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Tony Awards Take on Adaptations

By Ethan Shea

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On Sept. 26, the 74th Tony Awards took to the stage. Having been delayed an entire year, the ceremony was a welcome sight on Broadway. One aspect of this year’s Tony Awards that stuck out is the prevalence of adaptations among the winners and nominees. Falvey Library has access to many of the works that inspired these award winning shows, so if you would like to learn more about how this year’s Tony recipients came to be, check out the links below.

Additionally, feel free to browse a complete list of the winners and nominees here.

The Inheritance and Howard’s End

The Inheritance became one of the biggest winners this year by taking home the coveted award for best play. Matthew Lopez, the playwright of The Inheritance, stated that E.M. Forster’s Howard’s End is his favorite novel, which is unsurprisingly why he took inspiration for his play from it. In Howard’s End, Forster tells the story of three conflicting families living in England around the year 1900. Critiques of social conventions and discussions of economics surround an unconventional love story between two members of opposing families.

The Inheritance is far from a strict adaptation of Forster’s novel. Rather than England, the play takes place in New York a generation after the height of the AIDS crisis. E.M. Forster was a closeted gay man when he wrote Howard’s End, so The Inheritance uses the text’s queer subtext to create a play fit for the 21st century. The performance is a whopping 6 hours long and is presented in two separate three hour performances. Although the plots of these two stories are very different, if you are interested in theater and what inspired this award-winning play, I’d recommend you check out Howard’s End while keeping in mind the underlying themes that brought its theatrical offspring to life.

Moulin Rouge! The Musical and Moulin Rouge!"Moulin Rouge! Play Image"

Moulin Rouge! The Musical is a more direct adaptation of its source material. Rather than a novel, this play was inspired by the 2001 Baz Luhrmann film of the same name. The over-the-top nature of the film translates beautifully to the stage. As a result, this play was the biggest winner of the 74th Tony Awards and walked away with 10 prizes. A few of the awards Moulin Rouge! won are for scenic design, costume, lighting, and sound design, which are similar to some of the Oscars won by Luhrmann’s film that celebrated the extravagance of the costumes and set.

One point of departure between the film and play is that the songs used are distinctly different. In the film, Luhrmann famously mixed modern pop songs with the score, and in the same vein, this adaptation used songs that were written in the 17 years since the film’s release.  For example, Katy Perry’s hit song Firework and Sia’s Chandelier are both incorporated into the show’s musical performances.

"A Christmas Carol"A Christmas Carol and A Christmas Carol

This play needs no introduction. The adaptation of Charles Dickens’ 1843 novella is truly timeless and has been adapted countless times. Nonetheless, this most recent production became the first holiday play to win a Tony. Not only did A Christmas Carol win a Tony, it won five, including best score, making it the first play to beat every contending musical in that category.

The reduced competition due to the COVID-19 Pandemic certainly affected the Tony Awards this year, but that should not take away from the achievements of these shows. Regardless, theatre-goers worldwide are certainly looking forward to a much more crowded theatre schedule in the coming months, which should make next year’s installment of the Tony Awards all the more exciting!

 


Headshot of Ethan Shea

Ethan Shea is a first-year English Graduate Student at Villanova University and Graduate Assistant at Falvey Memorial Library.

 


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Villanova Theatre’s First Show of the Season: WHITE

“If it’s not entertaining, why the hell are we doing it? Make’m laugh. Make’m cry. Make’m call their senator. But by any means necessary. Make’m do something. Can’t change anybody’s mind if they’re asleep.” – James Ijames, Playwright and Director 

Opening weekend, I had the opportunity to attend Villanova Theatre’s first show of the season, WHITE, in the new John and Joan Mullen Center for the Performing Arts. The center is an 85,000-square-foot space for performances, featuring three performance spaces. WHITE took place in the Court Theatre, an open format, 200-seat theater that features flexible seating, a balcony, and technologically advanced lighting and sound equipment.  

