The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Gilbert, Sullivan operettas get new costumes, era for NE performance

By Cody Daniels/reporter

A modern twist on selections from three Gilbert and Sullivan operettas will be performed April 13 and 14 on NE Campus.

The concerts will be at 7:30 p.m. in the NE Playhouse (NFAB 1205).Choir students as well as faculty members will perform songs from The Pirates of Penzance, The Mikado and Iolanthe.

NE Campus choir director Stan Paschal said what will make this performance different from others is the modernization he is implementing.

The storylines have been updated to fit a college setting and a biker setting. The Pirates of Penzance, for instance, is now The Bikers of Penzance. The performers have also been told they need to create their own outfits.

“Most opera performers don’t get to choose and design their own costumes, and the student performers are having a great time of fun getting involved with this to fit their modernized characters,” Paschal said.

He told the students to take time deciding what type of image they want to convey and to dress accordingly. This underscores the diversities on a college campus, he said, as well as the diversities in Gilbert and Sullivan operettas.

It is the same with the bikers. Ivan Lippens, playing the Biker King, has begun putting together an appropriate leather outfit gathered piecemeal from family members.

Paschal said he wanted to bring Gilbert and Sullivan to a modern college audience for three reasons. First, he said, was his own selfish reason — they are his favorite operas.

Second, the timelessness of the operas make it very easy for the setting and text changes, Paschal said.

Third, Paschal said, “There is a lot of symbolism and comedy and satirical elements in the pieces that make them adapt easily to modern times. I wanted to convey the message that behind all the stereotypes, biases, prejudices and assumptions of our society, especially among college students, there is something more real about targeted people — in this case, bikers.”

The original Pirates of Penzance portrays this message, Paschal said, and this message seems to be more necessary in our time.

Paschal also said the program is also designed to entertain.

“We couldn’t ask for more if we have left our audience with a question in mind and the sense they were entertained,” he said.

The 15 performers range in age from 17 to late 40s, Paschal said.

The singers will be accompanied only by a single piano played by NE music department chair Karen Parsons. This solo piano, Paschal said, will allow the audience to focus on the lyrics and the performers to get the needed rhythm support to sing.

Former NE music faculty member Marion Nesvadba will narrate.

“The performers are having a great time, as am I, putting this together,” Paschal said, “and this should shine through the performance.”

NE student Ashley Ghent agrees.

“What excites me the most about this performance is that I’ve never done anything like this before,” she said. “It’s my final semester here after three years, so doing this will be a memorable way to end my time here. I’m excited to share this experience with my peers and love that I get to take a little bit of knowledge away from it all.”

The performances, which Paschal described as “comedic family entertainment,” are free with no tickets required.

“If anything,” Paschal said, “it will be a potential opportunity for potential students who attend to broaden their musical perspective.”

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