The University of Toledo Department of Theatre and Film and its students have been invited to present two productions as part of two major theater events — “The Adding Machine” in Cleveland and “Strip Tease” in Chicago.Judges from the regional Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festivals attend members’ local productions and choose the best one for invitation to the festival.
This year’s UT production of “The Adding Machine,” written by American playwright Elmer Rice and directed by UT Theatre Lecturer Irene Alby, will be included in the upcoming Region II Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival.
The regional festival will be held in Cleveland, where UT’s production of “The Adding Machine” will be performed at the Ohio Theater in Playhouse Square Tuesday, Jan. 6.
Should it be well-received there, it will have the chance to be performed at the national 47th Annual Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival in April in Washington, D.C.
“The Adding Machine” follows the story of an ordinary accountant, Mr. Zero, who murders his boss after learning he will be replaced at work by an adding machine. This action — his only unique and spontaneous act after a lifetime of obedience — and its consequences are explored in Rice’s expressionistic play.
After Mr. Zero is sentenced and executed for murder, he finds his afterlife to be a most unexpected experience. Funny, sad, poignant and startling, this metaphorical play is a visually rich contemplation on right and wrong, life and death.
UT’s production presents the action of the play as coordinated movement that is almost dance-like. All of the set pieces such as the cage-like office, which also transforms into Mr. Zero’s cell, as well as the actors, move in a kind of dance that makes the UT production a creative rendering of the play.
The 2013 fall UT production of Slawomir Mrozek’s “Strip Tease” was presented earlier this month at the Chopin Theatre in Chicago.
Managers at the Chopin Theatre invited UT to bring the production as part of the Chicago Humanities Festival.
The one-act play, directed by Cornel Gabara, UT associate professor of theatre, was part of a festival celebrating the work of playwrights Mrozek and Zbigniew Herbert.
The festival titled Tribute to S. Mrozek and Z. Hebert was sponsored by the Chopin Theatre and the University of Illinois at Chicago and its Hejna Family Chair in Polish Language and Literature.
Performances of UT’s production of “Strip Tease” were held Dec. 5-7.
The one-act play is a comedic social commentary that explores the response of two characters faced with a voiceless and faceless authority figure that seems to be demanding that they shed not only their clothing but their dignity as well. But is it really asking or are they just all too willing to comply with what they do not understand? Through comic critique, the play invokes the social and political quirks of modern human beings.