Escape artists: Theatre and Film students to present ‘The Labyrinth’

November 10, 2010 | Arts, UToday
By Angela Riddel

Bruno (Christopher Douglas), left, Etienne (Pat Miller), center, and Micaela (Terri Mims) rehearsed a scene from Fernando Arrabal’s “The Labyrinth.”

Bruno (Christopher Douglas), left, Etienne (Pat Miller), center, and Micaela (Terri Mims) rehearsed a scene from Fernando Arrabal’s “The Labyrinth.”

Comic, dark, gruesome and truthful, “The Labyrinth” will continue the Department of Theatre and Film’s 2010-11 season, “Imprisonment.”

The work by controversial playwright Fernando Arrabal will be presented Friday through Sunday, Nov. 12-14, and Wednesday through Sunday, Nov. 17-21, in the Center for Performing Arts Center Theatre. Performance times will be at 7:30 p.m. except Sunday, when the curtain will go up at 2 p.m.

Etienne (Pat Miller, a film major) finds himself in a park latrine chained to Bruno (Christopher Douglas, who is majoring in psychology and theatre) and surrounded by a labyrinth of blankets preventing his escape. The plot of the play is driven forward by a bizarre series of events and conversations that befuddle Etienne as he waits to be tried by an insane judge (Marshall Kupresanin, a history and theatre major) for reasons that are unknown to him.

“The labyrinth can be thought of as any system — political, social, educational, religious, etc. — that operates with more concern for control and order than for human needs,” said Dr. Edmund B. Lingan, UT assistant professor of theatre, who is directing the production. “On some level, everyone can identify with Etienne’s predicament.”

The play also features Michael Cochran and Terri Mims as Justin and Micaela, the father and daughter who serve as Etienne’s jailers.

The play is drawn straight out of its playwright’s experience. Arrabal wrote “The Labyrinth” in 1961 while he was living in exile when the government of Francisco Franco ruled Spain. Arrabal’s father was a victim of the violence and oppression of Franco’s government, and “The Labyrinth” paints a portrait of government oppression, including ridiculous legal policies, kangaroo courts and bodily humiliation.

Lingan is staging “The Labyrinth” in the round, and the theatre itself will be enveloped by an imposing labyrinth that surrounds and floats above the performers and the audience. The set, designed by UT theatre major Frankie Teuber, also will operate as a projection surface for video by UT film major Meg Sciarini.

The actors, who will be dressed in fantastical costumes, will perform a highly physical performance within a soundscape created by Jonathan Ovalle, UT assistant professor of music, in conjunction with sound designer Sal Simione, a theatre major.

Audiences should be aware that the content of the play is not intended for children. The video elements of the show include nude figures. The live portions of the show do not have any nudity but feature strong adult themes. Discretion is advised.

Tickets are $13 for general admission; $11 for faculty, staff, alumni and seniors; and $9 for students. They can be purchased online at, by calling 419.530.2375, or by visiting the Center for Performing Arts Box Office.

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