On February 22, 2013, the comedy Marriage by Nikolai Gogol will open as the fifth production in the Hilberry Theatre's 50th season. This classic Russian tale of arranged marriages follows a young bachelor through the hesitation many men experience when confronted with the idea of serious commitment. Antics ensue when the young bachelor's best friend takes arranging the marriage into his own hands as the two compete with other eccentric bachelors for the bride's affection.
Tickets for Marriage range from $12-$30 and are available by calling the Hilberry Theatre Box Office at (313) 577-2972, online at www.hilberry.com, or by visiting the box office at 4743 Cass Avenue on the corner of Hancock.
Originally published in 1842, Marriage is one of Gogol's most frequently performed comedies. The show stands as a testament to the playwright's ability to construct creative and memorable characters who work as a seamless ensemble. This new take on a classic comedy emphasizes the ridiculousness of these characters and their interactions by utilizing larger-than-life props, an unconventional scenic design, Las Vegas-Style kick lines, and cross-gendered casting that would make Shakespeare proud.
Second-year actor Brent Griffith, who plays the hesitant bachelor, says of the production, "Marriage is going to be lighter fare than anything you've seen at the Hilberry this season. Our director implemented a laugh jar at rehearsals. Whenever one of the actors, director, or stage manager laugh at what is going on onstage, they owe 25 cents to the jar. This keeps us focused on being truthful to the needs of the characters instead of playing for laughs." This is one of the many techniques director James Thomas has gained from his experience leading the Month in Moscow program at Wayne State University, a program that takes graduate and undergraduate students to Russia where they study at the Moscow Art Theatre School during the summer. Griffith added, "I think in the end it will make Marriage funnier, because honesty in comedy is funnier than being a ham. Although I'm sure there will be plenty of hamming it up during the song and dance breaks!"
Marriage will be running in rotating repertory through Saturday, April 6 with the dark comedy Detroit by Lisa D'Amour and the comedic Shakespearean reimagining Goodnight Desdemona (Good Morning Juliet) by Ann-Marie Macdonald.
Cast: Annie Keris (Agafya), Brent Griffith (Podkoliosin), Alec Barbour (Stepan), Sarah Hawkins-Moan (Fiokla), Ty Mitchell (Kochkariev), Joshua Blake Rippy (Arina), Chelsea Ortuno (Dunyashka), Chris Call (Poach'Tegg), Miles Boucher (Anuchkin), and Topher Payne (Zhevakin).
Production Team: James Thomas (Director), Michelle Brock (Choreographer), Dana Gamarra (Stage Manager), Michael Wilkki (Scenic Designer), Leah McCall (Lighting Designer), Clare Hungate-Hawk (Costume Designer), Heather DeFauw (Sound Designer), Leazah Behrens (Property Master), Maz Amitin (Technical Director), Curtis Green (Asst. Technical Director), Kimbra Essex (Paint Charge), Kevin Replinger (Publicity Manager), and Max Bolton (Publicity Design).
The Hilberry Theatre Company is the nation's only professional theatre company that is staffed by graduate students and runs on a rotating repertory schedule. Each academic year, about forty graduate students receive assistantships to work for the Hilberry Theatre and study for advanced degrees from Wayne State University. The company performs and produces an annual season of six plays, including high school matinees for nearly 6,000 students. For box office hours and information on performances, tickets, and group discounts and corporate packages, visit the theatre's website at www.hilberry.com.
Pictured: Brent Griffith (Podkoliosin), Ty Mitchell (Kochkariev). Photo Credit: Kevin Replinger.