Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Seattle Rep with Students


The School for Scandal

an Adaptation

by Richard Brinsley Sheridan

Adapted by Andrea Allen

Directed by Scott Koh

Unique collaboration allows students to produce new play at Seattle Repertory Theatre through its Annual Drama Intensive Program

May 23 and 24, 2007 7:30 p.m.

Seattle, WA - Under the guidance and direction of Seattle Repertory Theatre teaching artists, over 50 high school students from The Center School will present a new adaptation of the Restoration comedy classic The School for Scandal by Richard Brinsley Sheridan May 23 and 24 in Seattle Rep's Leo K. Theatre. Over the last four months, the students have learned about costume and set design, set construction, playwriting, and acting in two different TCS classes, and then applied those skills to bring the script by Seattle Rep Education Director Andrea Allen to life. Tickets are $5.00 general admission or free with student ID and are on sale now at 206-443-2222.

This is the sixth year Seattle Rep has partnered with The Center School for the semester-long Drama Intensive program. Last year's Drama Intensive, Pants on Fire, was an exploration of the current teenage obsession with online identity portals like "MySpace" mashed up with a history of P.T. Barnum's legendary showmanship and circus tomfoolery.

Students enrolled in the Rehearsal and Performance class build their acting techniques and offer personal responses to Allen that may be incorporated into the script. Once the script is finished, the acting students audition for roles and begin an intensive rehearsal process, under the direction of Scott Koh and Assistant Director, Emily Henderson. At the same time, students in the Design and Production class learn from professionals about designing sets and costumes for theatre while also getting the chance to see and respond to local theatre productions. Under the leadership of Design and Production lead Teaching Artist Jess Smith, Dana Perreault (sets), and Emily Carlson (costumes), the Design and Production students help design and build the technical elements of the show.

The Play: This year's Drama Intensive will be an adaptation of Sheridan's The School for Scandal a play about pretending to be nicer than you are (or in some cases meaner than you are) and trying to fit into society-no matter what the cost. Lady Sneerwell has her sights set on the eligible young bachelor Charles. Through a series of lies, scandalous plots, and devious schemes she vows to make him fall for her. "I decided to explore gossip and our country's increasing fascination with celebrity culture," said Allen. "As scandal becomes the norm, and the desire to break taboos-always a staple of adolescence-becomes more difficult because of a lack of boundaries, it seemed only appropriate to return to the 18th-century. A time when the rules and taboos may have been more explicit, especially around class and gender, but the desire to undermine said rules and taboos was just as rampant as today."

The Playwright: Andrea Allen is the Director of Education at Seattle Rep and has created numerous programs for the theatre. From its inception six years ago, Ms. Allen has been actively involved in the creation and development of The Center School, a public high school on the Seattle Center campus. She teaches playwriting and directing at the school, as well as writing an adaptation each year for the Drama Intensive project. Her most recent play is Pants on Fire, an exploration of circus and lying with P.T. Barnum as the host. Her other plays for students include Lost, based on Grimms' Hansel and Gretel, and My Life as a Greek Tragedy based on Euripides' Orestes. A graduate of Yale University with a degree in Women's Studies, she has an M.A. in education from Antioch University. She currently serves as the board president of ArtsEdWashington (Washington Alliance for Arts Education), a board member of Washington Alliance for Theatre Education, and an advisory board member of Washington Ensemble Theatre (WET).

The Director: Since moving to Seattle in 1989, Scott Koh has performed or directed at the Seattle Shakespeare Company, Annex Theatre, The Northwest Asian American Theatre, Book-It and the late Group and Bathhouse Theatres. At Seattle Repertory Theatre, he directed past Center School productions My Life as a Greek Tragedy and Pants on Fire. He has served as Education Program Manager at Seattle Rep since 1999. Mr. Koh is a graduate of Boston University's College of Fine Arts.

Performance Details: Performances of The School for Scandal: An Adaptation are at 7:30 p.m., Wednesday, May 23, 2007 and Thursday, May 24, 2007 in the Leo K. Theatre at Seattle Repertory Theatre.

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