Tea time

, by Kieran Kredell,

I bet you didn’t know that there are about one million shows being sponsored by Second Stage this semester. There are only, what, forty movies in the film series? And none of them are starring, written by or directed by your friends and neighbors here at Wesleyan. Realizing this, the good people at the Argus thought it was time to drop some theater knowledge on the Wesleyan campus – so here I am, coming at you each week with a little peek-a-boo at the goings-on each weekend in student theater.

THIS WEEK: Heart Play(s) by Heiner Muller.

This one is particularly exciting, not only because it is the first show of the semester, but because it employs a creative process rarely seen in the ’92: collaboration.

Conceived and coordinated by Jess Chayes ’07, Heart Play(s) is an experiment in interpretation: a team of directors work with a single piece of text (Muller’s eleven-line play), resulting in a single meta-performance comprised of five different adaptations. Muller’s text addresses “the physical and emotional dangers of giving someone your heart,” Chayes said.

The understated and touching, if abstract, script presents a few problems when attempting to stage it. Muller’s script is a dialogue between two unnamed characters, spanning across eleven lines and less than one hundred words. It immediately sets itself apart from our ideas of physical and emotional reality. Therefore, the challenge for the directors was to create a three-dimensional world for the text, a physical and theatrical space where this dialogue is possible, even necessary.

The idea for the experiment was birthed in Professor Marcela Oteíza’s Scenic Design class last spring. The team of directors is compiled mainly of students from the class, and includes: Edward Bauer ’08, Nick Benacerraf ’08, Jess Chayes ’07, Kelly Klein ’08, Elissa Kozlov ’08, Chris Krovatin ’07, and Meredith Steinberg ’06.

In addition to directing her own adaptation of the text, Chayes supervised the process and organized the various performances into a cohesive night of theater. “This is the most democratic process I’ve ever been a part of,” said Chayes, referring to the artistic liberty of each creative team. The director or directorial team was granted full responsibility for designing the space and creating the performance. It was up to Chayes to create, or find, the link between each adaptation and string them together into a solid piece.

The five pieces are all performed within the walls of the ’92 Theater, in succession, as the audience is lead from location to location.

“It’s a journey,” Chayes said.


Heart Play(s) opens Thursday, Sept. 21 in the ’92 Theater and runs through Saturday, Sept. 23.

Performances: Thursday at 10:30 p.m., Friday and Saturday at 8:00, 9:00, and 10:00 p.m.

Free tickets day of show.

Starring: Victoria Amoscato ’08, Gedney Barclay ’09, Edward Bauer ’08, Jesse Bordwin ’10, Dan Cerruti ’09, Sean Chin ’09, Jesse Coburn ’09, Seth Cohen ’07, Alexandra Early ’07, Emily House ’09, Jeremy Marks ’07, Annie Paladino ’09, Allison Rock ’10, and Emily Vallillo ’09.

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