Madrigal Feaste coming to AU

AU Theater Department

Lexi Portner

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The 44th annual Madrigal Feaste begins on Nov. 20 at 6:30 p.m. in Redwood Hall and runs each night at the same time through Nov. 24.

Rowland Blackley, professor of music and director of choral activities, has overseen the Madrigal Feaste for the past 23 years that he has worked at the university.

Tickets for the event are $25 for groups of 10, $28 for adults and $18 for children. Students can buy their tickets for the opening night of the feaste, for less than half the cost of the regular tickets: $13.

The Madrigal Feaste is a unique show, as it is interactive in nature and unlike a traditional play or concert. Blackley described it as interactive dinner theater set in the renaissance era.

“For the people in the audience, it’s a concert but the conceit is that they’re singing for each other and they’re just doing entertainment,” Blackley said.

The doors open at 6 p.m. and there will be instrumental music performed by student ensembles until the show begins.

“The audience comes into a big party, a formal dinner and they are invited by aristocrats. The aristocrats are the chamber singers, it’s one of our choirs and there’s 17 people in it this year. They sit at the head table dressed in renaissance garb.”

This year, the Queen of the Feaste is senior, Sami Eron and her King is Junior, Ethan Tingler. Blackley said that they are responsible for leading the chamber choir, as there is not a conductor with them during the show.

“The Jester is my most important selection that I make every year,” said Blackley. The jester is in charge of writing an original skit for the show and training all the other players to fill their roles.

Nik Demers, senior theater major, has been involved with the Madrigal Feaste since his freshman year. He was the jester his junior year and will be filling the role again for his senior year.

He had to write and direct a 15 minute skit for his 5 players to perform that will be entertaining to the wide range of audience members at the Madrigal Feaste.

Demer’s said, they “always put a princess in because the little kids like that. We’ll put some jokes in that might go over the head of some other people but the college students really like it, and then we’ll just try to make it broadly funny enough that it appeals to most people.”

He plans to include classic Disney and fairytale stories. “This year I did some stuff with some unknown fairytale creatures mixed in.”

Cinderella will make an appearance in the skit this year, and she will be played by senior theater major Holly Fongheiser.

She has auditioned a few times in the past. When she found out she would be one of the actors, she said that this is going to be a learning process, but is excited nonetheless.

Just as Demers’s character is named “Rick O’Shay” and Fongheiser is “Alli Gator,” all of the players have punny names that they use for the dinner portion of the show.

“During the general night we wander through the crowd in our costumes and just kind of mess with people,” said Demers.

Fongheiser is very much looking forward to her first Madrigal Feaste and said that everyone should come see the show and have fun.

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