An opera, a lecture on the Middle East and a puppet theatre performance highlight Fanfare's first two weeks

Wednesday, September 23, 2015 Forum rehearsal
by: Tonya Lowentritt

OPERA OPENS SOUTHEASTERN’S FANFARE – The 30th season of Southeastern Louisiana University’s Fanfare will open with Southeastern Opera /Music Theatre’s production of “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum” on Sept. 24 and 25 at the Columbia Theatre for the Performing Arts. Rehearsing for the production are, from left, Nicholas Smith (Ponchatoula) as Hysterium and Benjamin Vollentine (Covington) as Pseudolus. Leading the rehearsal is Director Alton Geno.

     HAMMOND – A classic opera, a lecture on the Middle East and a puppet theatre performance are just some of the events providing the opening flourish for the 30th season of Fanfare, Southeastern Louisiana University’s annual October arts festival.
    “With the approach of Fanfare’s 30th anniversary, we are excited to continue the celebration of arts and culture that were at the heart of Fanfare’s beginning. Through this festival, our community has had access to many life-enriching events,” said Roy Blackwood, interim director of the Columbia Theatre for the Performing Arts and Fanfare.
     “Kicking off with ‘A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum,’ the tradition of excellence will continue this year with everything from favorite events generated on the campus to nationally known speakers and even Broadway.”
     On Sept. 24 and 25 at 7:30 p.m. in the Columbia Theatre for the Performing Arts, Southeastern Opera/Music Theatre Workshop will present “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum.”
     Winner of five Tony Awards, the show is considered one of the funniest musicals in the history of theatre. Based on the 2000-year-old comedies of the Roman playwright Plautus with music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim and book by Burt Shevelove and Larry Gelbart, the production promises fast-paced hysteria, desperate love and mistaken identity.
     Oct. 6-9 the Southeastern Theatre Department will present “No Exit,” a 1944 play by French playwright Jean-Paul Sartre about three damned souls conversing in hell. Scheduled at 7:30 p.m. nightly, the production will take place in Vonnie Borden Theatre in D Vickers Hall.
     In a new translation of Sartre’s existential classic, Southeastern Theatre explores the most valuable aspect of the human condition: free will. With freedom comes great responsibility, especially when “Hell is other people” and there is no escape from our choices.
     Tickets are $10 for adults; $5 for faculty, staff, and non-Southeastern students; and free for Southeastern students with university ID.
     On Oct. 7, the Department of History and Political Science’s “Then and Now Lecture Series” officially kicks off its 15th presentation of free lectures.
     Southeastern History Professor Margaret Gonzalez-Perez will present the first lecture in the series, “The Return of the Reel Middle East,” at 1 p.m. in Pottle Auditorium. The History and Political Science specialist on international politics, the Middle East, and terrorism returns with a brand new update on a subject she first examined a decade ago – the people, institutions, and culture of the Middle East as they are presented through stereotypes in modern media, such as popular films. She will discuss how these stereotypes developed, how they correlate to global events, and why the public accepts them.
     Next up is Bits ‘N Pieces Puppet Theatre in a production of “Princess Thimbelina.” The classic Hans Christian Anderson fairytale tells the story of a little girl no bigger than a thumb.
     Scheduled for Oct. 9 at 7 p.m. in the Columbia Theatre, the production is the first of two Pajamas and Play performances scheduled this year for the theatre’s youngest fans.
     “Princess Thimbelina demonstrates you can find happiness if you have belief in what your heart tells you to be true,” said Blackwood. “Thimbelina and her menagerie of animal friends are featured in this original musical adaptation. The production also features giant puppets, fanciful costumed characters and actress Holli Rubin as Princess Thimbelina.”     
     Fanfare tickets are on sale at the Columbia/Fanfare box office, 220 E. Thomas Street, 985-543-4371. The box office is open Monday through Friday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and one hour prior to Columbia performances. For a complete schedule, contact the Columbia/Fanfare office at 985-543-4366 or visit


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