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Pedro, The Great Pretender’ Opens New Proscenium Theatre

Published on November 28, 2016

Pedro, The Great Pretender’ Opens New Proscenium Theatre

November 2016 will go down in history for Eastern’s Theatre Program, as its first Main Stage production in the new Proscenium Theatre premiered. “Cervantes’ Pedro, The Great Pretender” christened the new theatre from Nov. 8-13.

The classic play by Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, who is regarded as Spain’s greatest writer, follows the tricks of Pedro, a master pretender whose escapades involve him with a host of characters and careers as he struggles to find his true vocation in life.

“Our first production in our new Proscenium Theatre hopes to honor Cervantes’ timeless subversive satire by connecting the centuries of his day with ours,” said Ellen Faith Brodie, director and theatre professor at Eastern, in advance of the production. “The costumes evoke the Spanish Golden Age paintings of Velasquez and his contemporaries. The scenic design was inspired by the 20th-century Spanish artist Jean Miro.”

Situated in the Fine Arts Instructional Center, the 250-seat Proscenium Theatre features tiered and balcony seating; an orchestra pit for live music; a backstage with wing space and fly space, enabling equipment and scenery to be hoisted; and high-tech lighting and sound equipment.

“Performing in this first play means the world to me because we are starting a new legacy as well as setting the bar for every other show that will be in this theatre,” said theatre major Sinque Tavares ’17, who played Pedro. “Eastern’s rendition of ‘Pedro’ was beautifully done, from the set down to the costumes, lights, acting and everything in between.”

Another senior in the program reflected on the honor of opening the theatre. “Having performed in the Harry Hope Theatre for the majority of my college career, opening this new theatre was like a dream come true,” said actress Hannah Madler, reflecting on the recently-retired venue in Shafer Hall that the theatre program called home for decades. “The university is incredibly lucky for this new space and technology.”

The cast and creative team for “Pedro, The Great Pretender” were composed of performing arts students and staff who played important roles both on and off stage — ranging from actors to stage managers, choreographers to costume designers, set designers to lighting technicians.

“Performing in this play taught me firsthand the importance of being a committed supporting character,” said English and theatre double major Matthew Bessette ’19, who played Silerio. “Even if an actor has no lines in a scene, they must dedicate themselves to consistency in terms of living in the moment and reacting to everything going on around them.”

Brodie concluded, “Cervantes lives on in Pedro and we live on through the hopes and dreams of both the author and his creations. We are all Pedro: pretenders in many costumes wearing many masks and dreaming of a better life and a better world.”

Remaining main stage productions for the 2016-17 academic year include “Two Gentlemen of Verona,” a musical based on a play by William Shakespeare, showing from Feb. 23 to March 5; and “Cantilever,” showing from April 25-30.

Other performance venues in the Fine Arts Instructional Center include a 400-seat Concert Hall tailored to music performances and a flexible 125-seat Studio/Black Box theatre that can be arranged in multiple seating configurations.

Written by Michael Rouleau

Categories: Theatre