From theatre and dance staples like the biannual Alabama Repertory Dance Theatre to modern takes on classic stage productions, mark your calendar now for spring productions you won’t want to miss.
Students in the UA Theatre and Dance Department have prepared tirelessly to make this spring a season like no other.
Mekelle Alisse is working towards her Bachelor of Fine Arts in theatre with a concentration in musical theatre. She said there’s an art to storytelling.
“All of what we share is a story to someone and has a different meaning to each person that experiences it,” she said. “Everyone can take away something different even if we are watching the same piece. There are emotions you get caught up in.”
Everyone should come to see a show, said Alisse.
“There is no disconnect with the theatre because you are experiencing it in person,” she said. “It is almost a spiritual experience because you feel the energy and the emotions of the people.”
Allen Bales Theatre, Feb. 5-11
In Sophocles’ “Oedipus,” a king discovers a shocking truth while looking for answers. Purchase tickets to learn if Oedipus can create his own future, or just be another victim of fate.
There’s a lot more that goes on than what audiences see once the curtain rises, said senior Diane Snoddy, a theatre major with a concentration in acting.
“You have to remember finding your light, your blocking, your lines, sometimes pages-long monologues, dancing and projecting loud enough for the audience to hear you.”
A challenging task for actors is finding the balance between memorization and passion. “Be the character and feel like you’re saying these words for the first time ever. It’s both nerve-racking and exhilarating,” she added.
“Love and Information”
April 1-7, Allen Bales Theatre
A series of vignettes examines our endless supply of modern information. Purchase tickets to this thought-provoking play that asks what it means to be human.
Snoddy will perform in “Love and Information” and referred to it as an immensely collaborative process. The play is set up in short scenes that don’t even have specific characters assigned to the lines.
Snoddy said they are working together as a cast alongside the director, Robert Fuson, a third-year MFA Theatre candidate, to decide who does what scene.
“The director is going to have a ball with it,” she said. “It’s going to be like a playground.”
“She Loves Me”
Marian Gallaway Theatre, April 10-12, 18-21
The Broadway classic comes to Tuscaloosa! In the 1930s, two coworkers simply can’t seem to get along. Between mistakes and heartwarming love letters, do the two fall in love? Purchase tickets for this timeless romantic comedy.
Alisse is passionate not only about the arts, but about creating a more inclusive world. She puts her hopes into action by serving as the diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility coordinator for Alpha Psi Omega, the theatre honor society. She is looking forward to “She Loves Me” because the costume designer, Kendall Perry, is working to make the detailed costumes authentic.
“Some of the costumes are going to be really fun,” Alisse said, describing her costume and hair and makeup concepts. “They are capitalizing on African American hairstyles and dress of the 1930s and 40s …. They are thinking about doing black finger waves, so I am excited they are playing into the hair of my culture during that time period.”
Another reason students are enthusiastic about “She Loves Me” is the guest director, Tom Jones, that the department is bringing in. Alisse said she is excited for “fresh energy invading the space.”
Alabama Repertory Dance Theatre
The Dance Theatre, Feb. 27- March 2
Nationally renowned faculty and guests have masterfully choreographed the biannual show. Purchase tickets to celebrate the power of all genres of dance.
ARDT is a pre-professional company choreographed by faculty and guest artists. Last spring, they hosted Rick McCullough. the artistic director of the Mariinsky Theatre in Russia. ARDT is audition-based.
Braxton Kent combines his passions for wellness and performing by double majoring in dance and kinesiology on the pre-physical therapy track. The junior will be performing in ARDT this year.
“It’s a little more exclusive and establishes a more professional environment. I learned a lot working alongside the faculty. It was wonderful,” Kent said.
“I think it’s magical when I’m onstage. I love expressing something through movement. I love choreography and sharing my experiences with others,” he said.
Emerging Choreographers Showcase
April 2-6, The Dance Theatre
Talented student choreographers created this unique celebration of different genres of dance. Purchase tickets to be mesmerized by the brilliant minds of the next generation of leaders in dance.
This is the first time the dance department is doing a show like this. “Emerging” is a course that students are enrolled in, so they have the year to cultivate ideas instead of one semester. Students have learned about the production process for a concert, like marketing, production and backstage work.
This experience “establishes professionalism and helps me to grow as an artist,” according to Kent.
“I get to express my artistry through UA Theatre and Dance,” he said. “The students in this course are giving each other feedback and we have faculty mentoring us through this process.”
Watching a live performance is an experience, Alisse said.
“Maybe it will inspire you to try something new. It encourages people to step out of their comfort zone [so] be as engaged as possible,” she said.
“If you are engaged the whole time, you will get something out of it,” Kent said. “We’ve worked hard all semester. We are showing our vulnerability in a lot of ways whether singing a solo or dancing.”
With this in mind, it’s important to show decorum as an audience member, said Alisse.
“Understand theatre is live so when we say 7:30, that’s a hard 7:30. Come on time to experience it fully. It’s not like the movie theatre where you can eat popcorn during previews,” she added.
Staying off your phone, avoiding photography, leaving the food and drinks at home, and not talking are all a part of theatre etiquette.