the past two seasons putting their focus on the action of the performances rather than into their devices. That is a hopeful sign for audience involvement.

“There’s very little in the American Landscape that invites a community experience,” Bell said when explaining the theatre. “The world is in need of community and I think they can find it in the theatre.”

Tickets and more information about each play can be found here.

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