Professor’s play performed in a black box setting
by Nadine Armstrong
For the first time in 15 years, the Butler Theatre Department put on a show in a Black Box Theatre. Showings of “Hair Deux” were performed in Room 766 of the Fine Arts building from Tuesday, Feb. 21, through Saturday, Feb. 25.
In a Black Box Theatre setting, the audience is in a circle and the actors perform in the center.
Lights were added to the dance room in 2002 when Larry Patton, Dean Emeritus of Humanities and Fine Arts, had the idea that the studio could also function as a performance space. The studio is equipped with a light board and sound equipment and theatrical lighting.
“Hair Deux” is the second act from “Barbershop Quartet,” written by Butler professor Bob Peterson in 1996.
“There were several stories running in my head and I realized they were connected,” Peterson says.
He remembered a play by Neil Simon and thought it would be neat to put the four stories together.
The play was first performed in Los Angeles for a stage reading. Then in Wichita for the
Center for the Arts. And, most recently, it was performed by the Butler Theatre Department.
This was the first time the show was performed in a Black Box Theatre, and Peterson enjoyed it in a Black Box setting.
“It was an unique way of staging the play. It was an intimate way for intimate stories,” Peterson says.
The two acts are titled “Buzz Cut” and “Spit Curls.”
In “Buzz Cut,” two brothers, Tom Carlson (Chandler Moore) and Gary Carlson (Jacob Martinez), are packing up their boyhood home outside of Topeka. Tom moved to California and hadn’t been home in quite a long time. The two brothers have a strained relationship, which they work to mend.
In “Spit Curls,” groom Jon Alexander (Chandler Moore) is looking for his phone in the chapel of the Presbyterian Church in Shawnee Mission. He runs into the hairstylist of his bride to be, Patrik Dotter (Max McGlaun). Patrik is upset and creates a conflict with Jon.
Peterson says working with his students on the show was wonderful.
“They worked very hard and investigated their roles,” Peterson says. “It was a really satisfying experience.”