VERMILLION, S.D. – This year, the University of South Dakota Department of Theatre takes audiences from Ancient Rome to contemporary fantasy gaming worlds and everywhere in between. Due to COVID-19, all of productions will be made available on streaming platforms. Productions staged in the Wayne S. Knutson Theatre will also offer in-person seating with limited capacity and social distancing protocols in place.
The department kicks the season off with a fresh take on William Shakespeare’s “Julius Caesar” through a live-streamed production. Innovative staging and designs in the intimate Arena Theatre safely and creatively support social distancing between the actors. This political thriller explores the dynamics of shifting power structures, the psychology and consequences of violence, and the complexity of humanity. With female actors taking many of the traditionally male roles, this is truly a production that speaks to our time. Live streaming Sept. 25-27.
They then go forward from the ancient to medieval worlds with “Angels and Demons.” These short mystery plays, originally performed by various guilds in towns across Western Europe, featured stories from the Bible that were used to explore questions of divinity and humanity. Written by anonymous authors, “Angels and Demons” is translated from Middle English by USD student Casey Paradies. Live streaming Oct. 23-25.
USD then unveils its newly remodeled Wayne S. Knutson Theatre with “A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder.” This acclaimed musical is a delightful romp full of laughs, romance and of course, killing. When the young and struggling Monty discovers that he is ninth in line to an earldom, he starts plotting how he can bump off the preceding eight relatives. Book & lyrics by Robert L. Freedman and music & lyrics by Steven Lutvak. Performed in the Wayne S. Knutson Theatre and Live streaming Nov. 19-22.
USD will clear away the snow to deliver “A Man of No Importance.” Closeted bus conductor Alfie Byrne tries to mount a production of Oscar Wilde’s “Salome” with a colorful array of community theatre folks, but his plans are derailed as he encounters the bigotry of 1960s Dublin. With music by Stephen Flaherty, lyrics by Lynn Ahrens and a book by Terrence McNally, “A Man of No Importance” blends moving drama, quirky comedy and a lovely and witty score. Performed in the Wayne S. Knutson Theatre and Live streaming Feb. 25-28, 2021.
In March, USD will return with its popular annual Ron L. Moyer One-Act Play Festival, featuring short plays directed by graduate and advanced undergraduate directing students. Live streaming March 19-21, 2021.
USD is pleased to offer one of the most popular contemporary comedies across the country: “She Kills Monsters.” In this journey of self-discovery, Agnes Evans jumps headlong into the world of Dungeons and Dragons, battling and befriending the strange and fantastic monsters. Written by acclaimed playwright Qui Nguyen, “She Kills Monsters” offers an empowering homage to the geek and warrior within us all. Performed in the Wayne S. Knutson Theatre and Live streaming April 22-25, 2021.
The season concludes with the Spring Dance Showcase. This biennial concert highlights the work of more than a dozen USD student choreographers. These students will practice their creative scholarship while collaborating with nearly fifty other student dancers, designers, technicians and musicians. Performed in the Wayne S. Knutson Theatre and Live streaming May 2, 2021.
Tickets for the in-person Knutson Theatre productions will be available later this fall. Visit www.usd.edu/theatre for streaming updates and to purchase tickets online. Tickets are also available at the USD Theatre Box Office the week of each Knutson production, or by calling 605-658-3484 or emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org.