The Rabble [Les Crasseux] is a groundbreaking play by Antonine Maillet, Canada’s premier Acadian author and playwright. The production, which opened last night with an invitational reception and auction in Burke Hawthorne Hall, continues today and Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 2p.m.

There will be encore performances Tuesday and Thursday at 7:30p.m.

The Rabble is part of the UL Lafayette College of the Arts' Sixth Annual Festival of the Arts that continues through Thursday.

Maillet's play is about the return of the Acadians after their initial exile from Nova Scotia. After they return, they find that they are not welcome on the land that they previously owned.

Then they learn that they are to be exiled once again, but this time they strategize to maintain what is theirs.

“We are very excited to bring Madame Maillet’s characters to life with the production of The Rabble as well as to have the opportunity tell a part of the Acadian story that may not be as familiar as others in the Acadiana area,” says Camille Bulliard, diector. “The Rabble is a perfect opportunity to support our mission as the premier pre-professional performing arts training program in Louisiana, bringing progressive, exhilarating, state of the art productions to the community.

"Madame Maillet’s work offers the Performing Arts Program this opportunity supported with the robust ‘carnival-esque’ quality and deep brotherhood known of the Acadians/Cajuns, upon which our young actors and dancers in training can explore and expand upon.”

The Rabblers, the "house band" for the play, performed music for the production that went from sounding like John Cage to Cajun music last week at the Blue Moon.

For The Rabble, instruments, such as the violin morphed into fiddle and back again depending on the song and of course what was going on in the play at the time. A lid for a pot stood in for a miniature gong and a keyboard, laptop computer, tiny bells, and a lung-powered keyboard all contributed to the play's unusual soundtrack.

There were other traditional instruments - stand-up bass, guitar, accordion and banjo - on hand that do and sounded like they're supposed and sometimes not, again depending on what's going on in the  play.

Daniel Coolic plays mandolin fiddle and guitar. Eric Frey plays bass and banjo and sings. Dave Trainer plays everything, including the transformational violin/fiddle. Dallas Griffith plays drums, percussion and guitar. Kristi Guillory is on accordion and sings. Danny Devillier handles the laptop and contributes on fiddle and both keyboards.

The Rabble [Les Crasseux] is a groundbreaking play by Antonine Maillet, Canada’s premier Acadian author and playwright. Her play is about the return of the Acadians after their initial exile from Nova Scotia, but after being allowed to return, they find that they are not welcome on the land that they previously owned.

The UL Lafayette production of the play relies on parallel cultural experiences and expressions of the Cajun people. The UL Lafayette Performing Arts cast delivers a dialogue that is robust and passionate. The play is written in an ambiguous historical framework, so this production is developed within a sort of ‘suspended world,’ where the characters are archetypes of the personalities they represent.

The production has been designed, collaboratively, by a team of faculty and students working with Joe Stewart, 2011-2012 College of the Arts Artist-in-Residence, internationally recognized production designer, Lafayette native, and this year’s recipient of the SPARK Lifetime Achievement Award.

Tickets for the production (excluding the Invitational Gala opening) are $20 general admission and free to UL students, faculty and staff.

For more information on the symposium and the Festival of the Arts, go here.

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