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Theatre production takes comical look at arts and crafts

Friday, November 9, 2007

Participation or perspiration? You or ewe? Reality or television? These are just a few questions explored in the MSU Department of Theatre’s production, “Arts or Crafts.”

Written by Rob Roznowski, head of acting and director, “Arts or Crafts” was created to celebrate MSU’s Year of Arts and Culture. When writing the play, Roznowski said he made a list of anything craft-related and then tried to flip the idea. The result is a comical look at the thin line between hobby and masterpiece.

“This is a chance for the College of Arts and Letters to show it is a vital and active part of the university. It is important to show they have the initiative,” Roznowski said.

“Arts or Crafts” is comprised of 20 student actors and a set of student set designers. The play is separated into numerous short acts where the actors play multiple parts. “That is a fun aspect for the students,” Roznowski said.

At auditions, students wrote down their own monologue about their personal definitions of arts and crafts. Roznowski said the play tries to explain how important the arts are in daily life.

“We have a responsibility to do this on stage for public consumption, to explain the human condition,” Roznowski said. “The stage becomes a cultural laboratory. We want to prove arts are compelling and necessary especially in a time when arts funding is so tenuous.”

The premiere of “Arts or Crafts” takes place on Nov. 13 and runs through Nov. 18 in the Pasant Theatre at the Wharton Center for Performing Arts. To kick off the show, the Michigan Arts Council is hosting an arts symposium following a preview production on Nov. 11. The preview performance and discussion are free. The discussion topics will include ideas on how to gather and obtain arts funding using resources such as grant opportunities, marketing strategies and university connections.

As the ultimate question of “Arts or Crafts?” weaves throughout the narratives, Roznowski said the final answer is a personal choice. “The answer is in the eye of the beholder. You decide what is art and what is craft. I want people to experience their own critiques and judgments.”

“Arts or Crafts” will be performed on Tuesday, Nov. 13 through Thursday, Nov. 15 at 7:30 p.m.; Friday, Nov. 16 through Saturday, Nov. 17 at 8 p.m. and Sunday, Nov. 18 at 2 p.m.

The price is $15 for general public and $12 for students and seniors.

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