I had the opportunity to explore the new space before and after the performance. In addition, everyone in attendance Friday night was invited to a reception following the show on the third-floor Belle Masque rooftop terrace. The rooftop terrace allowed guests to flow from outside to inside easily and take in what was a beautiful evening. 

The show itself was captivating and entertaining, while simultaneously challenging, as it forced the audience to re-evaluate their own implicit (or explicit) biases. The small cast kept the audience engaged throughout the 90 minutes, and the whole auditorium rose to their feet in applause following the final scene.  

Learn more about the show below.  

SYNOPSIS (Drawn from the Educational Guide below)

With a premise equal parts playful, prescient, and preposterous, art imitates life (or is it the other way around?) in James Ijames’ comedy WHITE. Gus is an artist. Vanessa is an actress. When a major museum seeks to showcase diverse voices in their next exhibition, Gus enlists Vanessa’s help to create an audacious new artistic persona to get him in the show. This contemporary Frankenstein story gleefully skewers the modern monstrosities of racism, misogyny, and cultural appropriation, all the while “subverting expectations, cracking wise, and opening eyes” (DC Metro). 

WHITE: BASED ON A TRUE STORY 

The plot of White is inspired by a true story that took place in the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York City. In 2014, the museum invited three outside curators—Anthony Elms (Associate Curator at the Institute of Contemporary Art, Philadelphia), Michelle Grabner (Artist and Professor in the Painting and Drawing Department at the School of the Art Institute, Chicago), and Stuart Comer (Chief Curator of Media and Performance Art at MoMA)—to each curate one floor of the exhibition from their varied perspectives and methodologies.  

Chief Curator and Deputy Director for Programs at the Whitney, Donna De Salvo, touted the exhibition’s offerings as, “one of the broadest and most diverse takes on art in the United States that the Whitney has offered in many years.” However, of the 103 invited participants, just nine were black. Of those nine artists, one, Donelle Woolford, a 37-year-old woman from Conyers Georgia, was actually the fabrication of a white man, 52-year-old artist Joe Scanlan. This brought the total of black female artists in the biennial down to one. Read the full story in the education guide found here. 

MORE RESOURCES 

Trailer 

The show is put forth as a contemporary Frankenstein story. Borrow Frankenstein by Mary Shelley from Falvey’s collection. 

Get your tickets to WHITE today! The show will be playing through Oct. 3.  

ABOUT THE PLAYWRIGHT/DIRECTOR 

James Ijames, MFA, is Associate Professor of Theatre and a playwright, director and educator. He has appeared regionally in productions at The Arden Theatre Company, The Philadelphia Theatre Company, The Wilma Theatre, Baltimore Center Stage, Mauckingbird Theatre Company, and People’s Light and Theatre.

James’ plays have been produced by Flashpoint Theater Company, Orbiter 3, Theatre Horizon, Wilma Theatre (Philadelphia, PA), The National Black Theatre (NYC), Steppenwolf Theatre, Definition Theatre, Steppenwolf Theatre (Chicago IL) Shotgun Players (Berkeley, CA) and have received development with PlayPenn New Play Conference, The Lark, Playwright’s Horizon, Clubbed Thumb, Villanova Theatre, Wilma Theater, Azuka Theatre and Victory Garden.

James is the 2011 F. Otto Haas Award for an Emerging Artist recipient, and he has two Barrymore Awards for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Play for Superior Donuts and Angels in America and two Barrymore Awards for Outstanding Direction of a Play for The Brothers Size with Simpatico Theatre Company and Gem of the Ocean with Arden Theatre. James is a 2015 Pew Fellow for Playwriting, the 2015 winner of the Terrance McNally New Play Award for WHITE, the 2015 Kesselring Honorable Mention Prize winner for ….Miz Martha, a 2017 recipient of the Whiting Award, a 2019 Kesselring Prize for Kill Move Paradise and a 2020 Steinberg Prize.


""Jenna Renaud is a graduate student in the Communication Department and graduate assistant in Falvey Memorial Library.


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Summer Movie Nights

By Susan Turkel

Have you watched everything on Netflix? Are you done with Amazon Prime and Hulu? Are you ready for something different? The Library can help!

