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Theatre department presents ‘Private Lives’

Posted on 10.09.2013

The play “Private Lives” will be previewed on Oct. 17th, with the performances taking place on Oct. 18-19 and Oct. 24-26 at 7 p.m., along with a Sunday performance on Oct. 20 at 2 p.m. in Ransburg Auditorium.

The UIndy students who portray main characters of the play "Private Lives"

The UIndy students who portray main characters of the play “Private Lives”

Associate Professor and Director of Theatre Brad Wright said that the audience will see a common, relatable theme.
“Many of the students in the audience will have had boyfriends or girlfriends,” Wright said. “They will have ex-boyfriends and girlfriends and imagine running off with their ex.”
The play centers on Elyot and Amanda, a divorced British couple who have not seen each other for five years.
Now they are on their honeymoons with their new spouses at the same hotel in France. After running into each other, the two begin to realize that they may be falling in love all over again and decide to leave their new spouses behind. The problem is whether they can keep their love going.
“Private Lives,” written by Noël Coward, first opened in London in 1930. It is a comedy of manners, a form of entertainment that satirizes the manners of a social class, with the comedic material based more on wordplay and wit than silliness, Wright said
The play was chosen because the actors had not performed anything that took place in the 1930s, Wright added.
“Our students hadn’t been exposed to this kind of play,” he said. “It’s a very funny play for one thing, so they get to work on a comedy.”
Auditions started the first week of classes. Senior theatre major and scene shop manager Ross Percell and junior theatre major Elise Campagna were chosen to play Elyot and Amanda. The cast has been rehearsing five nights a week as well as training with a dialect coach and a fight coordinator.
Because the characters are British, and one character is French, former student and dialect coach Ryan O’Shea has been working with the actors on their accents and pronunciation. Associate Adjunct theatre Faculty James Leagre has also been helping the cast practice the fight scene.
Percell described his character as “laid back,” but he also said there is more to Elyot than a smart-aleck attitude.
“He can be very sweet, and he’s very loving,” he said. “He really does love Amanda.”
Campagna has found Amanda’s character a challenge to play because of her age but also interesting because of her complex personality.
“Amanda’s a very whimsical person,” Campagna said. “She can’t be serious for very long. She makes a joke out of everything, kind of  like her coping mechanism.”
Despite the fact that the play takes place in France and the characters are French or British, Wright believes audience members from any background will be able to recognize the feelings the characters have.
“They’re very identifiable characters, very accessible characters,” Wright said. “The situations are recognizable,  if somewhat exaggerated.”
Percell described the show as not just humorous, but also somber and heartfelt at times.
“Brad’s done a really good job,” Percell said. “And I think we’re trying to work hard to make it very applicable to anyone that has had the feelings of love and love lost and stuff like that.”


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