Take a seat in "The Dining Room"

Publication Date
Dining room theater department

The Department of Theater and Dance presents “The Dining Room,” a comedy of manners written by A.R. Gurney, Nov. 4-7 at 7:30 p.m., with a 2 p.m. matinee Sunday, Nov. 8.

Directed by Patricia Culbert, senior artist-in-residence, this fast-paced ensemble piece has been in production at the Yulman Theater since September, with nine student actors taking on more than 50 different roles.

The cast includes Will Balta ‘16, Celia Condrick ’18, Kewan Harrison ‘16, Lucy Miller ’16, T.J. Moor ’17, Colin Nelson ‘16, Shauntai Quinlon ’17, Brandon Rosales ’17 and Megan Wells ’18. Matthew Mintz ’18 is stage manager, and Angelica Rivera ’18 is assistant stage manager.

“The Dining Room” was first performed in 1982. Gurney portrays a dying sector of American culture, white, upper-middle-class America, with its emphasis on tradition and objects of wealth. Eighteen overlapping scenes span multiple decades.

“I see this play as a wry, nostalgic, entertaining snapshot of American culture of the last century,” said Culbert. “It’s about the lost dining room; things we say or don’t say, and things we do or don’t do. It’s also about family dynamics, and it has been very interesting to notice, research and create the kinds of family relationships that occurred in earlier decades.”

Working with the students actors “has been a treat,” said Culbert. “It is a collaborative effort, with me creating the stage pictures and movements on the set while they discover and shape character in ways to differentiate one from another, and also create the relationships of characters.”

The play features set design by Professor of Theater and Resident Scenic Designer Charles Steckler, costumes by Lecturer and Costumer Brittney Belz, and lighting by Lecturer Robert Bovard. There are 80 different costumes and more than 200 individual props, including a different set of china, tea cups, place settings, silverware, glassware, trays, napkins, placemats or tablecloths for each scene.

Music is by frequent guest artist Andy Iorio, who has given permission to use music from his yet-to-be released new album, “II.”

Tickets are $10 general admission and $7 with Union ID and for alumni and senior citizens. They may be reserved by calling (518) 388-6545. Or stop by the Yulman Theater Box office Monday-Friday, 12:30-1:30 p.m.