Animal Farm speaks to campus theme

Students rehearse Students rehearse "Animal Farm"

This year students and faculty across campus are reading the One Book- One Campus selection, the Communist Manifesto, as activities surrounding the 2010-11 campus theme “The Meaning of Work.”

Associate Dean and Director Randy Colborn believes Animal Farm is the perfect choice to extend discussion of the campus theme. Colborn wanted a musical that was not limited; this musical has more than 40 students involved in production and performance.

Animal Farm was originally a book written by George Orwell. The book illustrates the events in Russia after the October 1917 revolution. Orwell wrote the manuscript for Animal Farm after he experienced the Spanish Civil War. Orwell wanted to illustrate that there is no hope for a Utopia to exist. Ignorance, greed, and corrupted leadership all play a role in why this is not possible. The play starts off with a sense of innocence in the intentions of all the farm animals, but as the play continues we see a transformation of some of the key characters.

Student costume designer Zack Hickle and faculty member Sas Hanson agree they have tried to incorporate the “dark and creepy” vibe Animal Farm has to it. They found inspiration through Tim Burton’s movie Nine, for costuming. One of the themes for Hanson and Hickle is the “found object” theme. They are trying to use recyclable items in the costumes.

Kaylee Ross, a freshman to IU South Bend, comments “all the costumes that represent animals and man are distorted to show how distorted the play really is”. Ross is looking forward to overcoming the challenges of using PVC pipe as legs to walk, sing, and talk. She plays Muriel, the wise old goat.

Jeremy Weyer, plays the pig, Napolean who eventually becomes one of the leaders. His greatest challenge as an actor is preserving the innocence Napolean first has and letting the character develop into the dark character he becomes. Weyer emphasizes that “acting in general is not getting ahead of yourself.” Weyer says “the poetics of Animal Farm show themselves” each night during rehearsal as the cast reacts to their individual characters and to each other.

The IUSB Theatre Company presents Animal Farm at 8pm October 28-30 and 2pm October 31 in the campus auditorium. Tickets are available from the Ernestine M. Raclin School of the Arts Box Office for $5-$9. For more information visits or call 574.520.4203.

Animal Farm will also be featured in the Dean’s Seminar October 15, 2010.