2015-2016 Season Archive

Imaginary Hypochondriac-bannerTHE IMAGINARY HYPOCHONDRIAC

By Molière

Directed by Dario Tangelson

In this farcical comedy, a rich hypochondriac named Argan is torn between his love of money and concern for his health. Convinced by his doctors that he is gravely ill, Argan racks up exorbitant medical bills and decides to marry off his only daughter to a doctor’s son in order to solve both his problems at once. His clever maid Toinette, his daughter’s love for another suitor and his second wife’s attempts to become the only beneficiary to his fortune cause all his well-laid plans to fall to pieces and almost give him a heart attack. Or so he thinks. Ironically, Molière’s thirtieth and final piece, in which the ill-fated protagonist is financially and literally bled dry by his charlatan doctors, remains inextricably attached to the author’s fate: Molière died shortly after the fourth performance, in which he played the title role of Argan, on February 17, 1673. This historical irony has granted this simple comedy strange reverberations of a much deeper significance.

Dont-Know-HeaderI DON’T KNOW

An Original Student-Created Piece

Directed by Sarah Myers

How often do you say, “I dunno,” after expressing an idea? Why do some of us have this habit? Do we really not know? And what does it mean not to know the very thing we’ve just said? Inspired by conversations with theater students about why we so often utter these words, I Don’t Know is an exploration of what it means not to know, who claims knowledge and how, and what might be stifling and/or inspiring in uncertainty. This ensemble-created, collage-style piece will draw on original writing, video projections, and movement to ask questions about the very nature of knowing.

Watch Short Interview With Director



Facilitated by Sha Cage and E.G. Bailey

Def Poetic Vol.2 is an evening of spoken word. The presentation is the culmination of pieces developed in a four week workshop. The spoken word workshop participants will engage in listening & video sessions along with writing and performing both their own pieces and ‘classic’ work. Free and open to the public.

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By Don Nigro

Student-Directed by Emily Wrolson

Cath, an orphan girl sent to a country boarding school by distant relatives, is initiated into her fellow classmates monthly midnight game of Mistress and Slave. Every full moon the three girls draw cards that decide who is in charge, who must obey orders, and who watches. Cath is happy to have made friends and to play their game but soon discovers how intense and dangerous the game can become. Don Nigro illustrates the captivating yet disturbing power of flame-filled dares in Barefoot in Nightgown by Candlelight.

Barefoot in Nightgown by Candlelight Video Trailer

Tjornhom-Nelson Theater, Foss Center

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By Henrik Ibsen

Sod House Theater and the creative team behind The Peer Gynt Project at the Minnesota Arboretum, will lead a workshop exploration of Henrik Ibsen’s “An Enemy of the People”, a play about how a town wrestles with a contaminated water source that will bring financial ruin to the community.  Examining, through a contemporary lens, the water crisis in this classic play strongly resonates with the current water challenges in Minnesota, the United States and the around the globe. The project will culminate with an informal showing that will feature live music and performance.

Foss Studio Theater, Foss Center

WAITING FOR LEFTYScreen Shot 2016-03-14 at 12.17.53 PM

By Clifford Odets

Directed by Barbra Berlovitz

April 1, 2, 6, 7, 8, and 9 at 7 p.m.
April 10 at 3 p.m.

Income inequality, discrimination, union busting, long working hours, corruption, fear mongering, are words all too familiar to most of us in 2016 America.   Waiting for Lefty speaks to these issues and more.  And it was written in 1934. It is the story set in a taxi driver union meeting.  Members discuss their predicaments and a possible strike. Tempers are high and money is tight. The bosses are squeezing the workers for every penny, reducing wages and adding hours. Different family and work situations are acted out to reinforce the need for a strike.  As an event, the play starts angry and builds in intensity to the end when a strike is called.  Theatre is at its best when it reflects the time it is performed in and speaks to those in the audience. Maybe this eighty one year old play’s time has come again.

Tjornhom-Nelson Theater, Foss Center


Carousel Web HeaderCarousel

Music by Richard Rodgers
Book and Lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II

Directed by Darcey Engen
Musical Direction by Sonja Thompson

April 10,11,16,17,18 at 7 p.m.
April 12 and 19 at 3 p.m.

In a Maine coastal village toward the end of the 19th century, the swaggering, carefree carnival barker, Billy Bigelow, captivates and marries the naive millworker, Julie Jordan. Billy loses his job just as he learns that Julie is pregnant and, desperately intent upon providing a decent life for his family, he is coerced into being an accomplice to a robbery. Caught in the act and facing the certainty of prison, he takes his own life and is sent ‘up there.’ Billy is allowed to return to earth for one day fifteen years later, and he encounters the daughter he never knew. She is a lonely, friendless teenager, her father’s reputation as a thief and bully having haunted her throughout her young life. How Billy instills in both the child and her mother a sense of hope and dignity is a dramatic testimony to the power of love. It’s easy to understand why, of all the shows they created, CAROUSEL was Rodgers & Hammerstein’s personal favorite.

Tjornhom-Nelson Theater, Foss Center

Def Poetics Vol.2

Def Poetics Vol.2

Facilitated by Sha Cage and E.G. Bailey

March 11th and March 12th   at 7 p.m.

Def Poetic Vol.2  is an evening of spoken word. The presentation is the culmination of pieces developed in a four week workshop. The spoken word workshop participants will engage in listening & video sessions along with writing and performing both their own pieces and ‘classic’ work. Free and open to the public.

Studio Theater, Foss Center

Trouble in Mind


Trouble in Mind

By Alice Childress

Directed by Dominic Taylor

January 30,31, February 5,6,7 at 7 p.m.
February 1 and 8 at 3 p.m.

