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Arts & Entertainment WCU students to perform ‘Rashomon’ Feb. 20-23

Western Carolina University students will stage the classic drama ‘Rashomon’ Feb. 20-23. The production includes actors Cullen Ries, left, and Jordan Snead engaging in an intricate and athletic Japanese swordfight.Stage and screen students from Western Carolina University will perform the classic drama “Rashomon” onstage Wednesday, Feb. 20, through Saturday, Feb. 23, as part of the 2012-13 Mainstage season.

Showtime each night is 7:30 p.m. in Hoey Auditorium. Tickets are $15 for adults; $10 for seniors and WCU faculty and staff; and $7 (in advance) and $10 (day of show) for students.

“Rashomon,” adapted for stage by Fay and Michael Kanin from work by Japanese writer Ryunosuke Akutagawa, is set in feudal Japan and offers four differing accounts of the same event a rape and murder as seen through the eyes of four characters. The stylized production, set in the near future in the aftermath of a major nuclear event, will pay homage to traditional elements of the Noh Theater of Japan.

“I chose to direct ‘Rashomon’ because it contains timeless life lessons about human nature,” said D.V. Caitlyn, the play’s director and a stage and screen faculty member. Even in the new post-apocalyptic setting, “the themes of the play remain strongly supported – human nature is what it is, both the admirable and the questionable,” Caitlyn said.

The show features action including swordfights and aerial work by the actors. “Given the action of the play, it allows me to explore with this cast a demanding physicality through the katana (Japanese sword) fights and other live action. The cast itself has been in physical training for several months at least, some since the beginning of last summer in anticipation of this production,” Caitlyn said.

The student actors in the production are theater, musical theater and dance students in the university’s School of Stage and Screen. They include freshmen Alex Drost of Blairsville, Ga., and Emily Pears of Alexandria, La.; sophomores Phil Culton of Hillsborough and Cullen Ries of Cartersville, Ga.; juniors Grant Hengeveld of High Point and Amanda Wilson of Mount Airy; and seniors Hannah Chatham of Statesville, Jaclyn Helms of Spruce Pine and Jordan Snead of Hillsborough.

Next up in the Mainstage Series is “The Drowsy Chaperone,” a spoof 1920s song-and-dance frolic that addresses the unspoken human desire to be entertained. Terrence Mann, WCU’s Phillips Distinguished Professor of Musical Theatre, will direct the production, to be held in the John W. Bardo Fine and Performing Arts Center. A silent auction, organized by WCU’s College of Fine and Performing Arts to benefit the Friends of the Arts organization, will run concurrently with the play.

For more information about the Mainstage season, contact WCU’s School of Stage and Screen at (828)227-7491. To order individual tickets, call the Bardo Arts Center box office at (828)227-2479 or go online to bardoartscenter.wcu.edu.


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