The Giver brings special effects to Carol Belk stage

by Nathan Miller – Contributing Writer – nmiller@unca.edu

 

UNC Asheville’s drama department begins performances on Thursday of their latest endeavor, a theatrical adaptation of Lois Lowry’s novel, “The Giver.”

The cast is comprised of students from the drama department and other departments. The title role is played by Rob Storrs, a retired UNCA drama professor. It is directed by assistant professor of drama, Lise Kloeppel.

Kloeppel chose “The Giver” because it is a story many students will recognize from their younger days, and it can appeal to young audiences. Next Tuesday and Wednesday, more than 700 middle and high school students will descend upon the UNCA campus to witness matinee performances.

“I love doing shows for young audiences,” Kloeppel said. “But the reality is that they are very honest.”

Kloeppel believes the message of “The Giver” resounds well today, perhaps even better than it did when the original book was published in 1993.

Freshman Italo Medelius plays protagonist Jonas in UNCA’s “The Giver.” The play opens on Sept. 27.

“I feel it’s become very acceptable now in our society to take pills for almost anything,” Kloeppel said.

While the dystopian future presented in “The Giver” is still far-removed from 2012 Asheville, there is a connection to modern tendencies to want to suppress pain and promote conformity.

“It’s been intense,” Kloeppel said. “Even though it’s a young adult novel and we’re performing it for young audiences, it’s really mature material.”

One aspect of the show Kloeppel hints should be exciting are the scenes where the Giver instills Jonas, the protagonist, with memories of the past. Instead of relying on only light and sound as the script calls for, Kloeppel added a more theatrical element to visually portray the abstract nature of these interactions.

“It’s actually been quite complicated for our department,” Kloeppel said. “There’s a lot of light and sound. I did a big musical a couple years ago and we have just as many light and sound cues for this 70 minute show as we did for a two and a half hour musical.”

There will be evening performances from Thursday through Saturday, with curtain at 7:30 p.m., as well as 2 p.m. matinees on Saturday and Sunday.

Tickets for students are $5 and are available an hour before curtains.

“It’s a really powerful story, and I think people are really going to enjoy it,” Kloeppel said. “It sort of speaks to the child in all of us,” she said, before adding with a laugh, “and also it’s short.”

For more information and for online tickets, visit www.drama.unca.edu/theatre-unca.

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