By MAUREEN JONES
Reality’s war with illusion is shown in George Bernard Shaw’s play “Arms and the Man,” which previews Wednesday and Thursday and opens Friday at the Pardoe Drama Theater in the Harris Fine Arts Center.
According to a news release, the play is set in 19th century Bulgaria, and centers on a war. Bluntschli, a soldier, finds refuge from the war in Raina’s house. Raina’s father is fighting on the opposing side of Bluntschli and his army.
Raina saves Bluntschli from capture by sneaking him out of the house in her father’s coat. Bluntschli later returns when the war ends to return the coat.
Raina’s father returns from the war along with Raina’s fiancee, Sergius. The main characters conflict in their relationships.
“This is one of my favorite Shaw plays,” said Barta Heiner, head of the acting sequence at BYU and director of the play.
She said in addition to being a comedy, the play is also Shaw’s response and reaction to war.
“It’s not a laugh-out-loud kind of play,” said Katie Foster, a senior majoring in theater with an acting emphasis from Puyallup, Wash. who plays the role of Louka.
Instead, she said the play displays the problems of the characters and maintains a lighthearted tone.
Foster said the message of the play is applicable to BYU students because it talks about “putting up false fronts to impress people” as opposed to “letting your true self come out.”
Ben Hoppe, a senior majoring in theater from Sacramento, Calif., who plays the role of Sergius, said that a majority of the comedy is found in the language and time period in which Shaw was writing.
The theme of the play is universal, he said because “it makes a statement on how we all put up fronts in order to get what we think we want.”
Heiner said that the main elements of the play are war versus the reality of war and romantic love versus real love.
According to the news release, Shaw found he had talent in writing political essays and social criticism. He found his niche in expressing these views through the theater.
The play will be performed at 7:30 p.m. through Oct. 18, with a 2 p.m. matinee Oct. 11. Performances are daily except Sundays and Mondays.
The play is $7 for students, faculty and staff and $9 for the public. It can also be seen Wednesday and Thursday as a preview. The ticket prices for the preview are $3.50 for students, faculty and staff and $4.50 for the public.
Benjamin Hopkin plays Bluntschli and Melissa Yacktman plays Raina. Other roles are played by Stephanie Foster Breinholt, Chris Clark, Ben Hoppe, Katie Foster and Chris Kendrick.
Russ Richins designed the set, Bruce Duerden is lighting designer and Cathie McClellan is costumer.