Wien Lounge. We all know it. Its beautiful fireplace, large windows, comfortable furniture, and wide-open space make it an ideal place for rehearsals. However, it can be difficult to mount a full production in there, as anyone who has attempted to do so knows. However, first-time director Thomas Kapusta (CC ‘12) wanted an unconventional space for this play. “I really want the focus to be on the characters and the story,” Kapusta said, and he believes an unconventional space really allows those elements to come to the forefront.
The story Kapusta has chosen is Dirty Hands by Jean-Paul Sartre. Set in fictional Illyria in World War II, the play centers on Hugo (Sam Johnson, CC ‘11), a young idealist who is tasked to assassinate a leader of Illyria’s communist party. He learns the timeless political reality that no one governs innocently. The cast features Tyler Benedict, Emily Feinstein, Madalena Provo, Henry Ring, Arron Seams, Jenny Vallancourt, and Anya Whelan-Smith.
Having spent an immense amount of time studying the play in the original French over the summer, Kapusta knows the story backwards and forwards and it still compels him. He hopes it will interest audiences as well. His use of Wien Lounge as a performance space, in addition to the characters and story, should pique audiences’ interest. The cast has not had the opportunity to rehearse in the space much; from the rehearsal I saw last night, they are adapting well and are learning the real dimensions they have to work with. Light is used well in the space to create the intimate feeling Kapusta wants the audience to have with the characters. Lighting Wien well for a performance is difficult because of the large amounts ambient lighting from the computer lab and laundry room that overlook the lounge. Kapusta has chosen to use lighting effects (backlights, etc) and a thrust stage, which is unusual for Wien, to allow the compelling characters and plot to really be thrust in the middle of the audience, Kapusta said.
CUPlayers present Dirty Hands. Directed by Thomas Kapusta. Produced by Dane Cook. Thursday, Friday and Saturday (November 19, 20, 21) in Wien Lounge. You can get your FREE tickets and see the Dirty Hands’ Facebook event.
Alison Goldberg, BC ’12