Theatre program will perform two plays, ‘The Play That Goes Wrong’ and ‘The Banned Books Club’
The Department of Music, Theatre and Dance is proud to announce that students in the theatre program will be offering two different plays for fall 2023. Both plays will run on the same two weekends starting on Thursday, Oct. 26, and ending on Saturday, Nov. 4. All members of Salve Regina’s community, as well as the public, are invited to attend.
‘The Play That Goes Wrong’
One of the productions is a hilarious play called “The Play That Goes Wrong” — a play that’s won many awards, including a 2017 Tony Award for Best Scenic Design of a Play and the 2015 Olivier Award for Best New Comedy.
“The Play that Goes Wrong” has been described as combination of Monty Python and Sherlock Holmes. The play is about a theatre company called the Cornley Drama Society on opening night of a murder mystery — but things begin to quickly spiral out of control and chaos ensues on set.
“I went to see it on Broadway, and I have never laughed so hard in my life,” said Dr. Tara Brooke Watkins, “I also wanted to cry, because as a director watching a play that goes so badly — it’s like my worst nightmare.”
The play consists of a cast of eight students, and there are also eight students on the crew that will help behind the scenes. All of these are theatre majors or minors, and the show will be stretching the cast and crew professionally and academically because of the physical comedy that it demands.
“There are slaps, there are people falling from high levels, there are people getting taped up and beaten up,” said Dr. Watkins. “So training our actors to do that level of acting is important because it’s a whole different style. So that’s partly the reason I chose it — we haven’t done a farce that demands such physical intensity yet.”
Hailing from Taunton, Massachusetts, Brianna Brown ’24, a psychology major with a minor in theatre, is playing an actress named Sandra who is playing a character named Florence Colleymore in the murder mystery.
“I am so excited to not only be a part of the madness [of this play] but to be able to spread the joy and laughter that I felt when I first saw the show,” said Brown. “One of my absolute favorite moments in this show is the loop scene at the end of Act I. From the moment we started rehearsals, it has always had me in stitches — and I am so excited for everyone to see it. This show is truly hilarious, and I have such a blast getting to work and laugh with this cast every night.”
Showtimes for “The Play That Goes Wrong” are in the Casino Theatre Thursday, Oct. 26 at 7:30 p.m.; Saturday, Oct. 28, at 2 p.m.; Friday, Nov. 3, at 7:30 p.m.; and Saturday, Nov. 4, at 7:30 p.m. To purchase tickets, please go here.
‘The Banned Books Club’
The second play — directed by Sarah Ploskina, adjunct faculty in the theatre program — is currently entitled “The Banned Books Club,” which is a devised play where a group of people create a play from scratch with the entire group’s input. This will be similar to the “The Bible’s Women’s Project” and “The Strindberg Experiment” created in the fall of 2022.
The cast for “The Banned Books Club” –all theatre majors or minors — started the devising process at the beginning of the semester. During McKillop Library’s Banned Books Week, they also held an event to get some material for the play from audience participants on Oct. 5.
The play will be interactive and take material from the audience members for every performance. A set of practices known as The Theatre of the Oppressed form the foundation of the piece, which was pioneered by Brazilian theatre artist, Augusto Boal. Through Boal’s theatrical focus is on dialogue, power-sharing, and liberation, participants develop active awareness, appreciation and empathy around previously polarizing issues.
Emma McGrillen ’25, a double major in English and secondary education with a minor in theatre arts, is excited to share the topic with the audience.
“Audiences can expect an honest and thoughtful exploration of the effects book banning can have on both young people and adults,” McGrillen said. “People should come to see ‘The Banned Books Club’ because there is a place for everyone in the discussion about book banning. Audiences will be welcomed into a transparent environment where they can learn, share an opinion, and possibly gain a new perspective.”
Devising plays is becoming a signature experience in Salve’s theatre program, and it will also be collaborating in the spring with the biology program to devise a play about maternal health.
Showtimes for “The Banned Books Club” are Friday, Oct. 27, at 7:30 p.m.; Thursday, Nov. 2, at 7:30 p.m.; Saturday, Nov. 4, at 2:00 p.m. in McKillop Library. Saturday, Oct. 28, at Noon at the Middletown Public Library. To purchase tickets, please go here.