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JUNEAU - Perseverance Theatre continues its tradition of performing new work with the comedy "Wittenberg." Perseverance is only the third company in the country to produce the play, written by David Davalos.
The big ideas and high comedy of 'Wittenberg' 011409 AE 2 CCW Interim Managing Editor JUNEAU - Perseverance Theatre continues its tradition of performing new work with the comedy "Wittenberg." Perseverance is only the third company in the country to produce the play, written by David Davalos.

photo courtesy of Flordelino Lagundino

Dave Hunsaker (left) as Dr. Faustus and Brandon Demery as Hamlet in “Wittenberg,”written by David Davalos and directed by Michael Stevenson. The comedy about Hamlet’s choice between faith and reason as a college student runs through Feb. 1 at Perseverance Theatre. For more information and tickets visit www.perseverancetheatre.org.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Story last updated at 1/14/2009 - 10:39 am

The big ideas and high comedy of 'Wittenberg'

JUNEAU - Perseverance Theatre continues its tradition of performing new work with the comedy "Wittenberg." Perseverance is only the third company in the country to produce the play, written by David Davalos.

Set at Wittenberg University in 1517, "Wittenberg" imagines a choice for Hamlet as a college student: To believe or not to believe? And what on earth should he major in? These are tough decisions for a young Dane torn between free-thinking Dr. Faustus and reform-minded Martin Luther.

Director Michael Stevenson first heard the play read at the Orlando, Fla. Shakespeare Festival, and brought it to Perseverance Artistic Director Art Rotch, whom he had worked with in Sacrament.

"It's a really unusual text," Stevenson said. "It's got lowball humor and all these amazing ideas going on at the same time. It's a really dense play in a lot of ways."

The four-person cast "Wittenberg" features some familiar faces for Perseverance audiences. Roblin Gray Davis, recently returned from London, plays Martin Luther; Brandon Demery is Hamlet; Asha Falcon plays all the female roles; and Dave Hunsaker plays Dr. Faustus.

The play is rich in ideas and the density of cultural references may require repeat viewing.

When asked whether there a lot of background reading required to direct the play, Stevenson laughed.

"Yes," he said. "(Davalos) sent me a reading list."

The more you know, the more you will appreciate the play, Stevenson said, but as long as you have some idea of who the characters are and the basics of the Protestant Reformation, you will be able to follow and enjoy the production.

Hamlet's... in the midst of this whole sea change," Stevenson said. "He's kind of the birth of the modern mind."

This was Stevenson's first trip to Juneau and first collaboration with Perseverance Theatre.

"It's a terrific theatre," Stevenson said. "It's really intimate but still is a good size."

"Wittenberg" runs through Feb. 1 at Perseverance Theatre. Tickets are available online at www.perseverancetheatre.org or by calling 463-TIXS. There will be pay-as-you-can performances Jan. 15 and 21 at 7:30 p.m.


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