Modern-day classic on stage at University Theatre

By Costa Maragos Posted: March 15, 2016 6:00 a.m.

A scene from Attempts on Her Life; (l-r) Brett Hubich, Carson Walliser and Marianne Woods.
A scene from Attempts on Her Life; (l-r) Brett Hubich, Carson Walliser and Marianne Woods. Photo courtesy of the Theatre Department.

An experimental play, that’s been a hit with audiences around the world, is coming to the stage at the University of Regina.

The Theatre Department presents Attempts on Her Life, by English playwright Martin Crimp. It opens March 16 and runs to March 19 at the University Theatre.

The play’s scenes concern a character who isn’t in the play. She might not even exist. She is a woman who is called Annie, Anya or perhaps Anuskha - but that depends on the scene.

Attempts side picture
Student cast includes Mattea Columpsi (centre), Cole Manz (left) and Brandon Schuba (right)

"This play has kind of revolutinized theatre.It's taken away the narrative. When you see it on the page, there are no parts. There are no scenes. The director has to bring that part to the table,” says Kelly Handerek, professor in the Theatre Department and director of the play.

"It's a play that isn't interested in a central central character. So imagine a production of Hamlet and you remove Hamlet. Only this woman is called Annie in one scene. Anushka in another. Anya in another. And it’s how we relate to people once they’ve been removed from our lives - how we editorialize their lives, gossip about their lives, or infer that we think we knew them when we actually collectively know them, but we don’t know them truly.”

This play takes an unusual approach to be sure, but it has connected with audiences everywhere. Attempts on Her Life has been translated into 20 languages.  

“This play deals with the idea that culture today in our world is uncertain and has no perfect ending. There’s no perfect bow at the end of this play,” says Handerek.

Attempts on Her Life features U of R Theatre students as well as professional actor Marianne Woods, who has donated her time to be a part of this production and is appearing courtesy of Canadian Actors Equity.

“The challenges here are to deal with the material and the content and place yourself in that position,” says Woods. “In one scene for example, I play an aging nun who’s in her seventies and in another scene I’m an art gallery dealer who is quite extravagant and out there. In another scene I’m part of a Greek chorus where all of us are involved. It has its different challenges.”  

This play contains mature themes.

Play:          Attempts on Her Life
Dates:        March 16 – 19
Time:         7:30 p.m.
Location:    University Theatre – Riddell Centre
Tickets:      Adults $15, Seniors/Children $10, University Students free with student i.d. card.
Box Office: (306) 585-5562

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