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UATD show features lighthearted, adult humor

Meredith Davis

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The UA Department of Theatre and Dance will commence its spring season with “Design for a Living,” a comedic tale of a romantic ménage a trois written by British playwright Noel Coward. The University’s rendition of the show is directed by UATD graduate student Jimmy Kontos.

“Design for a Living” is set in 1930s Paris, London and New York, and follows the polyamorous relationship between characters Gilda, Otto and Leo. After becoming bored with conventional society, the three lovers decide to partake in a relationship that brings forth many questions and leaves the characters to decipher the role society plays in their personal lives.

Melora Slotnick, marketing manager of the Department of Theatre & Dance, is excited for a show with mature subject matter.

“It appeals to an adult audience because of the content and story – love, relationships, marriage, sex,” she said. “The characters are fantastic; the actors allow the story to unfold brilliantly. I think Jimmy Kontos was very effective in guiding the actors through the script – the use of language, dialect and physicality makes you laugh, makes you grimace and surprises you in every scene.”

For students who have never attended a UATD production, Slotnick offers the analogy of comparing a theatre production with a sporting event.

“Many students compare theatre with the movies, but I think it is more like a sporting event,” she said. “When you go to an Alabama football game, you don’t know what is going to happen and that thrill, combined with the atmosphere and people, is exhilarating. The same is true for live theatre – anything can happen in each play.”

Thaddeus Fitzpatrick, a senior majoring in theatre, plays Otto in the production, and said he has enjoyed playing an unconventional character.

“He is the freest of the three, which is very liberating to play,” Fitzpatrick said. “I’ve never played a character like this. There are elements [of Otto] I can relate to. He himself is not quite who I am. Playing this character has been an amazing experience because he’s so open and honest and free.”

Fitzpatrick is looking forward to the audience’s thoughts and reactions to the production.

“Given the subject matter, I’m interested to see what audiences think and see their take on a love story that’s not quite what they’re used to,” he said. “We show it in a light that’s really human and not exaggerated. It’s something they can look at and learn something from.”

(See also “In theatre program, student stands out as director”)

For those looking to add more culture to their lives, Fitzpatrick said he believes theatre is the best place to begin.

“If you want an eye-opening experience, if you want to culture yourself with a lifestyle outside of your own, theater would be the best place to do it,” he said. “Performing arts have the power to transcend any culture to the point where we can learn something about people and lifestyle we know not of.”

“Design for a Living” premieres Monday, Feb. 4, and runs through Sunday, Feb. 10. The Monday through Sunday performances begin at 7:30 p.m., and the Sunday matinee begins at 2:00 p.m. All performances are held in the Bales Theatre in Rowand-Johnson Hall.

Tickets can be purchased for $10 online or at the box office in Rowand-Johnson Hall on campus.

For more information, please call 205-348-3400 or visit

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UATD show features lighthearted, adult humor