Benedictine Theatre Department theme

Mabee Theatre, the stage for the 2017-18 theatre productions.  Photo by Rocky DeSantis.

By Rocky DeSantis, The Circuit.

For the 2017-2018 school year, the Benedictine Theater Department chose the theme of “violence” for the play lineup.

Dr. Scott Cox, Chair of the Department of Theatre and Dance, explained that the choice of this theme came out of a brainstorming session where ‘violence’ seemed to be a common theme. He also explained that this year’s theme is a loose interpretation.

“Last year, if every play didn’t depict violence as an action on stage, it dealt the consequences of violence,” Cox said.

He believes that humans as a species are a barbaric people, as depicted in readings such as the Quran and the Bible.

“We have all these high vaunted beliefs in God and noble things and love that are supposed to direct us towards non-violent ends, but they never seem to take,” Cox said.

The decision has set up a lineup of unique plays, including Lope de Vega’s Fuente Ovejuna, Larry Shue’s The Foreigner, Bertolt Brecht’s Mother Courage & Her Children and Cox’s own Buck Hoss.

Written for his master thesis, Buck Hoss is an adaptation of the Greek tale of Dionysus set in the deep Appalachian south.

“It is a conflict between two Christian preachers who radically reinterpret the Bible in their own way,” Cox said.

“One is very fundamentalist, very conservative, and very much about confining people, and confining their view points. The other is of course all about ecstatic release and dancing and letting the wine flow.”

Ayden Pugh, the Master of Music on Fuente Ovejuna, thinks the theme of violence is important because he believes theatre is an appropriate way to depict intense situations that occur in the real world.

“We have beautiful morals here at Benedictine but we cannot just ignore the facts that there is violence out there,” Pugh said. “I think it is important to show students that violence is a real thing.”

Pugh is looking forward to being a part of one of Cox’s own written plays. Pugh said that Cox has a good way of keeping people lighthearted, while keeping them on task.

Cox hopes to fill all 135 seats in the Mabee Theatre for every show this season.

The schedule of the Theatre Department season:

  • 3-8, Fuente Ovejuna, by Lope de Vega
  • 14-19, The Foreigner, by Larry Shue
  • 23-28, Mother Courage & Her Children, by Bertolt Brecht
  • April 17-22, Buck Hoss, by Dr. Scott Cox

A list of dates for the upcoming performances may be found here:

https://www.benedictine.edu/academics/departments/theatre-dance/current-season