Theatre Roars Back to Crown College

Crown College’s Department of Humanities is proud to present Anton Chekhov’s reimagined classic, The Bear, translated by Julius West and directed by Adjunct Professor of Communication Kevin C. K. Berg in Simpson Auditorium. Performances will take place Friday Dec. 7 and Saturday, Dec. 8 at 7:00 p.m. and Sunday, Dec. 9 at 2:00 p.m.

The action begins at the estate of Elena Ivanovna Popova (played by Josephine Monson), as she is seen bending over a photograph of her dead husband. Her servant, Luka (played by Alex Kuiper), tries to comfort her and encourage her to finally leave the house, seven months after her husband’s death. Popova stubbornly refuses, citing the pretext that she must remain forever faithful to her husband—as he had never been to her. All this is interrupted by the arrival of Grigory Stepanovich Smirnov (played by Lucas Reimer), who has come to collect a debt incurred by her late husband. Naturally, Popova refuses to see him, but this “Bear” of a neighbor won’t take no for an answer. What follows is a series of events filled with passion, rage, loneliness, and love. When an immovable object meets an unstoppable force, who makes it out intact?

And yet this production will include one major twist: choreography. “I wanted to show the audience the powerful impact of theatre, especially when delivered through a stimulating presentation of both sight and sound,” Berg says. “To do that, we’ve obtained the performance rights to some wonderful pieces of music, including one by Lindsey Stirling, that I’m sure will absolutely thrill our audiences!” The dance and movement pieces will be choreographed by Maddie Bakken, a senior at Gustavus-Adolphus and alumni of Mayer Lutheran High School. The set and costumes will also by designed and/or constructed by Wendy and Steve Bakken from Mayer, Minnesota.

This production will be presented in the Simpson Auditorium at Crown College and Berg has high hopes for this landmark occasion in terms of its potential impact on audience members and their hopes. “It’s often seen as a simple story, but it’s so much deeper than that,” Berg says. “In this divisive day and age, it’s a good reminder that the passions, ideas, and values that unite us are so much more plentiful than those that separate us. In the end, all of us want peace, safety, and a place where we belong.”

Update: The Bear was a great success, keep an eye out for future Crown College productions.