Photos by Caden Runnalls
Professor of Theatre and Speech Bob Peterson will make his second directorial debut tonight with Cleopatra at 7:30 p.m.
Peterson chose to direct Cleopatra because he is captivated by her as a historical figure.
“I was always fascinated by her,” Peterson said. “She is a historical figure that is very fascinating. .. before the time of Christ, she was a real feminist and a very aggressive ruler.”
The theatre production will focus on her rule and relationships between the two Roman rulers, Julius Caesar and Mark Antony.
The production, which is rated R because of its language and adult content, will run Friday, Nov. 18 and Nov. 19 with two shows on Saturday.
One of the real challenges of Cleopatra is the black box seating, which is quite different from past theatre productions.
“There’s challenges with every show that you direct, so this has been unique because we are doing it almost black box with a limited seating,” Peterson said. “That directorially has been very interesting, but the challenges have been very rewarding.”
Unlike other productions, the audience will sit on stage, which means there is limited seating.
“Because the material lends itself to that,” Peterson explained when asked why the production offered limited seating. “It is a show, that even though it is an epic story, this version of it is very intimate in terms of its telling. It’s not a big cinemascope telling of it; it’s a very personal story.”
Student actors, according to Peterson, have studied the characters’ history and so far, the dress rehearsals have been going well.
“The actors have been challenged with this material and studying the characters historically, studying and being true to who they are historically, but yet of course making them human, making them modern,” Peterson said.
From Cleopatra, Peterson hopes that audiences will learn to choose their leaders responsibly.
“I hope that they get out of it that they need to choose their leaders wisely,” Peterson said. I hope they get out of it that war is never the answer. I hope they get out of it that when you love, give all.”
For Peterson, the theme of Cleopatra is the most important thing to communicate to theatrical audiences.
Caden Runnalls, technical theatre director, oversees set design. The set of Cleopatra is slimmed down, taking the technical theatre a week to construct. According to Peterson, there is a simple, complex platform that tells the story of Cleopatra.
For more information on tickets, contact the Box Office: 316.322.3262.