The Original Don Juan Story

Category: stage 152

Theatre St. Thomas’ production of The Trickster of Seville and His Stone Guest runs this week at the Black Box Theatre.

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Theatre St. Thomas will take audiences on a wild romp through Europe this week with their production of the original Don Juan story, The Trickster of Seville and His Stone Guest, by Tirso de Molina, in an English version by Roy Campbell.

Combining elements of the classic stage comedy with those of a revenge tragedy, TST Artistic Director and STU Drama Coordinator Robin C. Whittaker promises audiences “a breathtaking journey across Europe during the Spanish Golden Age.”

“I’ve been wanting to direct The Trickster of Seville for some years now,” said Whittaker.  “It tests audiences, because on the one hand you love that Don Juan is this anarcho-egotist who ignores the laws and edicts of the patriarchal state whenever it suits him, but on the other hand you hate that he loves and leaves women, princesses and peasants alike, by tricking them in and out of sex and promises of marriage.”

The play is the first full production of the year for TST and is the first of a two-part conversation Whittaker has planned for audiences this season.

“The timing is right because the play provides an intriguing counterpoint to TST’s February show, No White Picket Fence, which will feature the verbatim words of women who have gone through the challenges of the foster care system and are now ‘living well’,” he said.

This production will feature original compositions for guitar and violin by composer and recent STU graduate, Zachary Greer.

“Zachary Greer was recommended by our previous music composer Rodney DuPlessis,” said Whittaker.  “Rodney’s now pursuing graduate work in California, in part thanks to the experience he received working with Theatre St. Thomas.”

“Zachary is a guitar-based musician and I asked him whether he’d be interested in composing music that was modern folk-inspired, but with traditional Spanish echoes. The curious challenge in this case is that Tirso de Molina has provided the lyrics but there is no hint of the playwright’s intended music behind it. The result is that Zachary, on vocals and guitar, and Chris Murray, on violin, move through upbeat celebratory tones to haunting, even other-worldly verses, sometimes accompanied by members of the cast,” said Whittaker. “The musicians drift in an out of scenes and transitions. It’s going to feel almost like folk sessions from time to time, within and around the play. Zachary has an incredibly nuanced feel for the needs of both the lyrics in the script and the tones of the moment.”

Whittaker, together with Technical Director Chris Saad, designed the set for this production with a little help from Theatre New Brunswick’s production staff.  And by Whittaker’s account, it may be one of the most impressive sets in recent TST history.

“I don’t want to give too much away, but our hope is that as soon as you walk into the Black Box you’ll be arrested by the our design choices,” said Whittaker, “It’s perhaps a more symbolic set than Chris and I have created before, even as it maintains literalness. The elements—fire and water in particular—feature actively in Tirso de Molina’s writing and we’ve tried to create space for these in the ways that the set and Chris’s lighting design coalesce.”

“There’ll also be a few design surprises throughout the show that we hope will take the audience’s breath away as they have ours,” said Whittaker.  “Suffice it to say, we’ve probably used more square footage of the Black Box’s deck this time around than in any of our past shows—but don’t worry, we can still fit audiences in.”

Cast and Creative Team

Featuring: Robbie Lynn, Dustyn Forbes, Brennan Garrett, Jon Grant, Ben Smith, Matthew LeBlanc, Alexander Rioux, Miguel Y. Roy, Thomas MacDougall, Liam Browne, Dylan Grant, Telina Debly, Nick Ivory, Kira Chisholm, Sydney Hallett, Diana Poitras, Maggie Cronin, Bella Baldin, and Mariana Amero. Director: Robin C. Whittaker. Technical Director and Lighting Designer: Chris Saad. Assistant Director: Esther Soucoup. Costume Designer: Cheryl Lee Watts. Music Composer and Sound Designer: Zachary Greer. Musicians: Zachary Greer and Chris Murray. Stage Manager: Wei Qinn Tan. Assistant Stage Managers: Tristan Toser, Naomi McGowan, and Brianna Parker-Tarasco. Lighting Operator: Patricia Saad.

The Trickster of Seville and His Stone Guest | November 16-19, 2016 | Black Box Theatre, Sir James Dunn Hall, St. Thomas University | 7:30pm (plus a 2:00pm Saturday matinée) | $5 students/seniors, $10 general | View Event

 

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