By Hannah Lutz, Staff Writer
“The Visit,” which begins Friday and runs through March 13 at W.D. Powell Theatre, is a modern answer to ancient questions of honor, forgiveness, sacrifice, loyalty and community. It will be directed by visiting director Kevin Anderton.
Playwright Friedrich Durrenmatt calls the play a tragic comedy.
Originally titled “The Visit of the Old Lady,” the play premiered in Zurich, Switzerland, in 1956. Within two years, it was produced in England and America.
Anderton has directed plays at Union before, such as last year’s “The Winter’s Tale.”
“The play is a different style than a lot of us are used to, but Mr. Anderton pushes us to do our best, Allison Hearn, sophomore theater major, said.
Hearn plays one of the citizens that represent the population of Güllen.
The play — set in the 1950s after World War II in Europe — features an elderly woman who returns home to inflict merciless vengeance on an old flame named Claire Zachanassian; Alfred Ill, the old woman’s former love; and the townspeople of Güllen.
Through these characters, the audience will see a breathless debate about the nature of justice, redemption and salvation.
“The style of the play is a German expressionism; it will have hilarious parts in it, and people shouldn’t take it too seriously and should look for the humor in it,” Hearn said.
Zachanassian represents the richest woman in the world and is enabled by her money. She visits the city, and the townspeople think she will give them money to pay their debts.
She offers $1 billion for Ill’s life, but the townspeople refuse her offer, so she simply says, “I’ll just wait.”
When the townspeople start to buy luxury items on credit, Ill panics, thinking they are going to kill him.
He goes to his family, the mayor, police and church to plead for Zachanassian arrested for threatening him, but they all reject his proposal.
“There is a lot of hiding and fakeness of characters in this play,” said senior theater major Chad Hoy. “The audience should take away the importance of honesty in relationship.”
“The Visit” begins at 7:30 March 8 and runs through Tuesday, March 13. Friday will have two performances at 7:30 p.m. and 11:30 p.m. Sunday is a matinee at 2:30 p.m., and Monday and Tuesday’s performances will be at 7:30 p.m.
For more information call the Theatre box office at 661-5105.