Lines are memories, costumes are stitched and sets are ready for the 39th season of Southern Arena Theatre at The University of Southern Mississippi. This year, the wonderfully talented summer theatre company will present Taking Steps by Alan Ayckbourn and One Man, Two Guvnors by Richard Bean, adapted from Carlo Goldoni’s masterpiece “Servant of Two Masters.”
Taking Steps opens June 19 in Hartwig Theatre. All show times are 7:30 p.m. for performances on June 20, 21, and 28; and July 3, 5, 9 and 11. A matinee performance is scheduled for July 6 at 2 p.m. One Man, Two Guvnors opens June 26 in Tatum Theatre. All show times are 7:30 p.m. for performances on June 27 and July 2, 4, 10, and 12. Matinee performances will be held June 29 and July 13 at 2 p.m.
Tickets for all Southern Arena Theatre performances are $14 for adults, $12 for seniors, faculty, staff, and military and $10 for students. Group rates are also available.
Dr. John Warrick, chair of the Department of Theatre explained that SAT’s goals aren’t the same as the goals of the fall and spring productions. Though SAT is performed in the same venues as the regular semesters, the goals of the productions are very different.
“During the fall and spring terms, the focus of faculty is on the actual training of theatre students. We have a dual commitment; we are committed to our audiences, but we are also committed to making sure our actors, particularly, get a range of periods and styles,” said Warrick.
The summer theatre is purely dedicated to entertaining the greater Hattiesburg area and the Southern Mississippi region by featuring shows that appeal to everyone.
SAT has been a highlight of the theatre calendar, which features a single dance company performing two productions in rotation. Not only does SAT exist to entertain the greater Hattiesburg community, but it also brings the community into the university and elevates the excellent arts profile for which Southern Miss is known.
Certainly no stranger to SAT, Professor Lou Rackoff was a producer for eight SAT seasons and directed four productions, including last year’s The 39 Steps. This year he is director of Taking Steps.
Taking Steps has been described by as ‘an absolute delight’ and a ‘mini masterpiece of farce’ upon its revival in 2010. Everything at the Pines mansion is falling apart, and three incompetent characters endeavor to sort their lives over the course of a single evening. Typical farce devices such as multiple entrances and near missed discoveries are compounded in a clever twist as three floors (living room, bedroom, and attic) are laid out on a single level on stage, resulting in a great deal of romping and dashing about.
Richard Bean’s One Man, Two Guvnors is the internationally acclaimed smash hit that the Daily Telegraph newspaper describes as “comic perfection!” With its perfect balance of silliness, slapstick and song, the play has enjoyed runs on Broadway and the West End and toured the world twice since its debut in 2011. A fresh take on Carlo Goldoni’s Servant of Two Masters, One Man, Two Guvnors blends the classic fare of mistaken identities and near misses with updated audience interactions and light double entendre.
Professor Monica Hayes, director of One Man, Two Guvnors believes her cast and crew are part of a brilliant play with all of the elements that make for truly great summer theatre.
“When artists get to work on the material they are most passionate about, they will work day and night for it,” said Hayes.
SAT affords the actors in both productions a serious opportunity to act full-time and prepare the way they would professionally. They audition against the best in the program, graduate and undergraduate.
Support for SAT comes from Southern Miss, the College of Arts and Letters, the Department of Theatre, Partners for the Arts, local corporations and from individual SAT donors.
“For many years, SAT donors have provided key support for the summer repertory. They make contributions beyond the cost of tickets because they believe in the importance of SAT as a vital cultural service to the community. In fact, we consider our donors to be company members of SAT, as important to the success of each season as are the playwrights, actors, directors, designers, technicians and staff,” said Warrick.
For tickets, call 601.266.5418, 800.844.8425 or order online by visiting www.southernmisstickets.com.