Theatre UNB present Age of Arousal – February 3 -6, 2016.
Theatre UNB begin 2016 with a production of Canadian playwright Linda Griffiths’ Age of Arousal, a witty, provocative and sexy comedy.
“For me, the words that best describe this play are smart, sexy, funny, and thought-provoking, all the things I best like in plays,” said director Len Falkenstein. “It’s a highly entertaining but also sharply insightful depiction of relations between men and women, and especially of women’s ongoing struggle for equality.”
Set in 1880s London, the play is steeped in themes of revolt, eroticism, and First-Wave Feminism.
“Though set in Victorian times, it’s really about the present and about how the same problems, contradictions, external opposition, and internal battles that beset the feminist movement in its early days continue today,” said Falkenstein. “That that message can be delivered in such a rousing, hilarious, and entertaining package is a real testament to the strength of Griffiths’ writing.”
Age of Arousal is the story militant suffragette Mary Barfoot and her lover, Rhoda Nunn, who have opened a secretarial school for unmarried women. The pair hope to reorder society by teaching their charges typing and shorthand and sending them out into the workforce when a dashing young man and a trio of destitute sisters turn Mary and Rhona’s lives upside down “as they struggle to reconcile their bodily urges with their ideals and principles, the play’s aroused Victorians hurtle headlong into a very modern state of chaos and confusion that shows with both delightful and sad insight how little has changed so far as matters of the heart and relations between the sexes.”
Age of Arousal continues Theatre UNB’s ongoing theme of politically driven theatre under the direction of Falkenstein, whose own work as a playwright has been known to carry a highly political charge. His award-winning 2014 play, Lac/Athabasca, was inspired by the Lac-Mégantic rail disaster and the social and environmental concerns surrounding Canada’s oil industry.
“I do tend to look at the world through the lens of politics and come at theatre as someone who sees art as always being political in some way, whether it is challenging certain ideas or contentedly reaffirming the status quo,” said Falkenstein. “For me, if I am not changed in some way by the experience of seeing a play, in the sense of having had something about my life or the lives of others questioned, being forced to see the world in a new light, even a small way, or being affected by it emotionally in a way that is tied to how I see the world, it’s probably not an experience that I enjoyed a great deal or took a lot from. So I bring that perspective to the plays I choose and what I want audiences to see.”
Theatre UNB presents Age of Arousal | February 3 – 6, 2016 | Memorial Hall, UNB campus | 7:30 p.m. | Tickets at the door: $14 regular, $10 senior/underemployed, $8 for students