La Ronde Set to Hit Center Stage this Week in Olin

Created: April 18, 2017
Last Updated: January 15, 2020

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WASHINGTON, PA (April 18, 2017) – Students in Washington & Jefferson College’s (W&J) Communication Arts Department will be back on stage again this week for their production of Arthur Schnitzler’s classic play La Ronde, in Olin Fine Arts Center on W&J’s campus.

The play is set in the late 1800s, and it revolves around the topics of love and sex in that time period. It consists of 10 interwoven scenes, with two characters appearing in each scene and only one of them moving to the next.

In his director’s note, Professor and Olin Technical Director Dan Shaw explains his take on the play, and what he believes is the true message.

“The piece explores the human psyche and presents the human heart in all its frailty. I’ve come to understand the characters as lonely archetypes,” he said. “They all ask the same questions and have the same desperate insecurity. They are all searching for validation and a basic human connection.”

Shaw feels that audiences will take away some messages or lessons from this play. He believes that what they get out of the story depends on what they bring to it. He hopes that audience members will be able to see themselves, or people they know, in these characters.

He is also incredibly excited to bring his own vision of this story to the classic play. Every director brings their own flare to each play they direct, but he knows he has to keep the essence the same to honor the playwright.

“With any show, it isn’t about recreating what has come before, but making it a living, breathing, contemporary, experience,” he said.

While the play itself centers around awkward sexual encounters and controversial rendezvous, Shaw stresses that it isn’t only about these things.

“It is a mistake to see this as simply a sex comedy. Sex is merely a metaphor. The characters have situational humanity,” he explains in his director’s notes.

The show will be performed over three nights: Thursday, April 20 through Saturday, April 22. The play will begin at 7:30 each night, with a matinee on April 22 at 2 p.m. The show runs for approximately 90 minutes with no intermission.

Communication Arts Theatre Department productions are free and open to the public. Olin Fine Arts Center and the Box Office are located at 285 East Wheeling Street in Washington, Pa. 15301, and can be reached at 724-223-6546.

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