Falvey Memorial Library provides the Villanova community with access to thousands of videos via our streaming subscriptions. We have an online guide —  Streaming Video at Falvey — that will help you get started in your cinematic explorations.

Read on for a taste of the resources and films that are available to you.

Theater on Video

Theater fans will enjoy viewing a variety of filmed stage performances. On the Boards features contemporary works by both international and U.S.-based artists in dance, theater, music, and more. BBC Shakespeare Plays and the Royal Shakespeare Company Collection offer many interpretations of classic works by the Bard. Broadway HD features filmed productions from the iconic theater capital of the United States.

UK-based Digital Theatre+ includes a wide variety of filmed performances, from 21st century pieces by Eclipse Theatre (the UK’s leading Black-led national touring company) to works by Henrik Ibsen, Arthur Miller, and Sophocles. A highlight of Digital Theatre+ is the National Theatre Collection, which includes high quality recordings never previously seen outside of the NT’s Archive. 

Feature Films and Documentaries on AVON

Not into theater? There is something for everyone in Academic Video Online (AVON). Despite its name, AVON offers award-winning dramas, love stories, animated films, and comedies, as well as gripping documentaries. Search by title, actor name, director, or keyword to get started. 

Two excellent collections within AVON are Sony Pictures Classics, mainly for feature films and foreign films, and Film Platform, mostly for documentaries from the U.S. and around the world. See below for a selection of their offerings.

More Great Films on Swank and Kanopy

Packages like AVON are a grab bag; Villanova has no control over which films we can offer you on their platform. The Library also licenses individual films based on faculty requests, for use in specific courses. Once we’ve licensed the film, we are able to offer access via the library catalog to anyone at Villanova for your individual viewing enjoyment. 

These films can be found on two platforms: Kanopy and Swank. There are many great films available to the Villanova community on these platforms in a variety of genres.

Our current Kanopy list includes many foreign films and documentaries, including Rashomon, Stonewall Uprising, YI YI, and Paris is Burning.

You’ll find more popular, “big screen” films on Swank, including Get Out, Black Panther, Dallas Buyers Club, and The Silence of the Lambs.

All of these licenses are limited-term; you’ll see the end date near the access link in the library catalog.

Falvey is happy to help keep you entertained this summer. Pop your popcorn, fluff up your pillows, and settle in for a night at the movies! 


Susan Turkel, MA, MLS, is a Social Sciences Librarian at Falvey Memorial Library.


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Slaphappy Delivers Pitch Perfect (Inspired) Show

By Shawn Proctor

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Unprecedented. Challenging. Socially distanced.

If you thought I was talking about living through the pandemic, then you haven’t seen Slaphappy: A Covid-Era Commedia, streaming from Villanova Theatre until May 30.

To these terms I would also add joyful, sly, and triumphant.

“Why triumphant,” you ask?

Because to create new art in a time when performance is so very rare, to discover new methods and inspirations and collaborators in order to bring it to audiences is a triumph.

Full stop. No debate.

Slaphappy proves the play is the thing.

Conceived and directed by Valerie Joyce and filmed by Hezekiah Lewis III, Slaphappy eludes easy definition. It’s one part The Office, two parts Pitch Perfect, and a splash of Ru Paul’s Drag Race. Oh, and yes, instead of a cappella competitions, the college groups vie for top commedia dell’arte troupe in the country.

Emma Poley, second-year graduate student, who made her Villanova Theatre acting debut as “Kathy Brown, PhD,” in the show explained Slaphappy follows in the commedia tradition of devised theatre. “The actors were free to improvise within a structured outline,” she says. From that four-hour rough cut, the production team edited down to a two-hour film.

Within this almost-too-wild-to-be-conceived premise, the entire cast shines, showing their growth from novice commedia players to seasoned actors within the traditional Italian dramatic style. The result holds the attention through backstage and onstage meltdowns, smack-downs, jaw-dropping revelations, and power plays that underpin the efforts to bring their performances to the regional, then national competitions.

