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Before the curtain rises and the lights are turned on, students working behind the scenes create an entire world for Arizona Repertory Theatre actors.
In a new program, productions staged by the University of Arizona's Arizona Repertory Theatre will be paired with film versions of the same stories.
The Widescreen Wednesdays series will feature film screenings to complement the student productions, giving faculty, students and the general community an opportunity to compare and contrast different versions of the same stories.
"It really lends itself to discussion about different ways you can tell the same story," said Lisa Pierce, marketing and development director for the UA School of Theatre, Film & Television.
"You can direct a film to get a completely different feel or look and yet tell the same story – and the same with a stage production," Pierce said. "We know that the humanities (lecture) sessions on campus are always well received. We think it's our take on that, and we hope people have fun and learn and get accustomed to attending."
The free film screenings will take place one week after the opening of each of the six Arizona Repertory Theatre productions this academic year.
Each screening will be held at 7 p.m. in the John P. Schaefer Center For Creative Photography auditorium, 1030 N. Olive Road, with seating on a first come, first served basis. No tickets are necessary to attend.
Members of the school's faculty will lead discussions after the films, focusing on the artistic and creative choices made in the different presentations of plays like "The Fantastiks," "Oklahoma!" and "A Midsummer Night's Dream."
"Basically, we were talking about the titles and we all came to the conclusion that if there's a matching film adaptation, it might be nice to somehow include them and have them viewed for free and make it a fun little bonus," Pierce said.
The films in the series are:
Some of the films in the series are a play's only cinematic adaptation, while other plays have seen multiple film versions.
"Any of the titles that Arizona Repertory Theatre is doing, I know our audience has probably seen another version somewhere else. There are just so many different ways to tell a story," Pierce said.
Each Widescreen Wednesdays screening also will include a student-produced short film to showcase other work produced in the School of Theatre, Film & Television.
The school hopes that this first run of Widescreen Wednesdays will draw an appreciative audience and hopes to continue the series, perhaps with sponsorship, in a way that allows for the screening of more student work.
"We're not going to be able to show a film adaptation of every stage production we do each year, so we'll eventually grandfather in Widescreen Wednesdays to be more of a Film & Television feature for our students to share their work, and whenever we can, of course, we'll show a film adaptation of a stage production we're doing," Pierce said.
Upcoming arts, entertainment and cultural events.
A talented cast of Oro Valley Theatre Group performers ranging from 14 to 80 years of age has been rehearsing more than a month toward four presentations of "The Fantasticks" this week in the black box theater at Ironwood Ridge High School.
Don Boorse/Special to The Explorer, Kristina Moser and Christopher Ewing perform in "The Fantasticks."
Don Boorse/Special to The Explorer, Catie Wells put on eye shadow prior to dress rehearsal last week. Wells studied classical ballet for 13 years and has performed with the Atlanta Ballet Ensemble. "The Fantasticks" is her first show with the Oro Valley Theatre Group.
Don Boorse/Special to The Explorer, Oro Valley Theatre Group director and founder James Ewing, right, gives some instructions during dress rehearsal for "The Fantasticks." Cast members from left are Abbie Fioccoprile, Christopher Ewing, Kristina Moser, Sue Bishop and Michaela "Sagi" Midgley.
Don Boorse/Special to The Explorer, Abbie Fioccoprile, a sophomore at Ironwood Ridge High School, right, has a run-in with a pirate on "The Fantasticks."