International Playhouse brings multicultural comedy to campus

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In this image from last year's International Playhouse series, two actors play wily servants who plot revenge against their absent and stingy master during a production of "Sweet Poison," a traditional Japanese work.

International comedy theater will be in the spotlight when the UCSC Language Program and Cowell College present the 11th season of the International Playhouse.

The four public performances will run from Thursday, May 12, through Sunday, May 15. Curtain time is 8PM at the Stevenson Event Center, Stevenson College. There is no admission charge. Parking is available close by for $2.

This program, entitled Many Faces of Comedy,  will include short comic pieces in Chinese, French, Japanese, Russian, and Spanish, with English supertitles projected above the stage.

Works will range from Flowers in the Fog, an original Chinese piece featuring music, dance, and martial arts, to scenes in French from Molière’s classic comedy, School for Wives, to two comic vignettes in Japanese, Keetai (Cell Phone) and Shinyuu (Friends) by Bananaman, as well as the Alphabet Song by Kreva.

Students of Spanish will present El eterno femenino (The Eternal Feminine) a play by Rosario Castellanos, while the Russian segment, a comic work by Mikhail Bulgakov, is entitled Ivan Vasilevich, and concerns an eccentric 1930’s scientist who creates a time machine.

The International Playhouse has gained a wide following over the years. It is the only fully staged program that offers multilingual theater on the same bill, while featuring a wide variety of languages and genres.

This year's directors include Darren Sarkin, a UCSC senior, working in Chinese with Lecturer Ting Ting Wu; Lecturer Emerita Miriam Ellis, in French; Lecturer Sakae Fujita, in Japanese; Lecturer Marta Navarro, in Spanish; and Lecturer Bill Nickell, in Russian.

For more information, contact Lisa Leslie at the Language Program at (831) 459-2054, or email ellisan@ucsc.edu.