September 14, 2007
Faculty to perform playA soldier makes a bargain with the devil and receives a book that tells him what will happen in the future in "L'histoire du Soldat," a theatrical work that will be presented by Susquehanna's Department of Music tonight.
The piece, which will be conducted by Eric Hinton, assistant professor of music, is a performance of acting, singing and dancing accompanied by a seven-instrument ensemble.
After the soldier makes the bargain, he must leave his home and go with the devil for three days. When he returns, he learns that three years have passed, and everyone thinks he's a ghost. Even though the book brings him wealth, he wants what he had before. "It's all about trying to get that back," Hinton said.
"The university theme is water, and we tried to think of ways to relate that to music," Hinton said. He said the performance piece shows the fluidity of style, "whether it's a theatre piece or a concert piece." He added that the piece "goes between borders."
"L'histoire du Soldat" was written by Igor Stravinsky in 1918. Hinton said Stravinsky was going through financial trouble and created a piece that was "cheap to put on and perform."
"The cast is very small. There is a narrator, a devil, a soldier and a princess," Hinton said. The princess was written as a role for a dancer, and depending on the production of the piece, "the princess can speak at the end."
Anne Doctor, professor of theatre, will play the princess, who will have a speaking role in the music department's performance. Other cast members include Registrar Alex Smith as the devil, Associate Professor of Theatre Doug Powers as the soldier and Dean of the School of Arts, Humanities and Communica-tions and Associate Professor Valerie Martin as the narrator.
Martin said working with such "wonderful musicians and actors was very appealing."
"As my discipline is in music, and I love Igor Stravinsky's mus-ic, I was very pleased to accept the invitation," said Martin.
According to Martin, the production is a "terrific collaboration between the music faculty, theatre faculty, tech students working light and sound and the administrative faculty."
Hinton said "L'histoire du Soldat" can be performed as a full-blown production or as a smaller theatre piece, and the department chose the latter. It is scaled down, according to Hinton, with minimal use of props and physical interaction between the actors.
Martin said that images will be projected onto a screen to serve as the setting for the piece.
"It's wonderful music and a very universal story," she said.
Martin said that if the the audience takes one thing away from the performance, they should "appreciate the simple, good things in life. So family, friends, good food, just the everyday things we can take for granted sometimes."
The performance is free and will take place tonight at 8 p.m. in Stretansky Hall.
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