Destiny brought a young British couple back together after years apart. So is the story of “Private Lives,” a play written by Noel Coward in 1930, which will be TCU Theatre‘s first show of this semester.
Connie de Veer, director of the play and assistant professor of theater, said the play will be performed by five TCU theatre majors at Buschman Theatre in Ed Landreth Hall.
She said the story portrayed the well-mannered wealthy class of 1930 England.
The theatre department tries to choose shows from different time periods so students can learn about different periods of theatre history and different cultural expectations, de Veer said.
The story is about two ex-spouses, Amanda and Elyot, both on honeymoon with a new husband and a new wife. Amanda and Elyot discover each other and find they are staying next door to each other in a hotel. They fall in love all over again and decide to leave their new partners for Paris and pick up the relationship they left behind five years ago.
LaLonnie Lehman, costume designer of the play and associate professor of theater, said the line, cut, style and accessories reflect the life of the rich and famous in 1930.
“We have a costume studio and each costume is made specially for each actor,” she said.
Lehman said the costumes are made in the theatre department and the extravagant style of the costumes defines the characters individually in the play.
De Veer said the show has a very difficult performance style.
“Students will have to speak with an English accent and deal with comic timing because the dialogue is very fast,” she said.
Students had to understand the script well because the language is difficult and the show is physically demanding, de Veer said.
“One part of the show is especially demanding for the characters of Elyot and Amanda,” she said, “because they will have a very long, very complicated fight.”
De Veer said entertainment is her first and foremost goal.
“It’s also about the struggle of relationship and how hard it is to have a long distance relationship,” she said. “I believe everybody can relate to that.”
Daniel Fredrick, an actor in the play and a junior theatre major, said the cast has been rehearsing the play since the beginning of the semester.
De Veer said it is hard for students to play roles of characters in their 30s, but the students are very experienced actors.
“Their acting is really excellent and they have worked extremely hard,” she said.
Fredrick said it has been a tremendous learning experience to be in the show and he has learned to put techniques he has learned into practice.
“We don’t have expectations because we are not a commercial theater,” Fredrick said. “But we usually come close to selling out our productions.”