'The Ladies Man' to Open Theatre Arts Season

A French farce, The Ladies Man by Georges Feydeau and adapted by Charles Morey, will open the UALR Theatre Arts 2010-2011 season with plenty of slapstick, outrageous characters and raucous humor. The play opens on Thursday, September 30 and runs through Sunday, October 10 in Haislip Theatre in the UALR University Theatre in the Center for the Performing Arts.

Performances times are September 30 through October 2 at 8:00 pm; October 3 at 2:30 pm; October 7 through 9 at 8:00 pm, and October 10 at 2:30 pm. General admission is $7 or $5 for students.

The Ladies Man derives its comical situation from an innocent discretion. “The play is a typical French farce complete with convoluted deceptions, misunderstandings and mistaken identities,” said Jay Raphael, chair of the Department of Theatre Arts and Dance. “It’s complete with the usual slamming doors and a host of scary mothers-in-law, suspicious wives, jealous husbands and well-intentioned innocent bystanders.”

Set in the early twentieth century, The Ladies Man will feature an extensive array of period costumes. costume1

“We have elected to set the play in a post-Edwardian era, so the visual world of our play derives  its influences from art nouveau and Orientalism. Primarily our research was confined to the years 1910-1912,” said Yslan Hicks, associate professor of theatre, who designed the costumes for The Ladies Man. “Art nouveau draws on curvilinear lines and organic elements, particularly floral and plant forms. For costume silhouette, I’ve looked closely at the work of Paul Poiret and the Ballet Russes.”

Costume rendering for “The Ladies Man” by Yslan Hicks, associate professor of theatre.

Being true to the fashion of the era proved to be a challenge while Hicks planned the wardrobe for the characters. “The costume silhouette on women narrows at the knees and feet. This is the period of the hobble skirt,” she said. “The length of a woman’s stride was dramatically curtailed by the circumference of the bottom of the skirt; beautiful to look at but not particularly conducive to farce which is characterized by rapid movement and physical comedy. I’ve inserted kick pleats and other devices that allow the actress to play the action.”

Hicks, who has been on the theatre arts faculty since 2001, has designed costumes for the Portland Center Stage in Oregon, the Old Globe in San Diego, Lincoln Center Institute in New York City, National Jewish Theatre in Chicago and the Williamstown Theatre Festival in Massachusetts.

hicks Yslan Hicks, associate professor of theatre, with some of her renderings.

The theatre season continues with the Fringe Festival, an all-student acted, directed, and produced performance featuring the theatre program’s third annual playwriting competition. A series of ten-minute plays chosen in a campus-wide competition will be mentored and judged by a visiting nationally known playwright. The Fringe Festival runs November 3-5 in the Haislip Theatre.

The season will conclude with The Caucasian Chalk Circle by Bertolt Brecht, a parable about a peasant girl who steals a baby but becomes a better parent than its natural mother. Playing March 3 through March 13 in the UALR University Theatre in the Center for the Performing Arts, this internationally acclaimed play deals with oppression and the problems of maintaining human  dignity in troubled times.

For tickets for The Ladies Man and other performances, call the theatre box office at (501) 569-3456.

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