Meadows Theatre presents <em>The Seven</em> through Dec. 8, 2013

Steven Smith

Meadows Theatre presents The Seven through Dec. 8, 2013

'The Seven," a Meadows Theatre production of a play by Will PowerFor the final production of 2013, Meadows Theatre presents a spin on a classic Greek tragedy and makes it their own.

The Seven is a “highly modernized, hip-hop version” of Aeschylus’ Seven Against Thebes; the new work is the product of mastermind Will Power. Power is a Meadows Artist-in-Residence and a 2011 Meadows Prize winner who has been called “the best verse playwright in America” by New York Magazine.

The Seven features a combination of hip-hop, funk, gospel, blues and other influences, placing an emphasis on music and urban American experience. The work explores the ancient story of King Odeipus’ sons battling for control of the city of Thebes and is ultimately a comedy and tragedy.

Audience members can expect modern updates to the story including, “a DJ, standing at an ornate golden pedestal high above the stage, that spins records that represent Aeschylus’s voice and the voice of the chorus.” The Seven had a successful Off-Broadway run in New York and California before its debut at Meadows.

Tre Garrett, artistic director for Ft. Worth’s Jubilee Theatre, is directing the Meadows production. He commented on his directing experience, “Working with the SMU students has been an absolute treat, and the energy they bring to the stage is exciting.”

The Seven is a collaborative effort between Meadows and the SMU community. Meadows alumnus Jeffery Colangelo (B.FA. Theatre, ’13) choreographed a martial arts fight scene, grad student Amanda Capshaw (M.F.A. Theatre, ’15) designed the costumes, and undergraduate Steven Smith (B.F.A. Theatre, ’14) designed the stage setting.

This production is not the first time Power has worked on one of his own creations with Meadows. In 2011 he created and premiered Alice Underground. His work is known to “bridge the gap between the spoken word of hip-hop and traditional theatre,” and he has been recognized by major publications such as The New York Times: “Will Power is treading in new territory, experimenting with tools that are new to the theatre…what’s most impressive is that you can see clearly through the door it is opening to a storehouse of new possibilities.”

The Seven will run in the Greer Garson Theatre, Owen Arts Center, through Saturday, Dec. 7 at 8 p.m. and on Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 7-8 at 2 p.m. Tickets are $7 for faculty, staff and students. A full cast and crew list can be found below the cut.

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December 5, 2013|Calendar Highlights, News|

Meadows Theatre explores Cloud Nine through Oct. 28, 2012

Steven A. Smith (B.F.A. ’14) and Joshua Kumler (B.F.A. ’14) in the SMU Meadows Theatre 2012 production of Caryl Churchill's 'Cloud Nine' - photo by Linda Blase

Steven A. Smith (B.F.A. ’14) and Joshua Kumler (B.F.A. ’14) in the 2012 Meadows Theatre production of Caryl Churchill’s “Cloud Nine.” Photo by Linda Blase

“Accepting people who are different and not dominating them or forcing them into particular social roles” is playwright Caryl Churchill’s message in her breakout 1979 work, Cloud Nine. SMU’s Meadows Theatre showcases that message in its second production of the season Oct. 24-28, 2012.

Cloud Nine takes the audience on a journey of social issues, gender roles and power through time. The play’s two acts have two very different settings: The first is set in British colonial Africa in 1880, then fast-forwards one hundred years to the second, set in London in 1980. Student actor Steven Smith explained this dynamic: “The challenge isn’t the actor’s, it’s the audience’s. Caryl Churchill is asking you to watch each play, Act One and Act Two, and see how they inform and respond to each other.”

Another interesting dynamic in Churchill’s play is that each actor plays two separate roles, with male actors playing women and vice versa. “The gender-reversed casting becomes a useful tool when, from the audience’s perspective, you are watching Betty go through her life as the most beautifully feminine woman she knows how to be – her intentions and her behavior all point to that end – but you are constantly confronted with the physically male actor,” says Smith, who plays Betty. “There is a tension and a conflict there that is never acknowledged in the world of the play. It’s yours to do with as you will.”

James Crawford, associate professor and Head of Acting in the Division of Theatre, directs the production. Performances take place in the Margo Jones Theatre, Owen Arts Center. Tickets are available online and are $7 each for faculty, staff and students.

A full cast list (in alphabetical order) appears under the jump.

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October 24, 2012|Calendar Highlights, Tune In|
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