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Middlebury College Theatre Program Presents Victory: Choices in Reaction

April 7, 2011

Adventurous Play Explodes History with Rock n’ Roll Attitude

Middlebury, VT—The Middlebury College Department of Theatre and Dance will present Victory: Choices in Reaction by Howard Barker on April 28th through 30th at the Mahaney Center for the Arts, Seeler Studio Theatre. The play recounts the politics and history of 16th century Britain through a distinctly contemporary lens.

howard_barkerBritish poet and playwright Howard Barker is known for hard-hitting, historical dramas that often explore violence, sexuality, and power. Victory is no exception.


Set in Great Britain in 1660, the play unfolds as the country’s brief experiment with republicanism ends, and the monarchy is restored. A puritan widow sets out on a grim journey to recover the body of her husband, a victim of the violent coup. Along the way, she goes from prim and proper to rude and resourceful. She protects her children against the dangers of the new world order, surviving in a society where greed is king.

Though the action takes place in the 1600s, the play makes allusions to our own time. Contemporary audiences may find something familiar in the themes of unchecked principles of banking and lending, and in the excesses of the privileged few. Director and Theatre Professor Richard Romagnoli plays up these parallels. “This play assumes the audience is hungry for an adventure,” he explains. The sound and costumes will jump-start the audience’s thrill ride by blowing apart any traditional sense of a period look and feel. Instead of petticoats and breeches, Victory’s characters will don everything from Mad Max-type armor, to girly Betsey Johnson dresses, and to rock star outfits. Romagnoli notes, “It’s been partially stripped of its historical context: Handel’s rhythmic Water Music has been replaced with the Sex Pistols’ pulsating, percussive punk.” The resulting mix is extreme, visceral, and raw.

Audiences are advised that Victory contains strong adult language and content, and is recommended for mature audiences only.

The production at Middlebury features actors Lucy Van Atta ’12, Lili Stein ’11, Meghan Leathers ’13, Molly O’Keefe ’12, Matt Ball ’14, Christopher Grabowski ’12, Elias Alexander ’12, Nathaniel Rothrock ’12, Charles Giardina ’12, Dave Malinsky ’11, Michael Kessler ’11, Noah Berman ’13, and Thomas Scott ’14. Apurva Damani ’13 is the stage manager; Hallie Woods ’12 is the assistant stage manager, and Kelsey Ferguson ’12 is the assistant director. The set is designed by Hallie Zieselman with Ryan Bates ’11 assisting; lighting by Mark Evancho; and costumes by Jule Emerson, assisted by Carlie Crawford ’11.

A Behind-the-Scenes Lunch and Discussion for Victory will take place on Tuesday, April 26th, at 12:30 P.M. Performances will take place at 8:00 P.M. on April 28th, 29th, and 30th. All events take place at the Mahaney Center for the Arts, Seeler Studio Theatre. Tickets for Victory are $10 for the general public; $8 for Middlebury College faculty, staff, and alumni; and $6 for Middlebury College students. For tickets or information, contact the Middlebury College Box Office at or 802-443-6433.

Mahaney Arts Center
Middlebury College
South Main St./Route 30 South
72 Porter Field Rd.
Middlebury, VT 05753
(802) 443-3168 phone
(802) 443-2834 fax