The current political climate of the United States influenced the first theatre show of this semester.
Theatre Wesleyan will present A Man for All Seasons by Robert Bolt Sept. 27-Oct. 7.
This historical drama chronicles the rise and fall of Sir Thomas More. More was a man of faith who found himself caught between his personal beliefs and his job.
In the play, More is the Lord Chancellor of Great Britain during the 16th century and finds himself caught in the middle of politics.
To secure a divorce from his first wife, Catherine of Aragon, Henry VIII forced Great Britain to sever ties with the Catholic Church and form the Church of Great Britain.
More, a devout Catholic, refused to honor Henry VIII’s decision, and is brought up on charges for treason.
Jeanne Everton, associate professor of theatre and director of the play, said she felt the play was perfect since America is currently in a political year.
“[What] made me think of this play is [I noticed] back during the primary seasons, when so many of the original candidates where running on platforms that were based on value systems that came from their own personal religions,” Everton said.
Everton said the play is very much about the separation of church and state. Everton describes More as a man of enormous faith. He believed in honoring both the law and his faith and didn’t see them as working in opposition to each other.
“[More] believed that God’s law and man’s law could coexist side–by– side,” Everton siad. “I think that is an interesting concept in a time where many politicians seem to want to impose their personal beliefs on government.”
David Vaughn, senior theatre major, will portray More in the play, and said the role has been one of the most difficult he has had to play.
“This production has to be one of the most challenging plays I have ever done in my theatre career,” Vaughn said. “Not only with the difference of language, but also with how complex the character of Sir Thomas More is.”
Vaughn said he spent hours, perhaps days researching More.
Vaughn said he wanted to do the character justice. He wanted to become Sir Thomas More.
Everton said she was thrilled to cast Vaughn in the role because of his experience.
“He is a very experienced actor,” Everton said. “This role is different from what we saw him do last year. It is stretching him in a new direction.”
Allen Dean, senior theatre major, plays Thomas Cromwell, More’s rival and prosecutor.
Dean said in an email, he likes his role and has been working hard to get the character just right.
“Finding the character is very much trial–and–error in rehearsal,” Dean said. “[But] I’m very happy with the role; it’s a great part.”
Everton also said when it came to casting for the play, she looked for actors who were not only best for the part, but also actors she believes need to take their next steps up as performers.
Everton said one thing she always keeps in mind when casting is she is trying to teach her students.
“Sometimes I cast people who are ready for the part even before they know it,” Everton said. “I like to challenge my actors.”
Everton said she is proud of her actors and her students who have been working behind the scenes to get the show together.
Everton said student designers had created everything from scenery to costumes, and she is very proud of them. Everton said she hopes the faculty, students and staff will come out and support the show. A Man of All Seasons runs Sept. 27-Oct. 7.
Tickets are $8 for general admission, $6 for all Wesleyan faculty and staff and $4 for all students with ID. Tickets go on sale Sept. 25. The box office will be open Tuesday through Friday 1:30 p.m. to 5 p.m. and one hour before curtain on show days.
Tristian Evans, firstname.lastname@example.org