Valdosta Daily Times

What We Think

September 2, 2013

Keeping theatre from being lonely

-- — In his director’s notes for playwright Paul Weitz’s “Lonely, I’m Not,” H. Duke Guthrie reminds audiences that Valdosta State University Theatre & Dance should be as much about presenting new shows as it is about presenting Shakespeare.

Premiering a little more than a year ago, in spring 2012, off-Broadway, “Lonely, I’m Not” is a very contemporary play, notes Guthrie, a VSU Theatre instructor.

“Exposure to unfamiliar literature is part of what a university theatre program should be providing,” Guthrie notes. Will “Lonely, I’m Not” be everyone’s cup of tea? No, but then again, what play is?

However, it may resonate with seasoned theatre-goers as well as newcomers.

With its “cinematic structure, frank discussions between characters, and language most often heard on premium cable channels,” the show may introduce a love for live theatre to audiences raised in the digital age.

“... University programming sometimes has a reputation for being a bit dusty or stale,” Guthrie notes, “so addressing a fairly classic boy-meets-girl story in a way that is easily recognizable to people who text and tweet regularly is a good thing.”

Guthrie is right. By finding and producing contemporary shows, VSU Theatre is striving to keep live theatre relevant in an age of automatic and unprecedented entertainment possibilities.

As for audiences seeking more traditional and classical theatre fare, VSU Theatre & Dance presents Shakespeare’s “As You Like it” later in the season, but it may be “Lonely, I’m Not” that introduces a new generation of playgoers to the man who wrote “To be or not to be ...”

Later in the week, The Times will have a more in-depth story and photos regarding this play that opens VSU Theatre & Dance’s 2013-14 season.

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