WHITEWATER — The University of Wisconsin-Whitewater announces that “Vanity Fair” by Kate Hamill, based on the novel by Thomas Makepeace Thackeray, will be offered digitally by the Department of Theatre/Dance.
“Vanity Fair” proves that there is nothing fair about vanity. This (im)morality play watches as one woman climbs the social ladder using her feminine wiles and wit, indulging her wicked impulses; while another, a model of goodness and virtue, loses her fortune and all that she loves while clinging to her moral high ground. Bold, wickedly funny and shockingly relevant, Vanity Fair demands that we face our own hypocrisy. After all, … who are we to judge?
“Vanity Fair” is an exciting challenge for the student actors, aside from the main characters of Becky and Amelia, the other five actors perform multiple roles of differing genders. This presents a unique learning experience for students, allowing them to play with character development and what gender roles mean both in society today and in the period of the production.
The cast includes Faith O’Reilly (Becky Sharp); Lindsay Bland (Amelia Sedley); and Heather Wallman, Jon Lotti, Harry Heinrich, Koy Peerenboom and Kory Friend, who each play multiple roles. Understudies include Natalie Meikle (Becky Sharp); Megan Wroblewski (Amelia Sedley); and Jamie Love, Bryce Giammo, Steven Kornkven and Ivy Steege who understudy multiple roles.
Sara J. Griffin shared her perspective as director, saying, “One of the reasons that I love this adaptation, this play, is that students get to inhabit so many characters. Often when you play more than one role in a show, it’s usually two or three at most. Maybe four in a Shakespeare. But SEVEN or more?! Very rare.
“It’s a great challenge for them, creating that many fully realized, different humans,” she added. “Their training in voice and movement will be a huge help in this endeavor. They get to learn and assimilate multiple dialects, and have to contend with multiple brains delivering and processing information, as well as truthfully communicating with others.
“They also have to be able to switch between these different people very quickly scene to scene, or within the same scene!” Griffin continued. “The ability to fully inhabit a character, immediately drop and become another is an invaluable skill that will make them highly marketable in the professional world.”
Not only are the multiple characters a challenge, but “Vanity Fair” is an intricate production to perform digitally. Faith O’Reilly, who is a senior with a major in public relations with a minor in theatre, is taking on the role of Becky Sharp in “Vanity Fair.”
When asked about the role and how she is approaching acting for the camera, she had this to say: “Becky is indeed very fun. The challenges that I’m finding are trying to create a good balance between her calculating self and her genuine self, because she’s always looking for a way to social climb. There are some things that she encounters that make her vulnerable, like her relationship with her friend Amelia and when she falls in love with Rawdon.
“For me, another big challenge is being comfortable in front of the camera — I have to be a lot more open but I also have to keep that good distinction between stage acting which is a lot bigger and camera acting which is lot smaller, so I have to find that good middle ground where it reads just right,” O’Reilly added. “Working remotely has been a very interesting process; I enjoy that we are still able to do the show even though it’s remote. It’s just a different way of going about things and I feel like I’m learning a lot by being in this show about camera work.”
Tickets are on sale and can be purchased online at https://www.showtix4u.com/event-details/39368. Single tickets are $13 and Family Viewing Tickets for two or more individuals are $26.
All ticketholders will receive an email with a link to view the production on Monday, Oct. 19, and will be available for viewing from Tuesday, Oct. 20 to Sunday, Oct. 25.