UMF Theater Presents “A Curious Case of a Dog in the Night-time”
By Aislinn Forbes Contributing Writer
The wood creaked under Brock Bubar’s feet as he entered Alumni Theater through the dark hallway that circles around the seating, having arrived a half an hour before rehearsal starts. Bubar stretches, bending in half or standing on one foot, while he studies his script. “You know, just to go over lines,”
Bubar said, chuckling good naturedly. “There’s a couple lines I always mess up so I have to look at them over and over again.”
Hope Lash, the stage manager, is also there early. Lash is small in stature, but has clear focus and command of a room. Lash has a lot of responsibilities before the actors arrive and after they leave. “My job basically involves knowing everything that happens during a production,” Lash said. As the stage manager, Lash is responsible for communication between the various departments; lights, sound, props, costumes, actors, director.
“Stage managers have such value in the rehearsal and performance process because there is a point where the play moves from the director’s hands to the stage manager’s,” Director Jayne Decker wrote in an email. “Hope worked with me on last year’s production of “Hamlet”, and I’m so glad she is back for our current play.”
Lash’s experience with Hamlet has prepared her well for “A Curious Case of a Dog in the Night-time”. “It’s smaller, it’s a lot smaller.” Lash said, relieved, “The cast is only 10 people, in “Hamlet” there was 22.”
Both Lash and Bubar remarked that the experience developing A Curious Case of a Dog in the Night-time has been rewarding because of the many new faces. “I think about half the cast is incoming students,” Lash’s voice dropped with sincerity, “and they’ve been amazing to work with too, and getting to know them.”
Bubar enthusiastically stated, “That’s one of the best parts about the theater, getting to know everyone you work with.”
The nature of the play and the size of the cast causes most of the actors to play more than one role. Bubar has to portray five separate characters, with two different accents. In order to make costume changes faster between characters, “Everyone has a base of black,” explained Bubar. “And the other stuff is like decoration on top.”
According to Lash, this fits well with the design of the set, “the colors are very muted.”
Decker wrote that she chose the play in order to challenge the actors. “There is great physical work for many of them, including fight choreography and stylized movement.” However, the actor only represent a fraction of the people needed to make the production work.
“One of the great joys in directing a play like Curious Incident is the opportunity to collaborate with scenic and lighting artist, Stan Spilecki,” Decker said, “and sound designer, Michael Diffin because the technical elements establish context for the play.”
Stan Spilecki, in an email interview, described the concept behind the set design. He took the personality of the main character into account when designing the setting, which he calls non-realistic. “Christopher is a mathematics prodigy who needs to order his life,” Spilecki said. “This brings thoughts of order and chaos and thus a version of the Rubik’s Cube.”
Costumes and props are handled by students. Declan Attaway-Murphey and Samantha Wood are responsible for the costume design, the two of them spend hours in the basement of the theater searching through boxes of clothes for things that fit both the show and the actors.
Senior Jessica Leibowitz designs, crafts and organizes the props. “Jess has been working on something all summer,” said Bubar mysteriously. “I haven’t been allowed to see it.”
“A Curious Case of a Dog in the Night-time” opens on Thur., Oct. 18th and will play through Sun., Oct 21st. To purchase tickets students will need to call the UMF box office at (207) 778-7465. Tickets are $5 for students.