Laughter filled the auditorium of Kenan Theatre Monday — but the seats were strangely empty.
Before the dress rehearsal of LAB! Theatre’s production of “Taming of the Shrew began, the cast gathered in a circle and looked to its director, Amelia Sciandra, to hold the offbeat Shakespearean adaptation together.
Time: Thursday-Sunday 8 p.m., Sunday 2p.m., Monday 5 p.m.
Location: Kenan Theatre
Info: Canvas blog on dailytarheel.com
Sciandra — also a LAB! producer — had been running around the stage parting hair, mopping, instructing and singing along with the cast to make sure her debut as a director becomes a success.
Although Sciandra’s love for LAB! began even before she was enrolled at UNC, the play, her last with the company, is a chance for her to be on the other side of the process.
“I am obsessed with theater and fell in love with LAB! my senior year of high school when I came to see two productions,” Sciandra said.
As a freshman at UNC, Sciandra was finally able to join the ensemble.
“LAB! immediately became my home — the first thing I did on campus was a show,” she said.
And the last thing she does on stage at UNC will also be a LAB! production.
The modern adaptation of “Taming of the Shrew” features several layers, Sciandra said. It begins with a musical scene of set builders on strike and eventually builds into a production of “Kiss Me Kate” in the 1940s.
“I drew a diagram of how the different layers tied together,” Sciandra said. “The company jokes that at times it feels like they are ten levels deep in a play version of ‘Inception.’”
Stephanie Waaser, who designed the set, said the layers were somewhat of a challenge to create.
“The trick with designing for Amelia was to remember the levels of plays within plays — working with costuming and sets — involved in her vision of adapting ‘Taming of the Shrew.’”
Luke Wander, who plays Petruchio in the Shakespearean comedy, said that Sciandra has grown from being an actress to being a director.
“I was in a show with Amelia last year and she had many creative ideas as an actress,” he said.
“But it has been great to discover a different side of her which blossomed directing this production.”
Sciandra selected “Taming of the Shrew” as her final show in order to stretch actors in a unique way, she said.
“I have gained a new perspective of a director’s vision and the fruition of working with a great cast that loves to laugh,” Sciandra said.
And as the curtain goes up this week, it will be a bittersweet end for Sciandra.
“I have lived in this building more often than my dorm or apartment,” she said.
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