At a time when silent productions are a relic, Theatre UCF reinvigorates the classic style with a for-all-ages production of Reeling. Playing Feb. 18-28 in the University of Central Florida’s Black Box, this wordless play will have audiences “reeling” with laughter.
“This play is a unique theatrical experience that also serves as a big history lesson. It’s fun, cute, and charming and has redefined what I consider theatre,” said Tommy Heller, dramaturg and assistant stage manager of the show.
Reeling, directed by associate professor Christopher Niess, is unusual in that it has no dialogue. The entire story is conveyed with movement and intermittent supertitles. This silent-era style play centers on the character “Little Fellow” who flees to the city after his marriage proposal is rejected. While in the city, a confrontation ensues when “Little Fellow” meets the “Big Man” and accidently tears his clothes and injures him. Upon fleeing, “Little Fellow” stumbles onto a film set, is mistaken as the film director, and that’s where the fun begins.
Playwright Barry Kornhauser is one of only three writers to be commissioned by The Shakespeare Theatre to adapt dramas. He is also a recipient of the Orlin Corey Medallion for enriching children through the arts. This explains why his play won the 2006 IVEY Award for young audience theatre.
Reeling is reminiscent of silent film star Buster Keaton’s great works and as a type of commedia dell ‘arte, this play focuses on comedy in diverse scenarios.
“This play is iconic to a certain degree. There are archetypal characters that we all can relate to and there’s a positive message that carries through,” Niess said.
In addition to the silent script, regular patrons should expect another new experience in the Black Box; the stage and seats have been flipped in order to create a “backstage” area for the large cast in the small space. Where most casts in UCF’s Black Box productions are usually in the 3-8 person range, Reeling has a cast of 24, not including understudies.
Tickets are $20 for adults, $18 seniors and $10 for students. Complimentary patron parking is located in lot D1. Please note that an additional matinee has been scheduled for Saturday, Feb. 27 in order to accommodate school-aged audience members.
For more information about the UCF School of Performing Arts, visit https://performingarts.cah.ucf.edu
Event at a glance:
By Barry Kornhauser
Directed by Christopher Niess
Feb. 18, 19, 20, 25, 26, 27 at 8 p.m.
Feb. 21, 27, 28 at 2 p.m.
Reeling tells the light-hearted story of Little Fellow’s trials and triumphs as he navigates the big city and love without using a single word.
Price: $20 for adults, $18 for seniors, $10 for students