On Feb. 17, the University’s stage will light up with a new combination of talents. A cast of young actors will join with the dance department, and several distinguished faculty members to bring a simple script to life.”Vital Signs,” by Jane Martin, is an inventive play focusing solely on the lives of every day women. The script itself consists of 36 monologues illustrating a variety of sentiments. Within each piece lives a complex character, and within each character lives a unique story.
These accounts intertwine with themes of family, love, passion, friendship, loneliness, determination, pain, and frustration. Joined together, this blend of personality and emotion characterizes an accurate depiction of reality.
The true challenge of theater lies within bringing the written word to life. To do this, director Jay Berkowitz has envisioned a unity of art on stage. By starting with a cast of nine actors, then involving the WCU contemporary dance company for several musical interludes, and drawing in appearances by West Chester faculty members, the show has taken on an entirely new shape. A series of theatrical monologues has been transformed into a diverse merging of campus affiliates.
The opening night will feature Robin Garrett, Director of the Women’s Center, and Faculty in Nursing and Women’s Studies. Along with her performance in the comical piece, “Cocaine Hotline,” this night is also marked by a fund-raising reception.
All reception proceeds, and a portion of all ticket sales for each performance of “Vital Signs” will benefit the Student Affairs Endowment Fund. This fund is “a special source of revenue dedicated to developing, expanding and emphasizing student leadership programs of WCU.”
Other faculty involved in the run of “Vital Signs” include: Dr. Stacey Schlau, director of Women’s Studies, on Feb. 18; Dr. Anita Foeman, professor of Communication, on Feb. 19; Dr. Darla Coffey, chairperson of Undergraduate Social Work, on Feb. 20; Dr. Kathryn Chilcote, associate professor of Vocal and Choral Music, on Feb. 21; Dr. Madeleine Wing Adler, university president on Feb. 21; and Dr. Elaine Jenks, Associate Professor of Communications, on Feb. 22.
When speaking with several of these guest performers, the general consensus seems to be an overflowing amount of excitement. Garrett stated that “I first read ‘Vital Signs when I saw it at the bookstore, because Jay has been using it in classes for years. So when he decided bring it to life, I said I would pay for a part. One doesn’t get many opportunities in life to be as intense as on stage.”
Several other guests expressed their previous connections with theater, and their delight in this opportunity to perform at the University. During a rehearsal, (Chilcote remarked that “it is a really interesting concept interpolating faculty and students on the stage.) I’m having a wonderful time, especially because you can watch your student counter-part’s performance.”
Likewise, Coffey responded that “making this combination has been a really great idea.”
Altogether, the University’s production of “Vital Signs” possesses a winning combination not to be missed. Not only will one see the unique display of talents from the theater department, dance department, and faculty, but ticket proceeds will directly benefit student affairs.
The production runs from Tuesday, Feb. 17 through Sunday, Feb. 22. Show times are at 8 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday, and at 2 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. Ticket prices are $5 with a WCU Student ID, $7 for faculty/staff/non-WCU students/ senior citizens, and $10 for general admission.
Tickets are on sale now, and can be bought at the Box Office in the lower level of the E.O. Bull Center, or by calling 610-436-2533.