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The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

Theater productions explore dark themes this fall

Theater exists to reflect life in our world.

This semester, the theater department aims to do just that with a clowny, tango-filled, community-driven twist on stories of struggle.

Woyzeck and In the Red and Brown Water both tell timeless stories of the downtrodden. Woyzeck, a German play from the 1800s, will be performed in a circus-like environment. In the Red and Brown Water, a modern story that CCE student Tawanna Maryland will bring to life for her senior thesis, incorporates social justice and includes community members outside of Guilford as cast members.

“The theme of (Maryland’s) project is art on poverty,” said Chair and Professor of Theater Studies David Hammond. “It’s like a slogan. Don’t war on poverty, art on poverty. Use art to fight poverty.”

For Maryland, the play is meant to inspire and empower those in poverty or difficult circumstances.

“The play, for Oya, is really trying to figure out who and why she is,” said Maryland. “So my hope is that anyone participating in this will start to clear out the murkiness, understand what their gifted talent is and start to pursue the opportunities that … will build their path.”

Oya, the main character, has yet to be cast, as has the character Shango. Maryland encourages Guilford students to try out for the part. Also, Maryland is holding community discussions about the play and its subject matter every Monday and Tuesday for four weeks starting Oct. 10.

Woyzeck also carries a central message about poverty against a background of acrobatics and puppetry.

“We have this character, Woyzeck, who has had experiments done to him, and he has no say,” said senior Tarilabo Koripamo, who plays The Girl in White Stockings. “Every time he reaches out for his own voice, he is oppressed or put down by people … he is not in a position to fight for himself because he’s financially deprived.”

In addition to the play’s message, the performance will immerse the audience into a world of circuses and electric tango music. The score will bring  the same spirit as the street music in the original play.

“It has sort of a hard edge to it,” said Hammond, who is directing Woyzeck. “So take that hard edge, put it in a circus ring, underscore it with a tango, and that’s what we’re doing.”

The theme will help engage audiences.

“When you have clown makeup and the exaggerated features … it is easier for the audience to see themselves as those characters because the features are so simplistic,” said senior Lindsey Zeritis, who will play Marie for her senior thesis.

However, the play itself follows a dark premise through its eventual outcome.

“The theme is exploring the human psyche and how someone who is downtrodden by life can slip into a sort of madness,” said junior Madison Stranahan, who plays Margaret.

Both plays address life in poverty.

“It’s an ordained purpose is all I can say,” said Maryland. “The fact that both of them hit at (the issue of poverty) is a message about what’s happening in our world. We’re not paying attention and we’re not talking about it enough.

“Theres a need to stir that up.”

With a splash of humor and a rainbow of a set, Woyzeck is set to entice students who attend. With a modern story and a hearty helping of community support, In the Red and Brown Water will surely satisfy as well.

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Clare Forrister, Opinion Editor
Clare is a junior majoring in economics and women's, gender & sexuality studies. She has been a part of The Guilfordian since her first semester at Guilford, and her current role is Opinion Editor. She is from Montgomery, Alabama. Once she met Jimmy Carter.
Jonah Woodstock, Video Editor
He is a film man. A film-tastic maker of video, crafter of narrative, and narrator of craft, this notorious senior will be nabbing the position of Video Team Editor. When he’s not fighting trolls in the ruins of AlbolGoth, he is tirelessly working increase the number of Guilfordian videos, along with a rag tag team of dedicated student videographers. Coming to an ed-board near you!

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