While most of us probably want the weather to stay nice this weekend, seniors George Fergus ’13 and Katherine Lewiston ’13 are counting on sunny forecasts to fulfill a plan two years in the making.
Fergus and Lewiston are co-directors of the 2013 spring lyric theater show “Candide,” which will come to life in the Christiansen Hall of Music courtyard this Thursday, May 9, at 7:30 p.m. The show will also be performed Friday, May 10, at 7:30 p.m. and Saturday, May 11, at 2:30 p.m. – if the weather behaves. If not, the performances will still be free and open to the public, but they will take place in Urness Recital Hall.
“With the weather being this unpredictable, we’ve had to practice in both spaces [the courtyard and Urness], and that complicates things,” said Kayleen Seidl ’13, who plays the role of the mischievous maid Paquette. “It affects entrances, exits and other aspects of the staging. We’ve been preparing for whatever happens – it keeps you on your toes.”
The unique outdoor setting forces not only the cast but also the crew and musicians to adapt. “There will probably be some challenges because your sound isn’t contained, so you can’t hear other people as well,” said Hannah Stallkamp ’13, who plays viola in the show’s live orchestra.
Regardless of whether audiences get to see “Candide” unfold in the courtyard or in Urness, there will be no shortage of surprises.
“The play is based on the book ‘Candide’ by Voltaire, so it’s super satirical,” Seidl said. “There are so many lines in it that, if you didn’t know they were satirical, would be super offensive. It deals with the philosophy that everything happens for the best and we live in the best of all possible worlds, but terrible things keep happening. We did an event chart one day as part of one of our rehearsals, and there were about 100 disasters – earthquakes, volcanoes erupting, people getting slaughtered.”
However, “Candide” is not just a gore-fest. It has multiple layers, ranging from the comedic to the philosophical to the musical.
“We chose ‘Candide’ because it’s just a really great show,” Lewiston said. “It’s witty, irreverent and fast-paced, and the music is really well-known and beloved. We knew that we needed the right cast, because it’s a tricky thing to sing well, but if we had that, we would have a great show.”
Luckily, Lewiston and Fergus feel they were successful in recruiting a talented cast of upperclassmen, underclassmen and even a faculty member.
“The students are fantastically talented, and George [Fergus] and I made the decision to cast a faculty member, Janis Hardy, in a major role,” Lewiston said. “It’s been a treat to have her in the cast, and I think she gives everyone else the drive that we need to pull this off.”
Multiple levels of seniority among the cast provided ample opportunities for learning from each other and just getting to know a variety of people.
“What I like best about the show would be the people,” Laura Newton ’15 said. “It’s a great cast and the musicians and directors have also been really fun to work with.”
Seidl agreed that getting to know the rest of the cast was a highlight. “There are a lot of underclassmen in it, so it gives me and the other upperclassmen a great opportunity to get to know the freshmen and sophomores,” she said. “It’s great to see how much talent is coming up.”
For the decisive word on whether each performance will occur inside or outside, consult the Facebook event “Candide: An Outdoor Operetta” http://www.facebook.com/events/118438785022047/.
Photo Credit: Madison Vang/Manitou Messenger