“Hit the Prez and Win a Prize!” with Assassins

Photo from WOUB

Photo from WOUB

When the curtains opens for Assassins, nearly 15 weeks and countless hours’ worth of time is exhibited in this production presented by the Ohio University School of Theater. Produced by Stephen Sondheim and John Weidman and directed by Lee Kinney as his M.F.A. Thesis Production, Assassins is the second production to come from the School of Theater for the 2012-2013 season.

An anarchist firearms proprietor, a darkly charismatic John Wilkes Booth, and a cast of aspiring presidential assassins vie to “hit the prez and win a prize!” Stephen Sondheim and John Weidman’s musical treks through American history asking: whether for love, money, recognition, or a cause, why not kill the president?

“I think the Assassins story line is fascinating, especially because it’s told in a non-linear way which I find to be very liberating,” said Alycia Kunkle, a 1st year Acting MFA student who portrays Lynette “Squeaky” Fromme in Assassins. “Instead of a traditional book musical that moves in a strongly structured way with an intermission, Assassins moves forward in an organic need-based way.”

This production has been in the making since the beginning of the semester when general auditioning for the School of Theater was held. After casting the roles, the first week of rehearsal consisted of ‘table-work’ where the cast went through the script page by page with the help of Kinney, their Music Director Dr. Philip Christiensen and the dramaturges Lorraine Wochna and Sara Swartout. The cast members were required to delve into researching information about each of the assassins and after analyzing the script and gaining a basic understanding of the characters, the cast began rehearsals.

“It’s been interesting to portray a character that is actually a real person but has also been written with some poetic license,” said Kunkle.

The cast has spent a great amount of time working on the tech process which included timing and safety issues. The amount of intricate musical passages in the performance and the technical aspects all required heavy rehearsing in the weeks leading up to the performance. The cast spent 35 solid hours together during the pre-Thanksgiving tech process alone, which brought them closer than ever imaginable.

“This is my first show at OU and the time I’ve spent in the dressing room getting ready for the show and forming friendships has been very dear to my heart,” said Kunkle. “It’s so nice to be spending so much time with funny, thoughtful, smart people.”

There have already been five performances of the production, and three more still to come. The first several have been successful for both the cast and audience alike.

“It’s been very rewarding to share this experience with everybody else involved in the process and to finally share it with an audience,” said Kunkle. “The audience is always the final character.”

If you haven’t made it yet, you still have a chance to see the upcoming performances this Thursday through Saturday.

“I hope that people coming to see the show connect with the assassins and feel the urgency and realness of their needs, hopes, and dreams.”

Assassins will be showing this Wednesday through Saturday at 8pm in the Forum Theater located in the Radio & Television Building on College Street.

For more information visit http://www.finearts.ohio.edu/theater/pages/support-outheater/shows-tickets.htm

-Ashleigh Mavros, Events Publicity Assistant


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