Categorized | Arts & Entertainment

“The Golden Age” tackles issues of race and colonization

Laura Merrell

A&E Editor


This year’s fall play from The College of Wooster’s Department of Theatre and Dance is “The Golden Age.” The play runs Oct. 24-26 in the Freedlander Theater. The selection of the play was meant to complement and explore the themes of this year’s forum, “Facing RACE.”

Shirley Huston-Findley, the director of the show and a professor of theatre and dance, also explained that the play was selected because it had an interesting script that allowed students to “gain insight into a variety of historical time periods and cultures.” Additionally, this complex play pushed students to expand their abilities as actors, designers and stage managers.

“The Golden Age” by Australian playwright, Louis Nowra, was first published in 1985. The play delves into the effects of colonization and the use of the concept of “civilization” in justifying prejudice and war. Set predominantly in a remote part of Tasmania, the production centers on a group of outcasts. Two Australian men encounter the group and their interactions drive the plot. World War II serves as the historical background to the show, providing another layer of complexity to the examination of war and colonization.

Huston-Findley hopes that the audience, especially students, will leave the performance “thinking about how they have played a role in perpetuating colonization, how we might broaden our thinking about issues of race, and how we might re-imagine the effects of ‘civilization’ in a global community.”

“The Golden Age” serves as an interesting opportunity for two of the show’s seniors. Kent Sprague and Chelsea Gillespie explored concepts and methods related to their I.S.

Sprague is the lighting designer for the production. This past summer, he had the chance to travel to Australia through Copeland Funding to prepare and conduct research for his role. His travels allowed him to bring back visuals such as photographs and sounds that will be featured in the show, including the image on the show’s poster.

Gillespie, the show’s stage manager, used the show as a way of exploring different methods of stage management.

Working on “The Golden Age” allowed Gillespie to “approach the process differently … because the way the production developed was not the typical way we do shows.”

In her I.S., Gillespie proposed that mounting a production “can be expanded to focus less on how efficient a production is run, and do more for the process than just carrying out someone’s artistic vision.”

Through her experience with the show, Gillespie wanted to find a method of stage management that emphasizes collaboration among the artists, including the actors. In “The Golden Age,” she achieved this by using the concept of “group development,” which creates an inclusive environment within the production. Drawing for this show and other research, Gillespie ultimately wants to create her “own personal ‘collaborative leadership’ method of stage management.”

The play opened last night and will run through Saturday. All performances begin at 8:15 p.m. in Freedlander Theatre. Tickets can be purchased at the box office in the Freedlander Theater. For College of Wooster students, the tickets are free, but still need to be reserved in advance and  can be picked up at showtime. For senior citizens, staff and faculty, tickets are six dollars. The general admission price is $9.

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