Stage & Screen to perform “Rashomon” at the end of February

Stage & Screen students at Western Carolina University will perform the classic drama “Rashomon” in Hoey Auditorium on Wednesday, Feb. 20, through Saturday, Feb. 23.

“Rashomon” is a play based on Ryunosuke Akutagawa’s short stories, adapted by Fay and Michael Kanin for the stage, of four witnesses to a rape and murder.

One of the concepts of the play is what is now known as the “Rashomon Effect.” The Rashomon Effect says that four people can watch the exact same event and come out with four very different versions of what happened, each believing that their version of the story is the most accurate version. It shows the difference in every person’s perception of the same event.

The play was originally set in feudal Japan. Under the director of WCU associate professor D. V. Caitlyn, the classic drama will see a new, post-apocalyptic setting. In this new setting, there is no technology. Everything that is used is recycled and reused until it cannot be used anymore. Characters will also still use swords to fight, since there is no technology in order to create bullets. This allows the choreography to feature a mixture of traditional katana fighting as well as some more modern sword fighting styles. Caitlyn will also pay homage to the Noh Theater of Japan and keep to the basics of the original play, while adding his personal vision to the original script.

The audition process for this play included an intense physical aspect. Some of these actors have been training in order to pass the athletic test since the beginning of last summer. Some of the featured actors are Jordan Snead, Cullen Ries and Grant Hengeveld. Other cast members include Alex Drost, Emily Pears, Phil Culton, Amanda Wilson and Hannah Chatham.  

Caitlyn added a few characters of his own to the script called the “no ones,” and they play many varied roles, including helping a medium call the spirit of the murder victim so that he may bear witness to his own murder.

When asked what audience this play was appropriate for, Caitlyn said that it was appropriate for high school audiences and up. There is no foul language, and the rape and murder that the play is based on is stylized, not overly graphic.

“Rashomon” will open at 7:30 p.m. every night between Feb. 20 and Feb. 23 in Hoey Auditorium. Adult tickets are $15, while tickets for seniors and WCU faculty and staff are $10. Students who buy their tickets in advance will pay $7, but if they wait until the day of the show they are attending, the price goes up to $10.

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