After being forced to postpone its run of “Candide” last fall, it seems the Yale University Dramatic Association has finally gotten its act together. Literally.
Plagued by a host of production problems in the fall, the Dramat, the largest undergraduate theater company, is on schedule to run its production of “Candide” from Feb. 20 to Feb. 23 at the University Theater.
“The root of the problems in the fall was not finding a technical director,” Dramat president Ted Rounsaville ’03 said. “This is a difficult position to fill on a Dramat mainstage because a student technical director must organize a build for a professional set designer with a large budget.”
Resolving the problems that led to the show’s postponement came about through increasing the number of technical directors from one to four.
“The system with four technical directors is working out wonderfully and we are trying to establish this as a precedent for future mainstage productions,” Rounsaville said.
The Dramat also initiated a series of technical theater workshops to instruct students on the basic skills needed to work in areas such as set building, lighting, and sound.
Considered by Dramat members to be one of the biggest productions of the year, “Candide” and similar mainstage productions afford students the opportunity to work with a professional director, set designer, costume designer and lighting designer.
“Creating a show of this magnitude is difficult,” producer Lucy Kaufman ’04 said. “Most productions that go up around Yale have a budget that’s a sixth of the size of the show and by the end of the production, over 120 people will have worked on the show.”
Despite scheduling problems which forced several cast members to quit, the show’s production officer, Joe McGuire ’03, said he was enthusiastic about the new actors who have joined the production.
“It’s unfortunate that several members of the cast had to leave the show as they encountered scheduling conflicts for this semester,” McGuire said. “We were all very sorry they couldn’t stay with us, but we held new auditions, and we’re very excited about the actors who have joined the company.”
Lauren Worsham ’05, one of the show’s actresses, also said she was confident about the show’s success despite the initial problems.
“A lot of people quit and so we had to reshuffle and recast and there’s been a lot of hullabaloo,” Worsham said. “But those of us who did remain have been working really hard, and it’s going to be a fantastic show.”
Rounsaville said he was hopeful that the problems the Dramat faced this fall would provide valuable lessons for future Dramat productions.
“Obviously this has been a learning experience for the Dramat,” he said. “Having faced the problems that led to the postponement of Candide, we can now move on to future mainstage productions with an increased awareness of the problems which might arise.”