Site-Specific Staging of ‘Peer Gynt’ Breaks Rules, Boundaries

Production is first-ever collaboration between Augsburg, University of Minnesota

A ground-breaking production of Henrik Ibsen’s “Peer Gynt” will take theater goers on a fantastic voyage that includes oversized birds and trolls, original music and simultaneous scenes, all while attendees and performers travel a quarter-mile portion of the University of Minnesota Landscape Arboretum.

The play, a 1.5-hour production condensed from Robert Bly’s 3-hour script of 2008, represents a first-time collaboration between theater departments at Augsburg and the University of Minnesota. It’s also probably a first for site-specific theater of this scale for theatergoers in the Twin Cities. “Peer Gynt” will be performed seven times from April 10-13. Continue reading “Site-Specific Staging of ‘Peer Gynt’ Breaks Rules, Boundaries”

Theater teaches students about critical thinking, teamwork

The spring production of Cabaret, a classic American musical set in 1930s Germany, has created a unique learning laboratory—true to the Theater Department’s mission—in which students are asking big questions and learning how to work as a team. In making connections between a time in history and present-day issues, the cast members are creating theater that will give them skills they can use in life and in their future careers.

Asking big questions develops critical thinking skills

CabaretDarcey Engen, associate professor and chair of the Theater Department, said the rehearsal process raised important questions for the cast members. “1930s Germany was a time of great wealth and great poverty, and the middle class was stressed,” Engen said. “We discussed the conditions, drawing similarities to what is now happening in our country.”

Rehearsals began shortly after the proposed Minnesota Constitutional amendment to define marriage was defeated and following the elementary school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut. These events helped cast members relate current issues to the circumstances in 1930s Germany and the discrimination that centered on race, class, and sexuality. Continue reading “Theater teaches students about critical thinking, teamwork”

Backstage names Augsburg 1 of 5 Top College Theater

Augsburg College theater production
Augsburg College theater production

Backstage magazine’s 2012 Fall College Guide listed Augsburg College among the top five U.S. institutions for theater majors who wish to continue their studies professionally.

“In our Theater Department, students connect with professional artists in the city while they delve into their theater courses,” said Darcey Engen, Augsburg College associate professor and chair of Theater Arts.

“We find that the combination of the department’s rigorous curriculum, exposure to outstanding professionals in the field, and mentorship with theater faculty prepare our students to graduate as complex, deeply committed artists who can apply their insights and skills to any occupation.”

Continue reading “Backstage names Augsburg 1 of 5 Top College Theater”

Non-traditional theater production explores topic of student debt

debtIt’s not traditional theater. And it’s not very common to see students on campus with tape over their mouths and rope wrapped around their bodies. But that is exactly what students in Augsburg’s upcoming theater performance did last week to promote their work.

Debt, a student-led production exploring the topic of student debt, began last week with a series of site-specific performances. The production continues Nov. 1-4 with town-hall style meetings that use popular theater techniques and facilitation methods to generate dialogue among audience and cast members. Continue reading “Non-traditional theater production explores topic of student debt”

Loven and Lewis come home to Minneapolis

kyle_lovenKyle Loven ’06 has called a few places “home.” He moved from the charming town of Wilmar, Minn. to Minneapolis to study theatre and art history at Augsburg. After college, he spent some time in Europe before settling in Seattle, Wash. And on March 19, Loven will return to his Twin Cities home to perform my dear Lewis, his one-man show about memories.

my dear Lewis will be part of SEEDS, presented by Open Eye Figure Theatre. SEEDS features the work of emerging artists who are supported by the Henson Foundation. Performances are Mar. 19, 20, and 22 at 7:30 p.m. and Mar. 21 at 4 p.m.  Continue reading “Loven and Lewis come home to Minneapolis”

Theatre season opens with Chekhov's innovative drama

three_sistersLast weekend the Augsburg Theatre Department opened its 09-10 season with Anton Chekhov’s The Three Sisters, a drama that expresses Chekhov’s longing for Moscow (he was in Yalta at the time) and for his wife, Olga, who he left behind.

Here Kat Lutze [right], a sophomore majoring in arts administration with a specialization in theatre, discusses her experience playing Olga, the oldest of the three sisters. Lutze is joined by junior Shannon O’Brien [left] who plays Maria and sophomore Abbey Ehling [center] who plays Irina. Continue reading “Theatre season opens with Chekhov's innovative drama”