This weekend, AU will be able to witness to what lengths a woman from the early 20th century will go in order to gain control of her financial life. The spring Opera, “Regina” will be premiering this Friday with a cast of talented AU students filling the roles.
“Regina” is an opera based on the play “The Little Foxes,” which centers around three siblings, Ben, Regina and Owen Hubbard, in Alabama during the early 20th century, who use all sorts of schemes in order to get rich. Things take a dark turn when Regina’s husband finds out what the three of them are doing and tries to stop them. Regina denies her husband his heart medication, which results in his death.
Ian Lawrence, a junior theatre and voice performance major, who plays the youngest sibling, Oscar, said that “the score is unique and simply stunning in its beauty. The plot is dark, fascinating, and thought-provoking. The piece itself is staged beautifully on a gorgeous set. I can’t help but gush about this production because I think it’s of a totally different caliber of anything else I’ve seen or been a part of on this campus and it tells a meaningful story.”
Lawrence also commented that Oscar can be seen by the audience as simply a bully who will do anything to get what he believes he deserves.
“At surface level he can seem a detestable and cruel person, which is certainly a part of his character, but digging deeper in the world of the piece helped me understand why he is as ruthless and bitter as he is,” Lawrence said. “It’s fun to get in rehearsal or performance and people might say ‘I hate Oscar! He’s so horrible!’ but I can smile and think ‘I know things about him that you don’t. I know what made him this way and I pity him.’”
Outside of the drama with the Hubbard family, other characters in the house have their own concerns, centered mostly around the jazz music of the time.
Arielle Green, a senior music major, plays Addie, the Hubbard’s housekeeper. Green says that her favorite parts of the show are the scenes outside of the main Hubbard family drama. She says that “these scenes give the audience a pleasant break from all the evil and corruption of the Hubbard family.”
Benjamin Burney, a sophomore voice performance major, plays Jazz, the leader of the band that plays throughout the show. Burney’s favorite part about his character is the freedom he has. “Since he is not a servant like Cal or Addie, he is able to say and do whatever he pleases,” Burney said. “He is not bound to the rules that society may try to place on him. Some could even say that he is in his own world at times.”
In contrast, Cal, one of the house servants, played by sophomore music education major Isaac Denniston, is confined to his role in the house. “My character is one that the audience will see and probably feel sorry for, but it will also make them think,” Denniston said. “[He] is a symbol of what racism used to look like.”
Denniston also commented that the darker scenes of the show are the ones he likes the most. “Those are the moments where the audience will realize certain key areas of the show,” he said.
Burney chimed in, saying that his favorite scene “would have to be Horace’s death. Up until this moment in the show, we have only seen a glimpse of the darkness that resides in Regina and her hatred for her husband. A chill literally runs down my spine every time I look into the soulless eyes of Regina when she is standing beside the lifeless body of her recently departed spouse on the staircase. The calm, still look on her unworried face, moments before she ‘acts’ frantic and calls for help, is what brings not only the character, but the scene itself to life.”
“Regina” will be presented in the Boze Lyric Theater on Feb. 19 through Feb. 21. Tickets can be purchased through the box office or on TicketMaster.