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Juniata Theatre Production Driven by Tango, Clowning

(Posted October 21, 2002)

HUNTINGDON, Pa. -- A heartsick young man failing at love and finding purpose as a clown is at the center of the Juniata College Theatre production of 'He," a mix of dance, clowning and tango music that will be performed twice nightly at 7 and 9:30 p.m., starting Thursday, Oct. 24 and running through Saturday, Oct. 26 in Rosenberger Auditorium in Oller Hall on the Juniata campus.

Tickets for all performances are available at the information desk in the Ellis College Center lobby or at the door before each night's performances. Tickets are $5 for general admission and $3 for students. For tickets, please call (814) 641-3333.


The Juniata production is based on the 1915 play "He Who Gets Slapped," by Leonid Andreyev, which depicted a lovelorn professor who joins a ramshackle circus as a clown after being personally and professionally humiliated. The Juniata production retains some of the play's structure, but much of the play centers on clowning inspired by butoh, a form of Japanese dance.

The entire play is scored to the tango music of Argentinian composer Astor Piazzolla, whose style of music is known as Tango Nuevo. The play's dance and clowning scenes are choreographed by Don Rieder, a clown trained in the European theatrical tradition and co-director of the Montreal-based theatrical group Klauniada. Rieder also teaches at the National Theater School and the National Clown School in Canada. He also works as a youth-at-risk program trainer for Cirque du Soliel, which is headquartered in Montreal.

The play's scenic design is created by Randy Ward, director of the graduate program in scenic design at Virginia Tech University. The play is directed by Andrew Belser, associate professor of theatre at Juniata.

Juniata students in the cast are: Raina Miller, a sophomore from Millington, Md.; Taro Shibuya, a junior from Tokyo, Japan; Sean Mahoney, a junior from Huntingdon, Pa; Christoph Neugschwendtner, an international student from Marburg, Germany; Chris Kochel, a freshman from Lancaster, Pa.; Valeria Aguilar, an international student from Pueblo, Mexico; Cara Helstrom, a junior from Doylestown, Pa.; Kari Calaway, a junior from Austin, Texas; Paul Blore, a sophomore from Philadelphia; and Sylvia Diaz, an international student from del Marmol, Mexico.

Contact John Wall at wallj@juniata.edu or (814) 641-3132 for more information.