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New play "crackles" according to director

November 8, 2012

MEDIA CONTACT: Hilary Dickinson at or 608-363-2849

Director John Kaufmann’s new play is a ghost story, a psychological thriller, and even kind of funny.

Opening tonight (Nov. 8), The Lady from the Sea tells the story of Ellida (Lena Wright’16), a woman drawn to the sea. She marries a respectable doctor and struggles to live a “normal” life, but the sea will not release its hold on her.

When a sailor with whom she had an affair returns to claim her as his own, the audience members do not know if the stranger is real or in Ellida’s imagination. According to Kaufmann, an assistant professor of theatre arts, Ellida must figure out how to bring the worlds of the feminine sea and the masculine land together in order to survive.

Kaufmann chose The Lady from the Sea, his third production at Beloit, because he is a fan of playwright Henrik Ibsen and the exciting dramatic structure of this particular play. 

Kaufmann added a unique touch to his adaptation by incorporating live music−something that was not in the script. The Saltwater Trio, which includes musical director Eva Herndon’13, Chloe Bell’15, and Molly Wells’13, will perform between acts, and Lucy Holden’16 will play violin prior to the show. In addition, there are no pre-recorded sounds; all sound effects will be created live. 

“Sometimes these old plays can feel a little dry, but this adaptation is really swift and crackles,” Kaufmann said. “There are no intermissions, and the play is an hour-and-a-half. We try to keep the action happening.”

The Lady from the Sea premieres tonight  (Nov. 8) at 8 p.m. in the Neese Theatre. Admission is $8.50 ($5 for seniors and faculty, $4 for students), and the box office is open Monday through Friday from 12:30 p.m. to 5 p.m.  You can order tickets over the phone by calling (608) 363-2755.

SOURCE: John Kaufmann is an assistant professor of theatre arts at Beloit College where he has so far directed Pretty Theft, The Dining Room and The Lady from the Sea. His past directed work includes Antony and Cleopatra at Consolidated Works and Ernie’s Incredible Illucinations at Seattle Children’s Theatre. He also wrote and presented original planetarium programs including Starball, an astronomical musical comedy that has gone on to planetariums in New York, Chicago and Valencia, Spain. Focused on original and experimental work, Kaufmann is also interested in the intersection of theatre, game-play and social/personal change. He received his Theatre Directing MFA from the University of Iowa.