Come one, come all to Emerson's fall theatre

Musical Theatre Society (MTS)

Senior directing and dramaturgy major Adam Thompson, president of MTS, is starting the year off early with a Hurricane Katrina Relief Jazz Cabaret on Sunday, Oct.,”All across campus, bulletin boards are filled with fliers from Emerson theatre groups. With so many organizations to follow, sifting through all the postings can get confusing. To keep track of what is going on this semester, The Beacon has the inside scoop on several performances for the season:

Musical Theatre Society (MTS)

Senior directing and dramaturgy major Adam Thompson, president of MTS, is starting the year off early with a Hurricane Katrina Relief Jazz Cabaret on Sunday, Oct. 16 from 8:30 to 10:30 p.m. in the Cabaret of the Little Building. This performance will be an evening of MTS students singing, along with a jazz homage to New Orleans. A donation of food, clothing or money is required to attend. Food and drinks will be served and there will be plenty of dance space to enjoy the music. Watch for more announcements shortly.

MTS will also be performing Hair, the famous play by Gerome Ragni and James Rado. Addressing issues of the 1960s counterculture of sex, drugs and rock and roll, Hair will be performed at the Jorge Hernandez Cultural Center in the South End. MTS will present Hair at 2 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 2 and Thursday, Nov. 3. The Saturday, Nov. 5 performances are at 2 and 6 p.m.

MTS will participate in the Equity Fights AIDS Week with a Concert Gala/Opening Ceremony on Sunday, Nov. 6th as well. A semi-formal event with dinner and dancing is planned to raise money for AIDS awareness.

Emerson Shakespeare Society

Hamlet, the classic Shakespearian account of justice and retribution, will be reenacted on Nov. 18 and 19 free of charge to Emerson students. This rendition stays close to the traditional story, but adds some contemporary twists. Rather than keeping the show true to form, director Meg Kelly, a junior film writing and development major, sets the play in a modern-day business setting with powerful executives vying for power.

"It is going to be themed around competing companies where Claudius has taken over King Hamlet's position," she said. Other differences include Hamlet being a spoiled brat and the technique of keeping the dialogue in Middle English in a similar vein to the 1996 Baz Luhrmann film Romeo + Juliet. Although the location has yet to be determined, fliers will be posted across campus later in the semester.


Rareworks will be hosting unique shows during the fall semester. The Country is a dramatic comedy mixed with some darkness and mystery as a husband and wife move to the countryside only to encounter a strange woman on the side of the road who unveils some scandalous secrets. Rareworks president Max Newman, a junior theatre studies major, notes that The Country uses a casual style of speaking with everyday vocabulary. Many scenes only have two actors on stage at a time, whereas other plays frequently have characters walking on and off stage. Dates and location for The Country are TBA.

Parallel Lives is perhaps one of Rareworks' most demanding performances, in which each castmember will have to play several roles during the show. Although not as taxing as the original, where two women would perform the play in its entirety, having multiple roles in the same production is no easy task. The location and dates for Parallel Lives are TBA.


Directed by junior musical theatre major Scott Zenreich, The Adding Machine will be one of Mercutio's flagship performances. A 1920s expressionist piece, The Adding Machine is the story of main character Mr. Zero after he snaps and kills his boss. Zenreich's biggest change to the performance is his idea for the set, which is modeled after an enormous abacus where the pieces are moved around to change the scenes. The seven shows of The Adding Machine will be performed during the last week of October from the 26th to the 30th at the Devanaughn Theatre in South Boston. Show times are Wednesday through Friday at 8 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. Advertisements will be posted soon.

Mercutio will also participate in the annual Equity Fights AIDS week with a short piece entitled Andres Mother, along with a 24-hour playwriting festival. This day-long exercise has members choosing a play to direct and perform in the span of one day.

Mercutio has plans to present a night of three single-act plays entitled The Doomsday Plays, which was written by junior theatre education major and Mercutio President Lindsay Barrett. Times, location and format (full production or staged readings) for these political Armageddon featurettes are in the works, and more information will be released soon.

Emerson Stage

One of the busiest theatre troupes on campus, Emerson Stage has half a dozen performances this semester alone. The schedule starts early for this group with Neil Labute's The Distance From Here. Directed by assistant performing arts professor Mark Cohen, the story follows the lives of three teenagers searching in the wrong places for purpose and meaning in their lives. Showing at the Greene Theater in the Tufte Performance Production Center, The Distance From Here runs Friday, Oct. 14 at 8 p.m.; Saturday, Oct. 15 at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. and Sunday, Oct. 16 at 2 p.m.

Stephen Terrell directs a stage rendition of A New Brain, an Emerson reproduction of William Finn's telling of his book written with James Lapine. Living with a brain tumor, Gordon Schwinn is forced to look back at his life and the decisions he has made. A New Brain plays at the Semel Theatre on Thursday and Friday, Oct. 27 and 28 at 8 p.m. and Saturday, Oct. 29 at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m.

Robert Colby, associate performing arts professor, directs the childhood classic book Sideways Stories From Wayside School. Originally written by Louis Sachar, the story of one of the most demented schools unwinds as the oddities range from bizarre architecture to talking hairdos.

Emerson Stage will be using the Cutler Majestic Theatre for five days. Performances are Friday, Nov. 11 at 7:30 p.m.; Saturday, Nov. 12 at 1 p.m. and 5 p.m.; Sunday, Nov. 13 at 1 p.m.; Friday, Nov. 18 at 7:30 p.m. and Saturday, Nov. 19 at 1 p.m. Cost of tickets are: $21/14 for students and seniors (65+) and $9 for the Emerson community.

The Greene Theater is hosting a performance in experimental dance on Thursday, Nov. 3 at 8 p.m.; Friday, Nov. 4 at 8 p.m. and Saturday, Nov. 5 at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. The piece was created by Emerson students under the supervision of artistic director Marlena Yannetti.

Based around Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Blithedale Romance, professor and Performing Arts Chair Melia Bensussen's theatrical adaptation class plans to showcase its talents in the Greene Theater. The performance investigates various ideas of love and utopia on Thursday, Dec. 1 at 8 p.m.; Friday, Dec. 2 at 8 p.m. and Saturday, Dec. 3 at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m.