COA theater class stages ‘Telephone’



The play “Telephone,” produced as part of College of the Atlantic Professor Jodi Baker’s Play Production Workshop class, will be performed the weekend of Nov. 14 in Gates Auditorium. PHOTO COURTESY OF COA

The play “Telephone,” produced as part of College of the Atlantic Professor Jodi Baker’s Play Production Workshop class, will be performed the weekend of Nov. 14 in Gates Auditorium.
PHOTO COURTESY OF COA

BAR HARBOR — “Telephone,” a theatrical production which explores the effects of technology on communication, will be staged this weekend at College of the Atlantic (COA).

The play is the product of Professor Jodi Baker’s Play Production Workshop class in which students learn about collaboration and common practices in professional theater.

Baker, also director of the play, met last spring with students interested in selecting a title for the fall production. The group had talked about the nature of invention and discovery as themes, and the two plays she ultimately brought to them were Ariana Reines’s “Telephone” and Lucas Hnath’s “Isaac’s Eye,” the former about inventor Alexander Graham Bell, and the latter about Isaac Newton.

“Everybody was into both,” Baker said at the end of a recent rehearsal, but “we chose to do ‘Telephone’.”

Over the summer, the group shared insights, posted research materials and corresponded on a shared blog. Baker determined roles and crew assignments based on interests within the group.

The play involves Bell’s invention of the telephone as well as another real-life character, a patient of Carl Jung, “who believed she had a telephone inside her body,” Baker said.

The final act is a series of overheard conversations that invite the audience to consider the more contemporary ramifications of communication technologies. It investigates the “special kind of loneliness” that some technologies create, Baker said.

“Primarily, this play is about how humans communicate and whether it’s enhanced or obstructed by technology,” Assistant Director Kaitlin Young ’15 said.

Cast and crew members each created a personal syllabus, sharing the responsibility for defining the course.

This is the second Play Production Workshop class Baker has offered at COA. The first was an exploration of what it takes to build a portable theater production with very limited time and resources. That group developed three short absurdist one-acts and performed them in Studio 6 in collaboration with Nancy Andrews’s Puppetry class, “and it was great fun,” Baker said.

“Telephone” will be performed in College of the Atlantic’s Gates Auditorium at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Saturday and Sunday, Nov. 14, 15 and 16; and 2:30 p.m., Sunday, Nov. 16.

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