Willetta Mayer, a talented, but struggling African American actress, has been cast to star in a Broadway Show, the anti-lynching play Chaos in Belleville. She has paid her dues and is ready for her star turn, but is this play as enlightened as she’s hoping?  Chaos is written by a liberal white male and directed by a white male. Willetta’s journey shows us that theatrical practices often put show business and integrity on a collision course. When this collision also includes race and gender, it is a compelling and potent dramatic brew.  Trouble in Mind, written in 1955 by Alice Childress, creates a theatrical microcosm with real world reverberations.

Production Photos

Tjornhom-Nelson Theater, Foss Center




By Mark Steven Jensen
Student-Directed by Mawrgyn Roper

November 14 at 7:00 p.m. and 8:30 p.m.
November 15 at 12:00 p.m., 1:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m.
November 16 at 12:00 p.m., 1:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m.

Bertha and Louise are wandering in an empty wasteland when they both spot an egg at the same time. Bertha wants to turn the egg into an omelet; Louise wants to paint the egg for Easter. They each try to convince the other to give up dibs on the egg. The debate turns more and more violent and events spiral out of control. The production will use highly physical performance techniques with puppetry and clowning to tell the story of two women and an egg.

Production Photos

The Studio Theater, Foss Center

A Midsummer Night’s Dream

nonameA Midsummer Night’s Dream

By William Shakespeare

Directed by Martha Johnson

October 31, November 1,6,7,8 at 7 p.m.
Wednesday, November 5 Show added at 7p.m.
November 2 and 9 at 3 p.m.

With its potent mixture of love, comedy, lyricism, and stage magic, A Midsummer Night’s Dream has continued to captivate audiences for over four centuries.  Set in a mythical world of ancient Athens, moonlit woods, and fairy kingdoms, the play is a poignant and hilarious look at multifarious forms of human folly. Our production will imaginatively explore the play’s rich and compelling themes (both overt and covert)—love, power, gender, sexuality, marriage, class, patriarchy–through a fresh, contemporary lens, as we mine the play’s poetic, humorous, and magical power.

Production Photos

Tjornhom-Nelson Theater, Foss Center

Peer Gynt

PeerGyntPeer Gynt By Henrik Ibsen
April 10 – 13, 2014

Adapted by Robert Bly
Dramaturgy and further adaptation by Sarah Myers
Directed by Darcey Engen and Luverne Seifert

Performed at The University of Minnesota Arboretum in Chaska Minnesota

The Peer Gynt Project is a collaboration between the Theater Department at Augsburg College and the BA Theater Program in the Department of Theater Arts and Dance at the University of Minnesota. This re-vision of Ibsen’s classic Peer Gynt is a site-specific performance at the University of Minnesota Arboretum in Chaska, Minnesota. This production is an exploration of this epic Norwegian play and how it reflects culture, history and mythology. Students from each department will work closely with the project leaders, Darcey Engen, Chair and Associate Professor of Theater at Augsburg College and Luverne Seifert, Instructor and Head of BA Theater Performance at the University of Minnesota to create a highly innovative, condensed, site-specific production that explores the universal themes in the play. Continue reading “Peer Gynt”


AntigonickA new translation of Sophocles’ Antigone by Anne Carson

Directed by Martha Johnson

January 31 at 7 p.m.

February  1,6,7,8 at 7 p.m.

February 2 and 9 at 3 p.m.

Tjornhom-Nelson Theater, Foss Center

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In her highly innovative translations of ancient plays, acclaimed poet Anne Carson “combines contemporary language with the traditional structures and rhetoric of Greek tragedy, opening up [ancient tales] . . .to a modern audience. . .”  In Antigonick, Carson emphasizes the importance of time–and timing–in tragedy, by introducing a silent character, Nick, who is always on stage measuring things while the events of the play unfold. Antigone is “here given an entirely fresh language and presentation.”

The House of Bernarda Alba

BernadaAlbaBy Federico García Lorca

Translated by Michael Kidd

Directed by Dario Tangelson

November 1,2,7,8,9 at 7 p.m.

November 3 and 10 at 3 p.m.

A highly physical take on Lorca’s last play, The House of Bernarda Alba depicts the life of an affluent family in 1930′s Spain. Forced by Bernarda, the tyrannical matriarch, into a eight-year mourning period after the death of her husband, the Alba sisters see all of their dreams and deepest desires smothered by their despotic mother’s rule. Forced to never leave the house and cut off from the outside world the asphyxiating atmosphere drives the sisters against each other  in an inevitable path to tragedy.

Tjornhom-Nelson Theater, Foss Center

Ticket information

Backstage Magazine features Augsburg College’s theater program

Top 5 College Theater Programs Outside of NY

Augsburg College TheaterBackstage magazine’s 2012 Fall College Guide named 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.”

In the article “On the Boards & Chalkboards” —released October 25, 2012—Backstage recommended an Augsburg education for “enterprising, driven students looking to climb the [professional] ladder in double time.”

The article described the three academic concentrations the College offers theater majors, highlighted Augsburg’s course offerings, and emphasized the theater program’s proximity to the renowned, Minneapolis-based Guthrie Theater.

“Augsburg gives students the chance to listen to arts professionals ranging from stage managers to casting directors” who speak at the College’s Theatre Artist Series, according to the article. Augsburg students also have the chance to intern at the Guthrie Theater, and “most of the Guthrie’s casting is done locally, so students already have a leg up.”

Backstage serves actors, singers, and dancers by connecting them to the greater performing arts community, and has existed as a theater industry publication for more than 50 years.