TheatreUSF brings Bat Boy to life

Migrant farm workers, a half-bat, half-boy creature, a man portraying nine different characters — no, it isn’t an episode on reality television, but it is what the USF College of Visual and Performing Arts and the School of Theatre and Dance are showing this fall.

John Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men comes to Theatre 2 in early October, Bat Boy runs in early November in Theatre 1 and N.E. 2nd Avenue finishes the season in December in Theatre 1.

Of Mice and Men is Steinbeck’s classic story about two traveling farm workers, George and Lennie, pursuing a place of their own during the Great Depression.

Directed by Monica Steele, who also directed USF productions of The Diviners, Female Transport and The Wake of Jamey Foster, said she wanted to direct Of Mice and Men because it is a strong ensemble piece that can open eyes.

“It’s a period that I’ve always been interested in,” Steele said. “The story is timeless, and you don’t have to look too far off campus to see homeless people.”

Bat Boy is a far different kind of production. The piece is a musical comedy/horror show written by Keythe Farley and Brian Fleming with music and lyrics by Laurence O’Keefe. Robin Gordon, who directed John Patrick Shanley’s Italian American Reconciliation in Fall 2001 at USF, is the director of this genre-busting production.

Ripped from the headlines of the Weekly World News, Bat Boy: The Musical is about a half-bat, half-boy creature discovered near Hope Falls, West Virginia.

When the local sheriff brings Bat Boy to a veterinarian, Bat Boy is accepted as a member of the family. But he still has to cope with the population of Hope Falls turning on him because of their narrow-mindedness.

N.E. 2nd Avenue also hopes to overcome narrow-mindedness.

It stars Teo Castellanos in a one-man show about nine characters who differ in race, ethnicity, politics, socio-economic status and sexual orientation, but all call Miami home. Castellanos himself is a Miami-based actor, writer and director.

The mission, as seen by Castellanos, is “to bring these cultures to the stage, so audiences may walk away with new information and perhaps new perceptions about who we are and what makes us that way.”

N.E. 2nd Avenue, which Castellanos wrote, is a free event sponsored by The University Lecture Series, Latin American and Caribbean Studies, Hispanic Heritage Committee and the School of Theatre and Dance.

Additionally, USF’s College of Visual and Performing Arts offers two dance events in the fall.

Moving Current is a contemporary dance troupe consisting of USF alumni and supported by USF’s Dance Department that started in 1997. They will perform in late September in Theatre 2. The school is also preparing the Fall Dance Concert, which will begin at the end of October.

With things already planned for the fall, TheatreUSF and the School of Visual and Performing Arts are planning to deliver an exciting semester.