The theatre department at The University of Southern Mississippi will continue its fall season Oct. 31 with the opening of “A Bright Room Called Day.”
Written by Tony Kushner, the play is set in Berlin in the early 1930s. The government put in place after the World War I is shaky, and rumors are circulating about the new Nazism movement.
This play doesn’t focus on the grand political movements of the time, but instead on how they affected the average person.
“This play in particular was a bit different because usually when you think of 1930s Germany, everyone’s mind goes to Nazis and the beginning of the Holocaust,” said Lisa Fischel, who plays Agnes and is third year performance MFA candidate.
“But this story is about the people who lived in the shadows of these events. You’re hearing about the German Communist Party and you’re specifically looking at the lives of this close circle of friends and how everything happening outside just kept closing in,” she added.
Kristopher Kuss, a third year directing MFA candidate and director of play, said one of the messages is how much someone’s life can be affected by political change and how the characters show this.
Kuss said there is an importance to being aware of what the government is doing. He said at first, the characters don’t notice what’s going on in their world; taking nothing seriously. By the time they realize how bad things are, it’s too late.
“History doesn’t repeat itself, but really reflects and comments on itself,” Kuss said.
“Agnes is representative of the German people at this time,” Fischel added. “She is a clear representation of what fear really does to people. When talking about fear, you’ll say you’d be brave, but you don’t actually know until you’re in the moment of danger.”
The actors and director of the play said they had to work hard to understand the historical context of this play. Kuss described how for the first two days of rehearsal the script wasn’t even touched.
He said all the actors were given a history lesson to make sure they understood what was happening in Germany during this time.
Even though this play might involve a lot of German history, it shouldn’t scare audiences away.
“The way Tony Kushner writes, he integrates all of this history really effectively and really creatively so you’re learning history without feeling like you’re in a history class,” said Chase Byrd, third year performance MFA candidate.
Byrd plays Husz, the other lead actor opposite Agnes. Kuss, Fischel and Byrd are excited to open this show.
“We’re ready for an audience,” Byrd said.
The play opens Oct. 31 in Hartwig Theatre. Performances will also be held Nov. 1, 2, 5 and 6 at 7:30 p.m. and one performance on Nov. 3 at 2 p.m. Tickets are on sale for $8. To purchase tickets, call the Southern Miss Ticket Office at 601.266.5418 or visit www.southernmisstickets.com.