Nov. 12, 2007
Contact: Pam Joseph (419) 995-8284 or Lesley King Fry (419) 995-8671
The Swan Lake marks Ignatieva’s 10th children’s theatre production; 12th overall for Lima
Public performance is Nov. 18; schools Nov. 13-16
Every autumn for the past twelve years, the Theatre Department at The Ohio State University at Lima has hosted auditoriums full of area elementary school children as part of the Theatre for Young Audiences. Since the program’s inception in 1995, more than 20,000 children from several area counties and parts of Indiana have traveled to Reed Hall to experience the art of theatre and the manifestation of live story unfolding before their eyes and ears.
In 2007, the Theatre for Young Audiences will perform The Swan Lake, written and directed by Associate Professor Dr. Maria Ignatieva and based on the ballet of the same title by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky. This year’s production marks the tenth production Ignatieva has directed for the program. Ignatieva has also written and directed The Snow Girl (based on Russian folklore), Momotaro, Man from the Peach (based on Japanese folklore), Rumpelstiltskin (based on German folklore), Once Upon a Time in the World (based on world folklore), The Prince and the Puppet (based on Medieval themes), and The Space Mystery (sci-fi), all of which have been part of the Theatre for Young Audiences program.
“Ohio State Lima’s educational mission includes bringing theatre to children,” Ignatieva said. “We can help our area children with their cultural enrichment. For many of them, it’s the first time they see a live performance. We hope that the memory of their first show will stay with them for a long time.”
In 2004, the Theatre Department expanded its program and produced a play for middle school students: My Jewish Dreams, also written and directed by Ignatieva. The performances went on tour to several schools in the area, where they were followed by discussions about racial issues in the contemporary world.
Prior to her arrival in the United States, Ignatieva worked at the USSR Ministry of Culture as the curator of 56 theatres for children and 135 puppet theatres in the USSR, where government subsidies existed to support the arts, especially arts for children. Ignatieva brought her breadth of experience to Ohio State with a mission – to bring the opportunities of a live theatre experience to area children.
“We’re trying to give them the experience of a live story, live theatre that’s happening right in front of them,” Ignatieva explained. “Our productions introduce them to other people’s values and cultures. It is also a wonderful experience for our students who have the best possible audiences -- children. Nothing could be compared to children’s responses – they laugh, they scream, they are utterly involved and are the best spectators in the world.”
Ignatieva said that at times there are some difficulties bringing the programs to the children; difficulties that normally stem from one common denominator – money. Ignatieva said that a combination of gas prices and budget cuts have caused a reduction in the number of area students who can be bussed to the Lima campus to see a show. However, Ignatieva said that issues such as these have not diminished the resolve of the program’s mission.
“Ohio State Lima was able to build and secure the program over the past 13 years,” Ignatieva said. Ohio State Lima Theatre faculty members Dr. Joe Brandesky, Professor, and Brad Steinmetz, Assistant Professor, have also written and directed productions for the Theatre for Young Audiences program. Dr. Brandesky’s production The Three Spinners, based on Czech folklore, was presented at the OSU-Port Clinton Performing Arts Festival last year.
Ignatieva added that the theatre renovations in the Martha W. Farmer Theatre for the Performing Arts and addition of faculty have made wonderful improvements in the capabilities the department has to put on shows for children and to make the sets more spectacular. Ignatieva said that the department has worked hard to include more improvements in the production of the shows. In fact, Brandesky initiated the purchase of a truck which enables the department to tour its show, taking Ohio State Lima productions to the children if they cannot come to campus.
“In case schools can’t afford to send their students here, we can take the productions to the schools,” Ignatieva said. The 2004 production of My Jewish Dreams at area middle schools received great responses.
Ignatieva’s anniversary show will also mark a special occasion for the department and the Lima campus. Attending this year’s production will be the chair of the OSU Theatre Department in Columbus and the Dean of the College of the Arts also in Columbus. The latter has never been on the Lima campus.
“It’s a very special visit for our campus,” Ignatieva said of the guest attendees. “They are coming to see the Ohio State Lima Theatre for Young Audiences Program in action, with the children attending the production, to see how they respond to it. These children will come back as OSU students in the near future. Some of them already have.”
The public performance of The Swan Lake is at 2 p.m., Sun., Nov. 18, 2007, in the Martha W. Farmer Theatre for the Performing Arts. Tickets are available at the door. School performances are at 9:15 and 10:45 a.m., Nov. 13-16. There is no 10:45 a.m. performance on Wednesday.
The Swan Lake
Written and directed by Dr. Maria Ignatieva, Associate Professor of Theatre
Producer: Dr. Joe Brandesky, Professor of Theatre
Scenic Design: Brad Steinmetz, Assistant Professor of Theatre
Costume Design: Loo Brandesky
Teaching Guide: Dr. Bev Bletstein
Short Synopsis of Swan Lake
The Swan Lake is a fairy tale about a girl named Odette. She is so beautiful that The Evil Spirit from the lake wants to marry her. When she refuses he casts a spell on her and turns her into a swan. She is only allowed to become human three days each month, during the full moon. The only way to break this spell is for someone to fall in love with her. One night a Prince finds her at the lake and they fall in love. They make plans to meet at his palace to announce their love. The Evil Spirit is angry and turns his two bat daughters into Odette so they can fool the Prince. The Prince is confused and doesn’t know that the beautiful girl is not his true love, Odette. Once the Prince betrays Odette she can no longer become human, and will have to spend eternity as a swan. The Prince is angry at The Evil Spirit for tricking him and professes his love to Odette. The Prince starts a fight with The Evil Spirit, and The Evil Spirit is defeated. Odette is free to spend her life as a human with her true love, the Prince.
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