UT staging pair of plays about political unrestWritten by John Dorsey | | firstname.lastname@example.org
While political unrest may not seem like a laughing matter, the University of Toledo’s latest offering proves that laughter may still be the best medicine, even in times of uncertainty. A production of late Polish playwright Slawomir Mrozek’s rarely seen one-acts “Strip-Tease” and “Fox Hunt” is set to bring on the absurdity starting Oct. 11.
Both plays are being directed by Cornel Gabara, who starred in “Strip-Tease” at La MaMa Experimental Theatre Club in New York City in 2004. Gabara is Head of Acting and an associate professor of theater at UT.
“I chose to work with this material precisely because of the current political situation in the United States. We are living in very absurd times, and I think these plays fit perfectly given that. I also wanted to offer my students a complex experience with a stylized form of performance,” Gabara said. “While I did previously appear as an actor in ‘Strip-Tease,’ this experience has been very different. For one thing, I’m working with student actors as opposed to professionals. Also the space is very different, which offered its own set of challenges. But mostly every director has their own take on things, and while I had a wonderful experience in New York, I just had a more creative freedom this time around, in terms of being able to get a certain message out.”
According to The New York Times, Mrozek, who died Aug. 15, was best known as a dissident playwright who “lampooned the political and social climate of the postwar Eastern bloc nations.” His other plays included “Alfa,” “The Police” and “Tango.”
“I would love it if people came away more aware of themselves and their political environment, but I’m not sure if a play can accomplish that right now. Though in the end, if even one person gets it and is impacted by what they see, then I’m happy. I think that both of these plays do raise questions while still being entertaining. It all happens very gradually,” Gabara said.
The production runs Oct. 11-13, and Oct. 17-20. All performances are at 7:30 p.m., except Sunday performances which are at 2 p.m. Following the opening night performance there will be a free reception and “talkback” discussion, in which the audience can meet the director, designers and cast and ask questions about the show.
Tickets are $12 for the general public, $10 for faculty and staff, alumni and seniors, and $5 for students. For more information, call (419) 530-2375 or visit utoledo.edu/BoxOffice.