Kirsten Sughrue’s muscadet-dry wit as competition coordinator “Penny Hollis” and Ryan Henry’s hilarious turn as uber jock “Julia Wrong” stood out among a large and delightful cast. And perhaps the biggest delight of all was hearing a crowd reacting to a play in Villanova Theatre’s new John and Joan Mullen Center for the Performing Arts, just one of many performances to come.

Complimenti to all!

 


Shawn Proctor is Communications and Marketing Program Manager at Falvey Memorial Library.

 

 

 


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‘Cat in the Stax: Bakkhai Variations

cover for Bakkhai variations theatre program

“Dionysus is god of the beginning before the beginning.” 

– Anne Carson

The Villanova Theatre program has adapted over the last seven months to this constantly changing  world and emerged victorious with five short plays in response to the provocative Greek tragedy Bakkhai. All five of these plays were written by  alumni of Villanova’s MA in Theatre program. The plays were rolled out individually over the second half of October and a full-length film showcasing  all five plays is still available until Nov. 14.

As a precursor to the five new plays, the actors engaged in a Zoom reading of a new version of Bakkhai written by Anne Carson and directed by Heidi M. Rose, PhD, Chair, Department of Communication, Professor, Performance Studies. The play tells of Dionysus, god of theatre, ecstasy, and intoxication returns to Thebes. This new adaptation brings together Euripides’ original with a contemporary feel as it explores themes of violence, family relationships, and gender roles. The cast and production team did an incredible job with this reading, showcasing the actors skills in using their voices and seated body language through this Zoom reading. Ultimately, this reading introduces viewers new to the story of Dionysus to the themes that will continue to be explored in each of the five short films.

The first of the five plays She Makes Knives Now is written by Mark. J. Costello and directed by James Ijames. The play takes place after the  events of Anne Carson’s Bakkhai and looks at Agave’s journey after her sentence to exile. Through camera angles and street corner verses, She Makes Knives looks at the struggles of women dealing with poverty and homelessness, coupling that with coping with a tragedy. Christy Chory, as Agave, captures the desperation, but also the calculatedness, it takes to survive on the street corners of modern-day America. 

The Bakkhai; or, I’m trying so hard to be good, written by Alix Rosenfeld and directed by Tai Verley explores the acting industry and racial power dynamics in this captivating tale. Alison Scarmella Baker,  Ilana, and  Sharese Salters, Dee, explore what can happen when truth is revealed and many voices come together to demand action. 

Playwright Megan Schumacher and director Malika Oyetimein come together to put on Dionté and Khai, the third play in the set of variations. Megan Schumacher flips between the perspective of Dionysus and Pentheus to create a complete story looking at the misogyny and racism that exists today.

Beginning, written by Jessica Bedford and directed by James Ijames serves as a contemporary prequel to Euripides’ Bakkhai. The four daughters of King Cadmus talk in pairs about the pregnancies of Agave, mother of Pentheus, and Semele, mother of Dionysus. The relationships between sisters are explored as contemporary conversations take place that discuss two pregnancies that will ultimately change the family forever.

The final play in this series is exxx…stasis, exxx…hale… is  written by Alexandra Espinoza and directed by Cat Ramirez. Nadia and Cecily are faced with trying to make their relationship work in a socially distanced world. As they experiment with new ways to keep their relationship interesting, the current cultural climate and tensions continue to swirl around them, ideas that are not foreign to many couples  today. 

Each of the five Bakkhai Variations explore relevant themes in captivating ways, showing the creativity and ingenuity of the directors and actors on the projects. Visit Villanova Theatre’s website to engage with dramaturgical resources and purchase tickets for the full-length film showcase.


Jenna Newman is a graduate assistant in Falvey Memorial Library and a graduate student in the Communication Department. Current mood: Finding my old Percy Jackson books to read more about Greek gods. 


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Creating Community During Social Distancing: Villanova Theatre’s Friday Night Play Readings

Screenshot of virtual play reading.

By Sarah Wingo

On March 16, all of Villanova’s classes went online, and all faculty and staff who were able to were asked to begin working from home. At this time, we were told that the earliest we could expect to come back to campus would be after Easter Break.

