GV theatre department to share two distinct performances

GVL/Kevin Sielaff
Katie Tamayo

GVL/Kevin Sielaff Katie Tamayo

Shelby Pendowski

This Friday evening will be a big one for the theater department at Grand Valley State University for the opening night of “The Women of Lockerbie” and “The Magic Flute.” The productions offer two very different performances: one being a modern play and the other a classical opera.

“The Women of Lockerbie,” which opens on Nov. 7 at the Louis Armstrong Theatre, is a play based on the terrorist attack on the Pan Am 103 flight over Lockerbie, Scotland in 1988.

“I wanted to direct ‘The Women of Lockerbie’ because I am interested in theater as a tool to promote and enhance social awareness. The script is about a terrible, yet true, story,” said Director Kiara Pipino. “Unfortunately, we are getting so used to similar tragedies that we tend to forget them. I think it’s important to remind ourselves of the loss, the tragedy and the grief that is caused by those terrible events in order to potentially develop a stronger sense of community.”

Mallory Caillaud-Jones auditioned for the play because of her interest in theatre, but the impactful story hooked her and she is hoping it does the same for audience members.

“For some reason, the majority of our generation is not very interested in theater plays,” Caillaud-Jones said. “Therefore, when we have a play of this kind, which has an exceptional script, outstanding director and very dedicated actors, there is hope that those who come to see the play for a class or just for amusement will take away with them the power of performance.”

From on the stage, the audience on opening night will look like a typical audience that many of the actors have experienced before, but one of those shadowy figures beyond the bright lights will be the show’s playwright Deborah Brevoort. Before taking to the stage, the cast will work with Brevoort and the playwright will finish the night up with an open discussion.

“When Kiara first told us that the playwright would be attending the play, we were all very shocked,” Caillaud-Jones said. “The fact that she is not only coming to see the performance, but is also holding a workshop for actors beforehand, is an extreme honor for us all. If anything, I think we are all very excited.”

There will be seven performances of “The Women of Lockerbie.” Pre-sale tickets are $12 for adults, $10 for seniors, faculty, alumni and staff, and $6 for students and groups. At the door tickets are an additional $1.

While the cast of “The Women of Lockerbie” takes the stage, the cast of “The Magic Flute” will be taking to the Peter Martin Wege Theatre, the home of the Grand Rapids Ballet. The Grand Rapids Ballet is located on Ellsworth SW downtown Grand Rapids.

In its 17th season, the GV Opera Theater selected Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s opera “The Magic Flute” as their fall production.

“This is the first year I feel like students and faculty at Grand Valley can meet this challenge,” said GV Opera Theater Artistic Director, Dale Schriemer. “It is an 18th century full on opera and it is a big undertaking so it takes specifications and depths of talent and a lot of creativity to pull this off.”

“The Magic Flute” is the tale of Prince Tamino and Papageno, the bird-catcher, as they prove their worthiness for the women they desire through various trials.

“This is one of the most challenging (operas), personally I think, they could have picked,” said cast member Kristina Papas. “It has so many characters. It is giving a lot of people performance opportunities and experiences.”

The cast, which was selected in the spring, is compiled of GVSU students, faculty and alumni. A nine-piece chamber orchestra and the GR Junior Ballet will accompany the cast throughout their performances.

“It is accessible to the audience, it (has) singable melody lines that you are going to be humming on the way out of the theater,” said cast member Gabriel Reitemeier.

Tickets can be purchased at the Louis Armstrong Theatre Box Office. Performances are Nov. 7 and 8 at 7:30 p.m. and Nov. 9 at 2 p.m.

For more information on “The Magic Flute” or “The Women of Lockerbie” visit www.gvsu.edu/theatre or call the box office at (616) 331-2300.