Theatre Arts & Dance Department

Announcing the 2014-2015 Season!

The Trestle at Pope Lick Creek by Naomi Wallace
Directed by Ken Sonkin, Studio 76
Oct. 16-25

The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde
Directed by Judy Navas, Person Theatre
Oct. 30-Nov. 9

Super Mega Molten HOT Lava New Play Festival
Curated by Scott Horstein, Studio 76, Nov. 13-15

Fall Dance 2014 / SSU Student Choreography
Director TBA, Evert B. Person Theatre, Nov. 20-23

Stage Direction by Jane Hammett
Music Direction by Lynne Morrow
Coproduced by The Depts. of Music and Theatre Arts & Dance
Evert B. Person Theatre, Feb. 5-15, 2015

Orchard Development
Directed by Paul Draper
Choreography by Kristen Daley
Evert B. Person Theatre, April 17-26, 2015



Theatre News

Setting The Importance of Earnest
in India During the Raj

by Scott Horstein

The Importance of Being Earnest/ 10/30 - 11/9

The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde was written in 1895 in England and was originally set in London and the surrounding countryside. Wilde had no thought of India when he wrote the play, nor did he make any reference to colonialism. However, Wilde’s script does exquisitely capture the odd and glittering surface of upper-class life in late nineteenth-century England, also known as Victorian England for the long reign of Queen Victoria (1837-1901).  Wilde threw into relief the manners, mores, and style of the rich in Victorian England.  So, too, by setting the play in colonial India during the late nineteenth century, our production aims to throw into relief Victorian English society against the backdrop of a place where it may never really have belonged.

The land of India was colonized in the 1700s by several European powers, including Great Britain. The relationship between the British and the indigenous South Asian peoples were generally managed by commercial trading companies. However, following violent conflict between the English trading colonies and the Indians, the British crown decided it had to take a stronger hand in order to secure its operations there. As a result, the British government formally took control of the country in 1858, beginning the period known as the Raj, which lasted nearly a century.

Many English families moved to India during the Raj.  Many husbands were part of the armed forces stationed there, or were civil servants in the English bureaucracy charged with governing the country.  When the men moved to India, their wives and children often moved with them. 

As the families arrived in India, they tried to reproduce English society and its trappings. For many families, the transition was hard and was never managed successfully. As scholar Margaret MacMillan notes in her fascinating study Women of the Raj, women frequently struggled to find purpose in their strange surroundings. Children were often sent away for education back to England at any early age, and might not see their parents or other siblings for many years, if ever again. Though Wilde was not thinking of India when he wrote Earnest, the colonial themes of familial break-up and estrangement find an odd and unusual echo in this Victorian comedy.

 The Importance of Being Earnest runs Oct. 30 through Nov 9 in Person Theatre. TICKETS

Dance News

Spring Dance 2014 – “A wild ride!”

“I am honored to have directed the Sonoma State University Student Dance Concert for a second time. Once again I find myself incredibly inspired and challenged by the fifteen student choreographers whose work you will experience this evening.

All of the pieces you will see are deeply personal to the choreographers, yet universally
meaningful. The concert reflects the diverse culture of SSU arts as well as the rigor and creative talent that exists within the student body and faculty.

Spring Dance, though lead by faculty and staff, is a student-run event from choreography to light and costume design, to stage management and crew: the students really make it happen.

The choreographers have explored a wide range of themes and concepts to create their
work often crossing disciplines and always collaborating. Utilizing a diverse range of dance styles including modern, lyrical, contemporary, hip-hop, jazz, tap, tango, ballet and more, choreographers have also taken on social, political and environmental concerns inside of their work. They are asking questions and developing their creative voices through powerfully sophisticated choreography.

I am excited to also share a work on this evening’s program. Suspect, which opens the show was set on Sonoma State dancers and given the opportunity for adjudication at The American College Dance Association (ACDA) at Arizona State University in March 2014. Suspect was one of twelve from 48 pieces selected for the closing night Gala Concert. This was a great honor for me as a choreographer and teacher, and honestly, I owe the accomplishment to the performers and the dynamic and evolving SSU dance program directed by Kristen Daley.

These fifteen student works have resonated beyond the theater for all involved and I hope it will resonate with you. I am honored to witness the evolution of these young dance artists and excited to have them share their evocative, humorous and fresh creative voices with you this evening. You are in for a wild ride!”

--Christine Cali