We now know we will not be returning this semester—there will be no spring musical, no March Madness, no end of term celebrations, and no in-person commencement ceremonies.

The week before we all went home tension on campus was palpable. You’d pass dozens of students speaking in hushed and anxious tones on the phone to their parents. Faculty friends of mine spoke of seniors breaking into tears in class knowing that their final semester at Villanova would be nothing like they could have ever imagined.

Everyone was anxious and worried.

I personally handle crisis best when I have something to do, some way I can help, something I can plan. So I started thinking it was clear people needed something to look forward to, something to take their minds off the current state of the world, something that could bring us together and create a community that could support each other through this.

When I was in graduate school earning my masters in English (Shakespeare Studies specifically), one of the professors at my school organized Thursday night play readings. These readings were designed to expose us to the plays of Shakespeare’s contemporaries, but they were also a social gathering. People brought wine and baked goods, and the events were fun and silly. This, I thought, could work.

So I contacted two of my friends who are faculty in the theatre department, Dr. Chelsea Phillips, and Dr. Bess Rowen, and proposed my idea: virtual play readings via Zoom with the theatre graduate students. They were in.

The next day, I sent out the following email and asked everyone interested to respond to a poll asking when would be the best time for us to all meet.

Email:

Hello, Lovely Theatre People!

I have a proposal for you. Chelsea, Bess, and I have been trying to think of ways to facilitate socializing while social distancing, and we’ve got an idea, but we’ll need your help for it to work.

What I’m Proposing:

  • Renaissance play readings, no Shakespeare allowed.
  • We meet once a week via Skype or Zoom (TBA) and together read one of Shakespeare’s contemporaries.
  • We read cold, no preparation, mistakes and mispronunciations welcome.
  • Sign up to be assigned a role or just pop in to listen.
  • BYO wine/beer/cocktail. [our theatre department is all graduate students]
  • We take an intermission to chat and refill.
  • Anyone who wants to join is welcome roles to be assigned on a first come first served basis.

Context:

We did this when I was in grad school in England studying Shakespeare in his hometown, granted it was in person. It was such a fun way to get to know other playwrights from Shakespeare’s time and in turn put him in context. Also the plays are readily available through public domain so we don’t have to worry about how to access them. Drinking was not compulsory, but it certainly made the whole thing more fun, and it is meant to be silly and fun, with just a smidge of education thrown in.

When?:

This is the tricky part, finding a day/time, I know many of you have family responsibilities and this may not be possible. Let’s take a poll and see what would work best for everyone.

 

We had an enthusiastic response, and the following Friday at 7 p.m., a librarian, two theatre professors, and about 12 Villanova theatre students met via Zoom to read A Knight of The Burning Pestle by Francis Beaumont, a very silly and fun play wherein a couple of “audience” members storm the stage of a play and take over inserting themselves and their young man servant into the action. The reading lasted for a little over 3 hours and was an absolute delight; it was silly and joyous, and for just a little while the weight of the world lifted, and we were all just sitting in our homes hanging out with friends.

The first reading was a resounding success, and we’re planning to keep them going every Friday for as long as this whole thing lasts. So far we have read Knight of The Burning Pestle, The Maid’s Tragedy, The Shoemaker’s Holiday, The Spanish Tragedy, and John Lyly’s Gallathea .

So how does it work:

  • Each week, at the end of the our reading, we announce the following week’s play.
  • I find us a good copy of the text to use for the reading
  • I create a Zoom meeting
  • I write an email including the Zoom link, the text of the play we’ll be using, and a link to that weeks signup sheet in google docs
  • I go through the play text and create a casting chart so that we can assign parts and doubling where necessary (early modern plays have a LOT of characters)
  • On Friday or Thursday, Dr. Phillips, Dr. Rowen, and I have a Zoom meeting to divvy up roles
  • On Friday, night we all gather

I’ve been a librarian at Villanova for what will be seven years this coming August, and one of the things I have come to value the most about Villanova is its focus on community. In these times of uncertainty and isolation, community is more important than ever, and that is exactly what these play readings are providing for our theatre students, for myself, and for our alumni and faculty who join in.

