Saint John's University

02/14/2020 | News release | Distributed by Public on 02/14/2020 14:19

Theater Department to stage one-act plays Feb. 18-23

The College of Saint Benedict and Saint John's University Theater Department will be producing two one-act plays by Eugene Ionesco Feb. 18-23.

'The Lesson' and 'The Bald Soprano' will be staged at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 18-22 and 2 p.m. Feb. 22-23 at the Colman Black Box Theater, lower level, Benedicta Arts Center, CSB. 'The Lesson' will be performed first, followed by a short intermission and then 'The Bald Soprano.'

Ionesco was a Romanian-French playwright who was one of the foremost figures of the French Avant-garde theater. Beyond ridiculing the most banal situations, Ionesco's plays depict the solitude and insignificance of human existence in a tangible way.

'The Lesson' is exactly that - a lesson. The professor (played by SJU senior Noah Campbell) attempts to teach a student (CSB junior Lizbet Martinez-Port) about addition, subtraction and linguistics. He is surprised to learn that she can add but cannot grasp the concept of subtraction. The maid (CSB junior Katie Wagner) is an active collaborator enabling the professor to defy logic and accomplish his secret dark desire through the blatant misuse of language.

'The Bald Soprano' was the first play Ionesco wrote, and premiered May 11, 1950 at the Théâtre des Noctambules. Since 1957, it has been staged continuously at the Théâtre de la Huchette on Paris' Left Bank (it holds the record for the play that has been performed continuously at the same theater).

The play stems from Ionesco's attempt to learn English. The dialogue in the books he was using to learn the language was often very sober and strange, so he composed an absurd play involving the Smiths (SJU senior Robert Karlson and CSB first-year Celeste Dickson) and the Martins (SJU junior Peng Xiong and CSB junior Chelsea Schaffer), two couples from London who gather for a visit.

It is an irreverent romp through absurdist situations and nonsensical language.

The one-act plays are directed by Kaarin Johnston, professor of theater at CSB/SJU. The student stage manager is first-year CSB student Olivia Schleper.

Tickets for the production are $10 for adults, $7 for CSB/SJU faculty and staff and $5 for students. Tickets are available at the BAC Box Office, by phone at 320-363-5777 or order online.

Please note that $1 from each student ticket sold goes into a special theater fund to help students who are involved in theater attend a regional college theater festival each January.