by Abram Yarbro, dramaturgIt’s a week until opening night and last night’s rehearsal was the first on set in the Margetts Arena Theatre. The designers, set shop, and builders have worked tirelessly to whip the performance space into shape and we couldn’t be more excited (to see an interview with a set designer, click here). See How They Run will be performed in the Harris Fine Arts Center on BYU campus. This year celebrates the 50th anniversary of the HFAC; built in 1965 by architect William Periera and named after BYU’s 5th President (read the HFAC’s Dedication News Release from 1965 here). It houses the College of Fine Arts and Communication’s School of Music, Department of Theatre and Media Arts, and Department of Visual Arts. It has 281 rooms, 5 performance spaces, 2 galleries, and over 280,000 square feet.
Our particular production will be presented on the first floor of the Fine Arts Center in the Philip N. Margetts Arena Theatre. The Margetts Theatre is named in honor of Philip N. Margetts, an early LDS pioneer and prominent actor. He was born in 1829 in Kineton, England and moved to The Salt Lake Valley in 1850. He performed for more than fifty years in Utah and earned critical praise from the community, including Brigham Young. He died in 1914, and is remembered as a respected and influential contributor to Utah theatre.
Unlike traditional proscenium theatres, the Margetts is an adaptive performance space, commonly referred to as a Black Box or Arena Theatre. It was specifically designed to give the director more flexibility in terms of where they placed the actors AND the audience. While proscenium theatres have a fixed seating arrangement, a “black box” allows the director to decide where seats are placed, and where the “stage” is located – providing her complete control over the audience-actor relationship. Our set designer adapted the space to fit the demands of our script. Although it is usually produced on a proscenium stage, the use of a black box theatre for See How They Run gives the play tight and fun feel. With only a few feet separating the seating from the acting space, it feels like the audience has been dropped into the living room of an English vicarage.
Tickets are going fast! Purchase yours here: arts.byu.edu