"This is the first time in the 17 years I've been here that we've attempted a Restoration comedy,"
said Todd Glenn, director of "The Way of the World", an adaptation of the play by William Congreve, currently being presented by the FC Department of Theatre Arts.
"In the past we've done an ancient Greek drama, several Shakespeares, but nothing in this vein,"
he said. "I think the students should have a chance to experience this type of theatre. And for the audience, our production will make an historical period of English literature more tangible."
Indeed, authenticity is the key note to the production elements in Way. "We are trying to give an historically accurate picture of the Restoration fashions," stated Gary Krinke who, along with Dr. Gwen Sharoff, is in charge of costuming the production.
"The Restoration gentlemen were wigged, and they wore more lace than the ladies did. Fans and muffs were men's accessories," said Dr. Sharoff.
"And the ladies wore ruffles," said Krinke. "The emphasis was on 'Flounce'. It was a period of great beauty and elegance."
"Though we've had to beg and borrow," continued Dr. Sharoff, "our costumes will reflect that elegance. We're using cut velvet, plain velvet, lame, taffeta and other fabrics of the period. It will be a luxurious looking show."
"Yes," agreed Krinke. "We expect the audience to leave the theatre humming the costumes, the way one might leave humming the songs of a musical."
The raked stage from the recent production of "One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest" has been neatly transferred to the Studio Theatre for the "Way." Again, authenticity was the main reason for using the faked (or sloping) stage. "a raked stage was traditional to Late Renaissance and Restoration theatre," explained Bob Jensen, set designer and technical director. "Artistically, it gave the floor a design element. With a thrust stage in the Studio Theatre, you can't have big sets, so the floor becomes visually important."
Jensen and his student staff have been working to produce authentic replicas of tables and chairs, and a park fountain from the period.
With the audience so close, we have to pay more attention to detail," continued Jensen, "If; you can create a set with just a few elements, then to me it's more successful. The simplicity allows the floor itself to be the canvas on which the action of the play is painted."
In summary, director Glenn said, "Way of the World" is a comedy of wit. I don't believe wit is dead today, although we have lost many of the nuances of meaning to words in our language. That's a shame, and I hope our play revives some of the witty spirit in people."
"The Way of the World" will be. presented in the Studio Theatre starting Friday, Jan. 8, through Saturday, Jan. 16 at 8 p.m., and on Sunday, Jan. 17 at 2:30 p.m. There will be no performance Monday, Jan. 11. General admission is $3, students $2, and FC stutdents may receive one free ticket upon presentation of a Student Services card at the box office. Group rates are available. For further information call 871-8101.