Kalamazoo Thespians Perform Peer with a Twist

By Sarah Wallace

Peer Gynt: Performers in the Theater Department''s rendition of Peer Gynt rehearse. Peer will close out the troop''s 50th season.

Henrik Ibsen’s slightly profane, possibly offensive yet thrilling romantic dramatic play will be performed by Kalamazoo College students as a part of the close to the Festival Playhouse’s 50th season .

The romantic dramatic play is Peer Gynt, and Kalamazoo College will be putting on Colin Teevan’s adaptation of it for the modern stage, first written by Henrik Ibsen.  The show is playing this Thursday through Sunday, May 15-18, in the Nelda K. Balch Playhouse.

Peer Gynt is the both the name of the play and its main character, and is played by Kyle Lampar ’17. Peer is characterized as someone who will do and say anything to get what he wants.  Lampar described his character as “vulgar, carefree, and unapologetic…but behind that persona of tough teenage angst, there’s a fragile individual who only wishes to fulfill his dreams.”

This modern stage edition of Peer Gynt comes with updated language and situations. Guest Director Todd Espeland believes will make this more accessible for Kalamazoo College students.

“The roughness of the language, modernizing Peer’s adventures by making him a human trafficker, and its references to the way we idolize TV celebrities, brings Ibsen’s message into the 21st century while still keeping the heart of the fairy tale.”

These differences include the mentioning of current cultural norms. Dramaturg David Landskroener ’14 elaborated on the modernization.

“The ever-increasing modern societal message is that everything is about ‘me,’ which this adaptation deconstructs in an even more timely and resonant fashion through references to reality TV,” said Landskroener.

The show opens Thursday, May 15 at 7:30 p.m. (which is “pay-what-you-can” night), and runs Friday and Saturday, May 16-17, at 8:00 p.m., and Sunday, May 18, at 2:00 p.m. Tickets are $5 for students, $10 for seniors, and $15 for other adults and may be purchased at the door. To make reservations, please call 269.337.7333 or visit the website www.kzoo.edu/theatre for more information.

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