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College of Arts & Sciences

Play Reflects Reality of Economic Situation

The Quick Change Room photo

What do the late Soviet Union and the United Stated in 2008 have in common?  Audiences watching the UW School of Drama’s most recent production, The Quick-Change Room: Scenes from a Revolution, noticed an eerie similarity between the two.  The hilarious and timely play was shown at the Penthouse Theatre through December 14.  

Written by Nagle Jackson and directed by Mark Jenkins, The Quick-Change Room is about a Russian theater group in the process of transforming itself from the Communist economy to Capitalism. The play introduces the Kuzlov Theatre of Leningrad, struggling to retain audiences as it prepares to perform Chekhov’s Three Sisters, while the Soviet Union crumbles. Facing budget cuts and lay-offs, the theatre decides to change Three Sisters into a more upbeat piece that audiences will enjoy.  The new show, O My Sister, is an American-style musical that the box office director is sure will capture audience attention. 

Though The Quick-Change Room was written in 1997, it coincidentally reflects the U.S. economic situation today.  The Kuzlov Theatre cuts the staff by fifty percent, leading to chaos and demotions.   Most of us are facing budget cuts of our own, and we have seen the recent impact of layoffs nationally and locally.  In the play, the actors had to come up with creative solutions to make ends meet.  As we are seeing in the economy today, businesses are also having to become creative to meet demands with fewer resources.  A liberal arts education, requiring more creative thinking, can be an asset when facing difficult situations like the present economy.

The UW actors performing in The Quick-Change Room agree that they have noticed parallels between the play and the state of our economy.  Though the UW is facing budget cuts, the School of Drama remains strong.  “There is a tightening of the belt going on, but the people are still wearing pants,” jokes Carl Kennedy, Master of Fine Arts actor. 

The 2008-2009 drama series continues next February with Big Love, by Charles Mee.  To find out more information, check out the Drama School website.