We get to start out the week knowing there is something to look forward to and to plan for, and on Friday night we get to see each other’s smiling faces and spend a few hours in each other’s company laughing and reading a play.


Sarah Wingo, librarian

Sarah Wingo, MA, MSI, is the Liaison Librarian for English Lit, Theatre, and Romance Languages at Falvey Memorial Library.

 

 


 

 


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Timelapse Video of “Be Not Afraid of Greatness: Celebrating the History of Villanova Theatre”

 

This recording is of curators Beaudry Rae Allen, Preservation and Digital Archivist, and Emma Poley, Theatre MA ’21, prepping materials for the new Spring Exhibit, “Be Not Afraid of Greatness: Celebrating the History of Villanova Theatre.” Before exhibit material is put on display Beaudry and Emma organize and arrange material beforehand to determine how the narrative should be displayed, where the exhibit text should be placed, and what items look best for each case. To make sure sizing is right, they use a cut-out template to outline the space available.


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A New Look for An Old Friend: World Shakespeare Bibliography Online

 

drawing of william shakespeare

 

The World Shakespeare Bibliography Online (WSB) is a searchable electronic database consisting of the most comprehensive record of Shakespeare-related scholarship and theatrical productions published or produced worldwide from 1960 to the present. Villanova students can access it through Databases A-Z on Falvey’s website.

If you haven’t ventured over to the WSB in a while you may not be aware that Oxford University Press has taken over publication, as of July 2019. With this change, WSB has undergone some significant cosmetic updates and at least one functional improvement, which will hopefully make the resource easier to navigate.

The most meaningful change for Villanova students is that Falvey’s “Find it” button works for articles in WSB now. Previously WSB was just a bibliography—if someone found an article in it they wanted to check out, they would still need to search for it in Journal Finder or the library’s main search.

When students click on “Find It” now, just like they would to access an article in any of the Library’s other databases, they either be directed to the article or, if Falvey does not have digital access, be given the option to request a scan through interlibrary loan.

 


Sarah Wingo, librarian

Sarah Wingo, MA, MSI, is Liaison Librarian for English Literature, Theatre & Romance Languages at Falvey Memorial Library.

 

 


 


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A Modern Midsummer

I’m Daniella Snyder, a second-year graduate student at Villanova University, and your ‘Cat in Falvey Library’s Stacks. I’ll be posting about academics– from research to study habits and everything in between– and how the Falvey Library can play a large role in your success here on campus.

Villanova Theatre is proud to present A Midsummer Night’s Dream directed by Edward Sobel, on stage November 12-24.

Beware the forest outside Athens, where mischief reigns and faeries tease and torment. Shakespeare’s comedy of passion and power throws two mismatched couples into the fray of a lovers’ quarrel between the faerie king and queenand soon they’re all entangled in enchantments. Add to the mix the devious Puck and hapless troupe of amateur actors, and mayhem abounds. This magical tale, boldly reimagined for our time, reveals the dangers of unbridled desire and the healing potential of the imagination. 

Angela Rose Longo as Hermia and Sarah Stryker as Lysander. Photos by Kimberly Reilly.

Director Edward Sobel leads a cast of 16 Villanova graduate students, portraying the lovers, faeries, and novice actors drawn to the Athenian woods. Sobel’s contemporary staging zeroes in on issues of gender politics while showcasing the darker forces at play in Shakespeare’s well-loved comedy. According to Sobel, the Athens of this production is “a male-dominated world that thinks it’s a democracy – but it’s not.” This Athenian worldview impacts its characters both politically and romantically. “Love is a dangerous thing,” he adds, “and we want to reveal the way male characters manipulate passion in order to absorb rebellion and maintain their power.”

The production features female-identifying actors in various male roles while the most politically powerful male characters are played by male-identifying actors. Female-identifying actors will portray the young lovers Lysander and Demetrius and members of the relentless acting troupe The Rude Mechanicals. The cross gender casting allows actors to both hilariously embody and also critique gender stereotypes.

