Featuring 16 talented student actors, “Ivona, Princess of Burgundia” will hit the stage of LPAC’s Pearson-Hall Theatre tomorrow at 4:30 p.m. for its opening performance. With tech week drawing to close, Swarthmore’s Production Ensemble — after rehearsing the play since the start of the semester — will finally take to the stage. Written by the renowned Polish dramatist Witold Gombrowicz, “Ivona” tells the story of a kingdom driven to insanity by its unlikeable, even repulsive, heroine — the eponymous Ivona.
Directed by Assistant Professor of Theater Elizabeth Stevens and enlisting the help of other Swarthmore theater professionals to spearhead design in sound, lighting, costumes and the set, Ivona has a tremendously skilled cast. According to Jonghee Quispe ’14, an honors theatre major who will be serving as assistant director for the play, the cast does this play “remarkable justice.” Stevens herself as even commented that the cast “possess[es] the deliberation and sharpened skills of professionals.” The play has not only allowed Quispe to work hands-on with Stevens, but it has also allowed the entire cast to gain experience working with an accomplished theater professor.
In addition to the cast, perhaps one of the more unique and anticipated parts of the play is the construction of the set. According to Quispee, attendees of the show will most likely be surprised to see that they are led directly onto the mainstage, with constructed seating on a balcony above and around the set. Unlike in other recent theater performances, audience members will thus have an opportunity to enjoy the play from a sort of bird’s eye view.
One of the more challenging parts of putting on the show is the general complexity of the set changes. First-year Sarah Kaeppel, the Assistant Stage Manager for the play, describes that her biggest challenge “is to make the set changes very efficient.” Kaeppal, who has plenty of stage managing experience from high school, will be faced with her first stage management experience in “Ivona.” “My main goal is to keep the backstage activitiy as organized and efficient as possible so the actors have the best opportunity to present their amazing work,” she said.
Comedic in nature, “Ivona” also includes a somewhat peculiar humor and twisted farce, particular towards the end of the play. Attendees can certainly look forward to the sense of hilarity that the play hopes to evoke from its audience.
Shows are scheduled for Friday, March 23 at 4:30 p.m. and 9 p.m., Saturday, March 24 at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. and Sunday, March 25 at 2 p.m. An invited dress rehearshal will also be held tonight at 8 p.m.