Theatre UAB’s enormously popular festival features new plays that are off the grid in originality. This year’s theme is “Tales of Gods and Monsters.” Smart, edgy, shrewd, shocking and often hilarious, this is a night of theater the audience will discuss long after the curtain closes.
Performances will be at 7:30 p.m. nightly March 10-14, with a 2 p.m. show Saturday, March 15, in the Odess Theatre at UAB’s Alys Stephens Performing Arts Center, 1200 10th Ave. South. All tickets are $5; attendees should arrive early as this festival always sells out. Plays contain adult language and themes. Call 205-975-2787 for tickets. Visit Theatre UAB at www.uab.edu/theatre.
The plays are written, directed and acted by students, staff and faculty. The festival is produced by Lee Shackleford. Each year a theme emerges, Shackleford says, whether one is intended or not. Theatre UAB Program Manager Mel Christian suggested “Gods and Monsters,” a pivotal phrase in the 1935 film “Bride of Frankenstein.”
Seven of these plays were chosen from among the many scripts written in Shackleford’s playwriting class last year. The eighth came from outside the class: Theatre UAB’s Prop Master J. Marc Quattlebaum.
Leonard Botstein, Ph.D., has been awarded the 2014 Caroline P. and Charles W. Ireland Distinguished Visiting Scholar Prize, presented by UAB.
While at UAB to accept the prize, Botstein will conduct a special performance of the Alabama Symphony Orchestra, free and open to the public, at 8 p.m. Thursday, March 13, at UAB's Alys Stephens Performing Arts Center, 1200 10th Ave. South. On the program is Symphony in A major by Camille Saint-Saëns and Symphony in F major, Op. 9 by Hermann Goetz. For more information, call 205-975-0756. Botstein will also lecture and meet with students and faculty in the UAB College of Arts and Sciences. For more information about the Botstein concert, visit www.uab.edu/cas.
Botstein has a passion for music and education. He is president of Bard College in Annandale, N.Y., and musical director and principal conductor of the American Symphony Orchestra. At Bard College, Botstein is also the Leon Levy Professor in the Arts and Humanities.
Botstein is known for producing performances that engage the mind and spirit. As Botstein is a musical historian and musicologist, his contributions have helped reset thinking about composition, theory and performance. Botstein says his interest in refreshing the experience of listening to live music is what catalyzed his plans for the Birmingham concert.
"That is the inspiration for the program for this occasion," Botstein said. "I would like to explore the era in the history of the symphony between the death of Schumann and the premiere of the first symphony of Brahms. For most audiences this is a historical black hole. And yet there is so much wonderful music to be heard from that period. The concert program that we will perform offers two examples of accessible, captivating symphonies that you will rarely be able to hear in live performance."