Angela Rose Longo as Hermia and Sarah Stryker as Lysander. Photos by Kimberly Reilly.

Dramaturg Travis Milliman has extensively researched gender roles in society, both in Elizabethan England and modern-day America, suggesting that the oppressive forces at play will resonate with our audiences in a way that will cause them to perk up and listen. Milliman’s research has also helped to illuminate the faerie world as it related to an Elizabethan audience. He says, “I want to prepare audiences for a Midsummer no one would have expected.”

An Elizabethan audience would have regarded the “Faerie World” as being a very real threat to sinners in their human society and believed that their wrongdoings could result in punishments or torture from vengeful faeries. While our understanding of “fairies” today has been infiltrated by the cute, Disney characters many of us know and love, this production plans to use the fearing subconscious to inspire the faerie world of Titania, Oberon, and Puck. Check out Milliman’s dramaturgical guide to learn more.

Angela Rose Longo as Hermia and Sarah Stryker as Lysander. Photos by Kimberly Reilly.

Costume designer and second-year graduate student Asaki Kuruma’s ambitious design conjures three distinct worlds: the regal Athenian court, ominous faeries, and lower-class actors. While audiences might not see wings on these faeries, they can expect to feel as though these haunting spirits are from a world mortals dare not enter. What’s more, she has created silhouettes that allow female bodied actors to inhabit male roles in a way that is realistic and affecting. Kuruma blends repurposed materials, classical silhouettes, and couture inspiration to wardrobe a large ensemble, each of whom play multiple roles.

Deepening the world of the play is set designer Stephanie Hansen. Hansen’s unified set marries the natural forest and classical architectural structures in order to suggest that these locations are far from separate and that the powers and mysteries of the woods are, in fact, an extension of the desires of the real world. Jerold Forsyth’s lighting design will illuminate the foliage of the woods and create the dark and starry skies required to evoke the shadowy nighttime. John Stovicek’s soundscape will emphasize the play’s bewitching themes, bringing encroaching winds and haunting lullabies into the mix of theatrical spectacle.

Sarah Stryker as Lysander. Photos by Kimberly Reilly.

For those of you who haven’t seen A Midsummer Night’s Dream before, you might want to check out a more traditional production of the play before you see Villanova Theatre’s modern re-imagining. Don’t worry, Falvey has you covered. We have two DVD versions of the play in our permanent collection, we have the 1994 issue of The Villanovan that reports a previous production of Midsummer, and you can stream at least 3 different productions of the play through our subscription to Digital Theatre +. We also have access to the BBC version of Midsummer with video and text transcripts. Finally, check out the Midsummer educational guide from Villanova Theatre.

A Midsummer Night’s Dream is on stage from November 12 to 24. Buy your tickets here.


Daniella Snyder HeadshotDaniella Snyder is so excited to see Villanova Theatre’s production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Her favorite Shakespearean play is Othello. She also wants to thank Sarah Wingo, the Falvey Subject Librarian for English, Theatre, and Romance Languages, for her help and information about valuable Shakespearean resources.


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#TBT: Props to Vasey Hall

The Playboy of the Western World play bill, 1960 , at Villanova

THROWBACK THURSDAY

This week, our throwback pic features a playbill from the 1960 production of “The Playboy of the Western World” by John Millington Synge. The playbill is housed in the University Archives along with many other treasures from Villanova’s past.

Did you know that the Villanova’s Theatre Program has been around since 1958? Over that time the program has produced hundreds of plays and musicals in its beloved campus home, Vasey Hall. While Vasey is centrally located on campus, it is a bit tight as other academic offices are also located in the building.

In early 2020, the University hopes to officially open a new, larger space for the Theatre Program—the Performing Arts Center as part of Villanova’s Campus Transformation Project.

We are looking forward to visiting the new space and adding more play bills to our collection. Thanks for the memories, Vasey!


Regina Duffy is Communication and Marketing Program Manager at Falvey Memorial Library.


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Last Modified: August 8, 2019