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"The Nightingale" opens BYU Theatre Season through Oct. 12

Based on Hans Christian Anderson story

Brigham Young University’s Department of Theatre and Media Arts will present “The Nightingale” Friday, Sept. 27 through Saturday, Oct. 12, at 7 p.m. with 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Saturday matinees in the Margetts Theatre.

Wednesday and Thursday tickets are available at $6 for adults, $4 for children and weekend tickets available at $7 for adults, $5 for children. For tickets, visit the Fine Arts Ticket Office, (801) 422-2981 or byuarts.com/tickets. There will be no performances Sundays or Mondays.

“The Nightingale” is a play based on the story by Hans Christian Andersen and adapted for the stage by Timothy Mason. Directed by Julia Ashworth and Kori Wakamatsu, this tale of an emperor who neglects the lyrical song of a humble nightingale for the artificial splendor of a mechanical bird vividly depicts the majesty, grace and poetic ritual of ancient China.

Performed in English and Mandarin and influenced by the traditions of Peking Opera, “The Nightingale” invites audience members to ponder the worth of the things we value most.

To research the production, the cast and crew were able to travel to China to study with Peking Opera and establish sister-school relationships between schools in the United States and China.

Ashworth explained why the directors decided on “The Nightingale.”

“As we began to study the script together, several themes emerged, primarily the idea of true friendship,” she said. “A secular view of the story shows that the Emperor discovers the value of true friendship through the kind acts of the Nightingale. And yet, as we became more familiar with the script, we began to see the story as a Christian allegory.

“Our production concept focuses on the idea of being in the world, but not of the world.  The emperor is very much of the world — his palace is full of many dazzling, beautiful and delicate things. Although nothing is inherently wrong with the emperor's palace, these things lead him to forget what is truly important — his friends, family and loved ones. And through a selfless act, the Nightingale helps him remember what is truly important and provides him with a second chance,” said Ashworth. 

The play challenges audience members to remember what is most important in life.

“As you watch 'The Nightingale,' we hope that you observe the details and enjoy the visual spectacle. Beyond the set, costumes, acting and dancing, we hope you are as struck as we have been with the simplicity of the message — that love and kindness transcend the ‘glitter’ of this world,” said Ashworth.

The cast includes Cosette Hatch as the Narrator and Nicole Dugdale as the Nightingale/Young Man’s Wife, with Jennifer Bozeman as I-Ming/Witch, Clayton Cranford as Young Man/Glorious General, Scott Savage as High Lord Chamberlain, Jordan Nicholes as Emperor, Noah Kershisnik as Death/Emperor of Japan, Esmeralda Vera as Woo ling/Chinese Narrator and Allie Limas as Principal Dancer/Lady of the Court.

The design and technical crew includes Alecia Holmes, production stage manager; Brent Robison, scenic designer; Donnette Perkins, costume designer; Seth Mergist, lighting designer; Michelle Ohumukini, sound designer; Jennifer Reed, production manager; and Lola Danielson, dramaturg.

For more information, contact Julia Ashworth at (801) 422-4539 or julia_ashworth@byu.edu.


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The Glorious General, the Emperor and the Narrator (Clayton Cranford, Jordan Nicholes and Cosette Hatch).

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The Glorious General (Clayton Cranford).

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The Narrator (Cosette Hatch).

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The Witch (Jennifer Bozeman).

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The Nightingale (Nicole Dugdale).

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The Emperor and the Nightingale (Jordan Nicholes and Nicole Dugdale).
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