2010-11 OFA Flashback: Thriving Theater

by Tom Lee

This summary of the past year’s Harvard undergraduate theater season is another in a series of posts highlighting significant arts programming during the 2010-11 academic year.

The Bard, a bearded butterfly, and a bit of ballet: all of this—and much, much more—kept the boards busy during the fall and spring.

On the Loeb Drama Center’s mainstage, the American Repertory Theater’s Scott Zigler directed Steven Dietz’s 1992 comedy of young manners Trust in October; and Matt Stone ’11 directed Jean Genet’s The Balcony in November.

In the Loeb’s Experimental Theatre, productions included Noah Haidle’s absurdist comedy/drama Mr. Marmalade, September 24-October 2; Pirandello's Six Characters in Search of an Author and Friedrich Schiller’s Mary Stuart in October; Shakespeare’s Antony and Cleopatra, October 29-November 6, and Romeo and Juliet in December; and Wole Soyinka’s Death and the King's Horseman in November. The spring Ex season included the two-hander Howie the Rookie in February; and Inside Out, written and directed by Chris Gummerson ’12, and Skinwalking, written and directed by Cecilia Raker ’11, in March.

At the New College Theatre, the Hyperion Shakespeare Company presented The Spanish Tragedy by Thomas Kyd in October, directed by Meryl Federman '11; the Harvard Ballet Company showcased works by George Balanchine and guest and student choreographers in November; and Les Arts Florissants: An Entertainment of Opera and Ballet by Marc-Antoine Charpentier and Jean-Baptiste de Lully was performed by Harvard Early Music Society, November 29-December 12.

Also at the NCT, the all-male cast of Hasty Pudding Theatricals’ 163rd production Kashmir If You Can kicked up its high heels in March, and the OFA Dance Program presented Dancers' Viewpointe 11: Point • View • Voice, March 20-April 2. Other undergraduate shows in the Holyoke St. venue during the spring term included the Jason Robert Brown/Alfred Uhry musical Parade, April 4-17, and The Story, Tracey Scott Wilson’s journalism drama helmed by Visiting Director Benny Sato Ambush, April 18-May 1.

At Adams House, the students got into the swim of things at the Pool Theatre in November with The Disney Revue, David Henry Hwang’s M. Butterfly, and Paradise NV, written and directed by Kristi Bradford ’12.

Over in Radcliffe Yard, the Agassiz Theatre featured the popular Ruddigore by Sir Arthur Sullivan and W.S. Gilbert, presented by the Harvard-Radcliffe Gilbert and Sullivan Players, October 25-November 14; and Joseph Kesselring’s equally popular comedy Arsenic and Old Lace, November 29-December 12. Also at the Ag, the South Asian Association’s annual cultural showcase Ghungroo played to packed houses February 21-March 5; the H-R Gilbert and Sullivan Players returned with The Yeomen of the Guard, March 7-April 3; La Casa de Bernarda Alba by Federico García Lorca was performed in Spanish, April 4-17; and this year’s Freshman Musical, Rock, Paper, Kill Me, slayed audiences April 18-May 1.

What were your favorite Harvard theater productions this year? Let us know…and let us know what we left off the list!

[Caption: Snoweria Zhang's set for "Howie the Rookie"]

[Caption: Kashmir If You Can]