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The Drama Program at AUK Presents Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike

The Drama Program at the American University of Kuwait (AUK) presented its annual Spring 2016 theatre production, Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike, in the Black Box Theatre, located on AUK's campus. The play was written by Christopher Durang and the production was directed by Assistant Professor of Theatre/Drama, Dr. Kathleen R. Downs, under the auspice of the Music and Drama Department.

The production included performances by veteran AUK actors: Yousef Al Nayef, Raghda Rustom, and Nezar Al Tabaa. The show also introduced newcomers Lena Al-Hijji, Ali Al-Methan, and Farnaz Darvishi to the University's theatre community. Maryam Hassanein served as Stage Manager/Asst. Director for Vanya, and Sonia, and Masha and Spike. The production crew included veteran cameraman Mohammad Al-Adl and Ken Downs on lights and sound. Poster and set design were done by Ken Downs.

The company consisted of international theatre honor society Alpha Psi Omega members and volunteers who met for eight weeks during the semester. Alpha Psi Omega was founded to recognize students at four-year institutions who make significant contributions to university theatre, not just as actors but in set design and construction, lighting, sound, properties, publicity and promotion, video recording, makeup, costuming and other areas. All of the members helped each other with their various duties as they worked together to produce the show.

Durang's play centers on the universal concern about change. The lead character, Vanya, rants about changes in the climate and in life, the insanity of popular culture, and the loss of personal connections that he feels today. The other characters, Sonia, Masha, Spike, Nina and Cass, struggle with changes in their lives as well. Like most of us, they struggle with one sort of change or another as they navigate an ever-changing world. The interwoven narrative balances slapstick humor with genuine pathos as the characters confront themselves on their difficult journeys. Durang's parody on our world ends on a note of hope, symbolized by the Beatle's classic, Here Comes the Sun.

"The AUK community enjoyed entering the magical world of theatre and actors for four performances. They look forward to the next theatrical event, planned for the Fall semester of 2016," said Dr. Downs

The Department of Music and Drama offers a wide range of opportunities for both beginning and advanced students within the context of a liberal arts education. The Music and Drama faculty of talented professionals work closely with students to prepare them for campus concerts and plays, and to academically challenge them in courses on performing arts. The department fosters artistic proficiency, cultural appreciation, a sense of community, and a lifelong commitment to the arts.

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Released by the Office of Public Affairs on the 25th May 2016

Photography by the Office of Public Affairs (C) 2016

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