VERMILLION, S.D. – The University of South Dakota’s Department of Theatre introduces its audiences to the mother of all dysfunctional royal families with "The Lion in Winter." The show runs Nov. 19-21 and Dec. 2-5 in the newly remodeled Wayne S. Knutson Theatre, featuring comfortable new seating, improved accessibility, new entrances, and technological upgrades.
This witty comic drama, or dramatic comedy, is a perennial favorite of theatregoers everywhere, having had many acclaimed stage productions and award-winning film and TV adaptations. It’s 1183 and Henry II of England must decide which of his three sons will inherit his kingdom after his death. He lets his wife Eleanor out of prison for Christmas, and everyone makes a grab for power, love or survival. They attack one another with words and weapons like only medieval royals can.
Associate Professor Raimondo Genna is excited to direct his first live show since the pandemic. "'The Lion in Winter' is an amazing play filled with political and familial intrigue, love, hate, and a complex investigation of legacy and identity," he said. "Though it is set in 1183, its anachronistic speech and thinking invites audiences into the world of the play to explore this complicated family."
Brittney Lewis, senior B.F.A. design and technology student, designs the costumes, hair and makeup for her thesis project. "'The Lion in Winter' has been a great opportunity because it’s my first historical show, giving me the chance to research a time period unfamiliar to me," said Lewis. "We are building most of the pieces for this show from scratch, fitting them to the silhouettes of the 12th century. It’s been a privilege to see my designs custom-created for the stage."
Taylor Gravert, senior B.F.A. musical theatre student, takes on the role of Henry’s queen, Eleanor of Aquitaine. “Eleanor is a very poised and mature character, whereas the other roles I’ve played have been more of the younger, innocent ingenue type," Gravert said. "It has been a lot of fun to play a role outside of my type and explore what that’s like.”
"The Lion in Winter" performs Nov. 19 and 20 and Dec. 2 through 4 at 7:30 p.m. with matinee performances on Nov. 21 and Dec. 5 at 2 p.m. in the Wayne S. Knutson Theatre on the USD campus. Tickets ($15 Adults, $12 Senior Citizen [62+], $10 K-12 & non-USD students with ID, and free for USD students with ID) can be purchased in the afternoons (12-5 p.m.) starting Nov. 12 at the USD Theatre Box Office or by calling 605-658-3484; tickets can also be purchased now online at www.usd.edu/theatre.
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