E.M.U. opens 'futurist' production

The creative forces behind E.M.U. Theatre are determined to shake things up on stage.


Richard Gwin/Journal-World Photo

Kris Ariel, left, and Kari Jackson work through some lines for "Futurism Restated," a play being produced by E.M.U. Theatre. The show will open at 9 p.m. today at Ecumenical Christian Ministries, 1204 Oread.

The not-for-profit theater company is planning more performances this year of lesser-known productions. Its objective is to provide more variety than what Midwest theater-goers usually view.

The theater wants to offer something for everyone with no one particular in mind.

E.M.U.'s latest production, "Futurism Revisited," is a collection of material gleaned from early 20th-century Italian futurist playwrights along with material contributed by Wichita-based writers and E.M.U. company members.

"I'm not sure this show is for anyone," director Andy Stowers said. "We do want to show people things they haven't seen before."

The genre of theater known as futurism was popular in the 1920s. It is a broader style of theatrical expression that incorporates cinema, sculpture and paintings.

The underlying futuristic theme revolves around trying to produce material that is "anti-status quo." It is material not necessarily created for mass consumption.

"The futurists were basically working against the same old stale bourgeois artistic scene," Stowers said.

In tonight's production the E.M.U. company will present a series of short scripts covering everything from the abstract and absurd to traditional comedy and drama.

What: "Futurism Restated," by E.M.U. Theatre.When: 9 p.m. today-Saturday and Aug. 18-19.Where: Ecumenical Christian Ministries, 1204 Oread.Ticket price: $3 at the door.

"It's a variety show but not about comedy sketches," he said.

The ensemble includes Trevor Ruder, Nathan Cadman, Joe Dodge, Kris Ariel, Kari Jackson and Emily Shaftel, all playing multiple roles.

The show will mark the first time a Lawrence independent company will run a performance on more than one consecutive weekend.

"We've had good word of mouth on past shows and we're hoping that carries through and this experiment pays off, because in the past, by the time people heard, we were doing our last show and it was too late for some of them to attend," Stowers said.

Although the company is presenting plays that are not the usual crowd-pleasers, EMU members still want a full house.

"I hope we have a thousand people show up," Stowers said.


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