Red Deer College theatre students are gearing up for the final show of the season – George Orwell’s classic Animal Farm.
Directed by Lynda Adams, this presentation is adapted by Peter Hall with lyrics by Adrian Mitchell and music by Richard Peaslee. Based on Orwell’s revolutionary masterpiece, Hall’s adaptation envisions an ideal society where the animals can live without human oppression.
Performances run in Studio A from April 13th – 16th. Curtain is 7:30 p.m.
There is also a weekend matinee at 1 p.m.
Animal Farm has been described an allegorical and dystopian novella which was first published in England in August of 1945.
Starting with the notion that all animals are equal – but some are more equal than others – and ending with a twist, this story will help us explore the political implications of this classic story, with stunning visuals and lively music.
“That was also one of the reasons we chose (this rendition) – because it has music, and we have a very musical class this year,” said Adams, adding that Morgan McKee has come on board to help with the musical aspect of the show.
“We are also having so much fun working on it – it’s such a fantastic story,” she added. Hall’s rendition also proved to be the ideal one for her cast of 19 to tackle.
“When I was doing my master’s in London, I heard a lot about him. He’s a director, and very well-known in the U.K.
“When we were looking at our season this year, we definitely chatted about Animal Farm. It had come up a number of times over the past few years and we went, ‘Yes, this is a really great piece of theatre and a nice ensemble show for our first years,” she said. “It’s also very rich in content because of all of the political connotations.
“There are also lots of passages that are in the book which are also actually in the play,” she said of Hall’s skill in adapting the famous book into an effective and accessible stage production. “You could probably do it anytime and it would be relevant, but it did seem very relevant now.”
As to the look of the play, Anton de Groot is handling the set and lighting design. “He’s a young designer who works continually in Calgary. We are very lucky to have him – it’s fantastic to have him on board.
“He really likes to do experimental work as well, so we are exploring all of these different items that would be found in a barn and a barn yard which can be translated into other things.” It’s all about versatility. “Those parts of the set keep being created and re-created right before our eyes.”
Donna Jopp is overseeing costume design. “Everyone kind of wears a basic grey, and then we have caps and jackets, vests and plaid shirts for the farmers.” Some of the cast revert between playing the parts of animals and people, which adds another acting challenge for the students.
“They have to keep changing their character voices and character movements in order to really establish whether they are an animal or a human, or what kind of animal they are,” she said. “They are all researching body movement for animals so they can continue to embody (the characters) as truthfully as possible.
“I think one of the best things is that we’ve had so many fantastic debates,” she added of the process of putting Animal Farm together.
“To me, it’s interesting to see where they’re coming from at their age, and they’re all pretty politically astute.”
For Adams, guiding young emerging actors along through process is a constant joy.
“I think every time you enter into a collaboration with a bunch of artists and actors, it’s about the learning.
“In theatre, we all contribute to the creative process. It’s like going to school – every time I delve into a new play with others, I learn so much. It’s active, it’s practical and it’s applied. It’s being informed by so many different areas of research and other people’s contributions as well. That’s pretty exciting.
“You reap great rewards from that.”
This production is suitable for teens and adults.
Purchase tickets online at www.bkticketcentre.ca or by calling 403-755-6626.