WHITEWATER — The College of Arts and Communication at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater announces the first show of the Theatre/Dance season is “A Place with the Pigs” by Athol Fugard.

Directed by Bruce Cohen, this production will run in Barnett Theatre from Oct. 5-8 at 7:30 p.m. and close on Oct. 9 with a performance at 2 p.m.

Tickets are on sale and can be purchased online at tickets.uww.edu or by calling (262) 472-2222. Masks are required for anyone entering a campus building, and each performance will have a social distance seating option.

The Barnett Theatre is located in the Greenhill Center of the Arts at 950 W. Main St., Whitewater. Do not come to campus if you are ill.

For the most up to date campus safety information, visit the Warhawks are Back webpage at uww.edu/warhawks-are-back.

Based on an absurd but true story and directed by Bruce Cohen, this poignant and sometimes hilarious tale is about a Russian soldier who deserted during World War II and spent 10 years hiding in his pigsty. As the play begins, Pavel Ivanovitch is preparing to rejoin the world and throw himself on the mercy of his countrymen… Will Pavel Ivanovitch ever be able to leave the pigsty, or is it his only safe haven?

Director Bruce Cohen states, “‘A Place with the Pigs’ is a parable. The play is, at its base, about the young soldier who inspired Fugard to write it, Pavel Navrotsky. Pavel is real and, although Fugard takes ample liberty with his story, the absurd circumstance of a man hiding away for decades in a pig sty is historically factual. It is, indeed, a more common thing than I’d ever imagined.

“The historic Pavel hid out of fear. Fear of the Nazi’s at the front, but also a very, valid terror of Stalin’s retribution should he be discovered by his own people. The play is a commentary on the misanthropy that self-isolation and fear can magnify; a poignant reality over the last year and a half,” he adds. “And lastly, for myself, this is a case-study of toxic codependency and the parallel dynamics between a wife and abusive husband.”

Playing the lead role of Pavel Ivanovitch is Theatre/Dance student Bryce Giammo. Playing the role of Pavel’s wife, Praskovya Ivanovitch, is Erin McKee.

Additional roles have been implemented and are played by Emma Dutcher and Maggie McNulty.

“This role is the most difficult role I have ever played. Pavel is such a complex character because his mood can change in a heartbeat,” said Giammo. “When I first read the script, I was shocked to find that it was only a two-person play and that I had lines on every page; I have never performed anything like this before. Preparing for this role has been a journey.

“One thing that’s stood out has not just been having enough time to learn the lines, but to invest in the character himself,” he added. “Who is Pavel? The first character choices I made involved Pavel as a pretty miserable person. Since then, the character has evolved so audiences will see the raw emotions behind the tough exterior.”

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