Warren Gerds/Critic at Large: Provocative season set at UW-Oshkosh

Four plays and more

OSHKOSH, Wis. - University of Oshkosh Theatre has selected the theme “Life’s a Beach” for its 2017-2018 season of four mainstage productions.

Performances take place in the Fredric March Theatre on campus. Info: theatre.uwosh.edu.

An overview:

Mainstage

+ “Seascape” by Edward Albee – 7:30 p.m. Oct. 5, 6, 7; 2 p.m. Oct. 8.

Directed by Jane Purse-Wiedenhoeft. Enjoying a picnic lunch on a beach is a relaxing pastime, but married couple Nancy and Charlie are struggling to make decisions about their next stage of life. Little do Nancy and Charlie know that they are about to get the surprise of their lives. Unexpected and intriguing guests interrupt this tranquil setting, and the world is turned upside down. Through a series of absurd events, Nancy and Charlie learn to value their years of marriage and to appreciate a future that promises new possibilities for moving forward.

+ “The Fantasticks” by Tom Jones (book and lyrics) and Harvey Schmidt (music), based on “Les Romanesques” by Edmond Rostand – 7:30 p.m. Nov. 16, 17, 18; 2 p.m. Nov. 19.

Directed by Merlaine Angwall. Young neighbors Luisa and Matt, drenched in moonlight, fall in love atop their dividing wall. But their feuding fathers are determined to keep them apart. When bandits threaten Luisa, Matt heroically saves her. Their fathers rejoice, and they all live happily ever after. Not quite. Moonlight is not forever. Matt and Luis quibble about each other’s imperfections and drift apart. In their separate journeys, they discover their identities and each other. Their love, although imperfect and sometimes painful, is true.

+ “Rabbit Hole” by David Lindsay-Abaire – 7:30 p.m. Feb. 15, 16, 17; 2 p.m. Feb. 18.

Directed by Richard Kalinoski. Becca and Howie Corbett’s idyllic family life is shattered. The automobile death of their 4-year-old son tears at the fabric of love and intimacy between them. Becca and Howie express their mutual pain differently. Howie is accusatory, and Becca is caustically bitter. As Becca mourns, she encounters Jason, the teenage driver, who continually asks for forgiveness. Rejecting self-help manuals, support groups and her mother’s advice, Becca discovers the path of forgiveness leads not to a parallel universe but to hope.

+ “The Tempest” by William Shakespeare – 7:30 p.m. April 26, 27, 28; 2 p.m. April 29.

Directed by Merlaine Angwall. A violent storm shipwrecks King Alonso, his son, Ferdinand, and Duke Antonio on an island. There Prospero, the banished Duke of Milan, lives with his daughter, Miranda, and his servants, the spirit Ariel and the resentful Caliban. Ferdinand falls in love with Miranda immediately. Prospero tests the king’s son’s true intentions. Beset by intrigue on all sides, Prospero musters all of his powers and battles the villains to regain his rightful status.

Also (in Experimental Theatre)

+ “Winter Fringe” by varied authors and varied campus student and faculty performers with material, etc., to be determined. – 7:30 p.m. March 8, 9, 10.

+ “20th Annual Playwriting Contest” of one-acts by students – 7:30 p.m. May 2.

 

Contact me at warren.gerds@wearegreenbay.com. Watch for my on-air Critic at Large editions on WFRV-TV at 6:20 a.m. Sundays. My new books, “Three Miles Past Lost and in the Pickers” and “Nickolaus and Olive – a naïve opera (in words),” are available online and in Green Bay at Neville Public Museum, Bosse’s and The Reader’s Loft.


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