WOOSTER, Ohio — The College of Wooster’s Department of Theatre and Dance will present Louis Nowra’s “The Golden Age” Oct. 24-26 in Freedlander Theatre (329 E. University St.). The production, which begins at 8:15 p.m. each evening, is associated with this year’s Wooster Forum (“Facing Race”). Tickets are $9 for general admission and $6 for senior citizens, faculty, staff, and non-College of Wooster students (Wooster students are admitted free, but must pick up their complimentary ticket at the box office ahead of time).
Released in 1985, the play exposes the folly of those who believe in a master race and ponders the consequences of colonization through the eyes of two young men who come across a cluster of outcasts while exploring the backwoods of Tasmania. These so-called misfits, isolated from society and beset by a host of mental, physical, and language obstacles, are descendants of a generation of transplants deemed undesirable by the British government and dumped in a remote location of Australia to fend for themselves. The play explores the collision of their world with 20th century Australians, framed by the global conflict of World War II, and begs the question, “How can presumably civilized humans kill one another in a savage world conflict and then look upon this group of outcasts as somehow being inferior?”
Nowra is regarded as one of Australia’s most distinguished dramatists. He has focused most of his work on man’s desire to conquer other races and confiscate their land without understanding the enormity of what they had done. He began writing plays to reflect his interest in language, education, and enculturation. His first work, “Albert Names Edward” focuses on a derelict recluse who teaches a homeless amnesiac. Other works include “Inner Voices” and “Visions.”
Wooster’s production of “The Golden Age” is directed by Shirley Huston-Findley, professor of theatre and dance. Student stage manager Chelsea Gillespie and student lighting designer Kent Sprague will apply their experience to their Senior Independent Study project (Wooster’s nationally acclaimed mentored undergraduate research program).
Gillespie’s search for a more experimental approach to stage management led to her role with this production. “The entire process has been more collaborative and more creative,” she said. “It has drastically changed my view of stage management. Many of the current approaches have been narrow and limiting, but through this opportunity, I have been able to experiment with different methods, and it has really opened my eyes.”
Sprague, who received a Copeland Fund Grant for a trip to Australia to conduct primary research and photograph images that could be used as design elements for the upcoming play, said the experience has been invaluable. “I have gotten the opportunity to do more than a lighting designer normally gets to do,” he said. “I have been able to be part of the process from the beginning, and this has enabled me to develop the space for the actors, which has been very exciting.”
The play also features sophomores Noah Hibbard and James Lorenzin as the two young explorers, along with seniors Kevin Glass (William) and Aviva Neff (Dr. Simon); junior Adam Seligson (Mac, George Ross, James, German Man); sophomores Emily Donato (Angel, Mrs. Witcombe, Mary the Maid), Mickey Osthimer (Private Corris, Mr. Turner), and Summit Starr (Betsheb); and first-years Marisa Adame (Stef), Marisa Steele (Elizabeth), Scott Wagner (Melorne, Richard, The Servant), and Savanah White (Ayre).
Additional information about the play is available by calling the box office (330-263-2541).