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Jonsson, Lewiston direct weekend shows

October 4, 2013

Crimson Masque productions “The Fourposter” and “The Good Doctor” will headline this fall’s theater season. These productions, however, separate themselves from previous years. Monmouth College students, along with the help of two theater faculty members, handle all of the directing and producing responsibilities, as well as their normal acting roles.

Jan de Hartog’s “The Fourposter,” directed by senior Merissa Lewiston and Neil Simon’s “The Good Doctor,” directed by senior Courtney Jonsson, share the Wells Theater stage on Oct. 5-6.

“The Fourposter” opened on Oct. 3 and “The Good Doctor” will premiere on Oct. 4, both starting at 7:30 p.m. “The Fourposter” will return on Oct. 5 at 2 p.m., followed by “The Good Doctor” at 7:30 p.m. The shows will switch those curtain times on Oct. 6.

Jonsson describes her MC theater experience as “absolutely amazing” and rewarding in that she is granted opportunities that she would not have gotten otherwise.

“I will leave this place with directing, scenic, props and costume design, acting and dramaturgy under my belt,” said Jonsson via email. “Not many will be able to say the same.”

Under Jonsson’s direction, “The Good Doctor” will come to life on stage. Making its debut this weekend is the story of an unnamed writer suffering from a bout of writer’s block. As his frustrations subside, the writer narrates several of his short stories for the audience.

Although Jonsson is passionate about her theater experience at MC and this production in particular, she admits that this job comes with its share of challenges. “Being a director is hard work. I’m the type of person that has trouble with delegating, so it was difficult for me to ask for things to be done.”

“I would say my favorite part [of directing] is the relationship you build with your cast. I only knew two of my cast members really well before this, and now I have bonded with all of them in so many ways.”

Also premiering this weekend, “The Fourposter” is the story of a man and woman from the time they are newlyweds and moving into their first home, to their elder years, as they prepare to move out.

Uniquely, all action takes place around the couple’s four-poster bed.

Lewiston, who describes herself as a “highly involved” senior in the theater department, said that with every production, class and organization associated with the department, she has learned skills that she will use after graduation.

“I enjoy helping my actors create their characters,” said Lewiston via email, “as well as working with the designers to create a complete world in which the characters can exist.”

In addition to the unique aspect of these student-lead productions, the performances are also uncommon in that they are presented in alley-style seating.

Instead of audience members sitting in the house section of Wells Theater, seating is on the stage, on either side of the performance. Alley-style seating gives audience members a more intimate viewing of the show and will serve as a preview of the college’s downtown theater space, opening this spring.

Tickets are $6 for adults, $5 for senior citizens and students and $4 for Monmouth College ID holders. Reservations for either show may be made by email to: theater@monmouthcollege.edu.

Elizabeth Meyer
Features Editor

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