The Daily Tar Heel

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Wednesday December 8th

Performing arts students to present ‘99 Ways to F@#K a Swan’

An ancient myth, Michelangelo and a giant disco ball.

These all come together in this weekend’s production of “99 Ways to F@#K a Swan,” by UNC’s Professional Actor Training Program.


Time: Today through Monday, 8 p.m. and Monday, 4 p.m.

Location: Kenan Theatre

Tickets: $5

The play, which explores human desire over several eras in human history, will be the first performance of the semester from the performing arts training program.

Written by Kimberly Rosenstock, the play is based upon the Greek myth of Leda and the Swan.

In the myth, Queen Leda is impregnated both by her husband — the King of Sparta — and by Zeus, who came to her in the form of a swan. She lays two eggs, one from each man.

“The story of Zeus coming to Leda and seducing her on the riverbank was so brief, it seemed ripe for exploration which excited me a lot,” Rosenstock said in an e-mail.

Mike Donahue, director of the play, further described the contemporary adaptation.

“It’s about love and who we are attracted to and desire,” he said.

The play moves between various different historical periods, from Ancient Sparta to Renaissance Italy to modern day Manhattan.

Graduate student Jim Kieffer, an actor in the play, said with such a vast range of settings, the cast and crew aim to give a sense rather than a recreation of the period.

Graduate student Kelsey Didion plays one of the modern characters, a professor in Manhattan named Fiona.

Fiona’s students are asked to create a story based upon the myth. She then becomes wrapped up in her student’s story.

Between the nine actors, an amalgamation of 23 characters are portrayed.

Ray Dooley, a professor in the program, said that it is one of many organized by the department in order to network career-minded professionals with playwrights.

Donahue knew Rosenstock at the Yale School of Drama.

When Dooley read the script, he saw that it had the perfect combination of male and female characters to fit the program’s cast of students.

Both Didion and Kieffer are excited to be working in the space at the Kenan Theatre, even though it is smaller than where they rehearsed the performance.

“It’s a very intimate space,” Didion said. “We could trip over the audience’s feet.”

Rosenstock, who saw “99 Ways to F@#K a Swan” as the only possible title for her story, said she had to overcome her inhibitions about the vulgarity.

“If you are offended by the title, chances are, you probably won’t appreciate the sense of humor in the play,” Rosenstock said in an e-mail.

So far, the play has transcended its eccentric title.

“The play has a big heart,” Donahue said.

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