Performance ticket prices to be cheaper

cast+members+for+the+musical+%26%238220%3BChicago%26%238221%3B+practice+before+their+performance+this+past+spring.+Ticket+prices+for+this+year+will+be+%241.75+if+students+order+online.

cast members for the musical “Chicago” practice before their performance this past spring. Ticket prices for this year will be $1.75 if students order online.

Pulse Reporter and Pulse Reporter

Students who want to attend plays this year may only have to spend $1.75 per ticket if they purchase online.

In past years, ticket prices were around $8 and up. Prop master and scenic designer Kelly Mangan said she believes the discounted ticket will draw a larger audience than previous years’ productions.

“Last year we sold out of every show of “Chicago;” people couldn’t get tickets and that was when they were paying for them,” Mangan said. “So now if they are going to be free, you could potentially not get to see a show because everybody and their brother is going to want to come because its free.”

“A Christmas Carol” director Geoff Stephenson said he does not think the new price will make a difference in ticket sales.

“I don’t really expect more students to come than who came before, because if they’re not required to go see it, they probably won’t anyway,” Stephenson said. “Theatre is an art form that either you were brought up to go to theatre or you can afford to go to theatre.”

Students will have the opportunity to get discounted prices for two productions this semester; “The Seagull” and “A Christmas Carol.”

“The Seagull” by Anton Chekhov will be directed by associate professor of Theatre and Film Jonathan Chambers and be performed in the Eva Marie Saint Theatre in mid-October. Since the Eva Marie Saint Theatre is a black box, it can be configured in many different ways, Chambers said.

This past year, “Arabian Nights” was performed in the Eva Marie and it had round or arena style seating, with the audience on all four sides of the stage; this year, “The Seagull” will have thrust seating, with the audience only surrounding three of the four sides.

Chambers, who also directed “Arabian Nights” this past spring, said in addition to the variety of ways the Eva Marie can be configured, it is also an intimate setting for both the audience and performers.

“The stage configuration we use is an incredibly intimate space and so the actors are doing their work even from the back row,” Chambers said.

Mangan said she is interested to see how the audience copes with the space, since it is only the second show to be performed in the Eva Marie.

“I think it will really be interesting to see how the audience reacts to such a small space, where the actors are so close,” Mangan said. “I’m not sure that today’s audiences are used to that.”

Chambers said he believes the audience will connect with the play, despite it being more than 100 years old.

“I think sometimes a playwright like Chekhov has the reputation of being boring and I can almost guarantee that my production will not be boring,” Chambers said. “I think that even though the characters are 100-years-old, that people can see the characters dealing with struggles that are very familiar.”

While “The Seagull” will start from scratch in terms of costumes and scenery, “A Christmas Carol” will be able to reuse some costumes and scenery.

“It’s the way we did it last time, but the way we did it last time was for a completely different theatre,” Mangan said. “So we have to make some modifications, because it won’t necessarily fit in the new theatre the way it did.”

“A Christmas Carol” adapted for stage by Margaret McCubbin will be directed by Geoff Stephenson and be performed in the Donnell Theatre in November and early December.

Despite not starting rehearsals until Sept. 24, Stephenson said he is looking forward to working with his terrific cast and directing his first show in the Donnell theatre.

“It’s going to be nice to work in a theatre where the lighting system isn’t going to collapse, catch on fire and that annoying fan isn’t going to clack in the background,” Stephenson said.

While both Stephenson and Chambers are excited to direct in the new facility, Mangan and “Chicago” director Michael Ellison said everyone is constantly learning about the new space.

“Even the faculty who are professionally trained still take quite awhile to read the 400-page manual of how to work specifically this sound board,” Mangan said.

Ellison directed the first large-scale musical production performed in the Donnell Theatre this past spring.

“It had its challenges, but oh what great challenges,” Ellison said. “One of the things I love about the Donnell Theatre is it feels so intimate. You’re not that far from the audience. Any audience member was no further than 14 rows from the stage.”