School of Theatre and Dance opens season with “Man and Superman”
The UH School of Theatre and Dance will open the 2017-2018 school year Friday night with the acclaimed play “Man and Superman.”
The show’s assistant director, Sophia Watt, said the play is a romantic comedy and a philosophical debate.
The story opens as a wealthy and opinionated intellectual, Jack Tanner, unwillingly becomes the legal guardian of the charming and wily Ann Whitefield.
“A hidden marriage, bandits, a socialist chauffeur and a road trip through the Sierra Nevada are only the beginning of this Shavian Comedy,” Watt said.
Richard Shimko, director of the School of Theatre and Dance, said the faculty examine specific challenges that will benefit actors, student designers, stage managers and technicians when planning an upcoming theatre season.
“We produce plays covering a broad variety of theatrical periods and styles to make sure there is a lot of educational diversity for the students,” Shimko said.
“Man and Superman,” written by George Bernard Shaw, is over 100 years old but has stood the test of time. Watt said Shaw’s knack for theatrical panache, along with his use of skepticism and paradox, makes his plays a joy to watch and hear.
“Working on a classic British play like ‘Man and Superman’ that features a lot of complex, beautiful language and period costumes is a different challenge for an actor than working on a brand new play, like the student-written comedy ‘Winners’ that’s coming up later in our season,” Shimko said.
Shimko said it is important to please the audience of the play, which is mostly composed of UH students, faculty and staff.
“It seems like a fun experience, and it’s been awhile since I’ve gone to a play,” said Quin Neal, an American sign language interpreting freshman. “I can’t wait.”
James Bohnen, who regularly works at American Players Theater, joined the show as a guest director. Bohnen’s theatrical experience and knowledge helped put the production together, Watt said.
“As a cast and as students, it is wonderful to be in a room with a director who has spent much of their life tackling these great plays,” Watt said.
Watt said the play’s visuals are a “real treat.” The show has four different sets for each act, classical Edwardian costumes and a 1903 motor car built for the production.
“Man and Superman is often not done, as it has a larger cast and requires quite a few major set changes,” Watt said. “We are quite lucky as a community that we get to present and see such a show.”
“Man and Superman” opens Friday and will run through Oct. 13. Tickets are available on the School of Theatre and Dance website and are $10 for students.