The University of Dallas Drama Department has an exciting season of performances in store for the UD community this semester. As some may know, there are three types of performances that occur every semester through the drama department: the official Mainstage performance, a series of one-act Senior Studios and the After Hours Series.
Every semester revolves primarily around the Mainstage performance. Mainstages are full-length productions directed by professors — typically alternating between Department Chair Kyle Lemieux and Associate Professor Stefan Novinski — but this semester will be a little different. With Lemieux on sabbatical and Novinski busy mentoring the senior directors, the department decided to bring in guest director David Denson for this spring’s Mainstage.
Denson is a longtime colleague of both professors and is currently the associate director of programming at the AT&T Performing Arts Center in Dallas. He has worked in the performing arts industry for over 20 years and is responsible for curating subscription programs at the Center such as the “Off Broadway on Flora” series, which brings Broadway musicals to Dallas, and the “Elevator Project” series, which features small performing arts groups in the area.
This spring, Denson will be directing “The Liar” by David Ives, translated and adapted from Pierre Corneille’s “Le Menteur.” This witty, upbeat comedy takes place in 1643 Paris. It follows the escapades of Dorante, a young man who has come to Paris to escape the dull life of a country noble. The story progresses as he attempts to recreate himself and find love by telling spellbinding lies and extravagant stories. “The Liar” will open March 29 and run through April 8.
Under the mentorship of Novinski and Associate Professor Susan A. Cox, three seniors will be directing their studios this semester.
The Senior Studio is a final capstone project for the drama majors. During their junior year, all drama majors choose their plays, write a thesis on it, and then spend the rest of their time preparing to direct it. Performed at the end of every semester, these shows typically run for three nights. Last semester’s shows, however, sold out completely and were so packed with overflow reservations that the department has decided to add an additional performance.
For his Senior Studio, Jacob Heimlich is directing “The Dumb Waiter” by Harold Pinter.
“[The show is ] a tense, psychological black comedy that follows two hit men awaiting their next target in an abandoned basement,” Heimlich said in an email. It is full of humor and is sure to leave you thinking.
Zeina Masri is directing “Purgatorio” by Ariel Dorfman, a show that she called a searing, human drama. The plot revolves around a married couple that is trapped in an afterlife.
“Their only chance at salvation is to forgive their worst earthly enemies — each other,” Masri said in an email.
Though never explicitly referenced, the couple’s memories and sins are extremely similar to those of Jason and Medea from Greek mythology.
The final Senior Studio will be directed by Ellie Dimitry. Dimitry is tackling “Hello Out There!” by William Saroyan.
“[It’s] a dark and winsome drama that tells the story of a young gambler who is arrested and jailed in a small Texan town,” Dimitry said in an email. “He is innocent but the only person who will listen to his story is a young girl who cooks for the jail.”
Performed by an extremely talented, all-freshman cast, this show calls justice into question as its characters dream of getting away and making it big in San Francisco.
Finally, keep an eye out for upcoming After Hours Productions. These performances are directed and produced by students of any grade or major. Ranging from student-written one-acts, to improv shows, to staged-readings, the After Hours Series is an exciting way to experiment and explore.