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Venue change for “English Without Effort,” a combination of two Eugene Ionesco plays, presented Nov. 6-10

BOONE—Appalachian State University’s Department of Theatre and Dance presents a double-bill of plays titled “English Without Effort: An Evening of Ionesco Comedy” in Valborg Theatre on campus Nov. 6-10. The performances previously had been scheduled in I.G. Greer Studio Theatre. These laugh-out-loud comedies will be performed at 7:30 p.m. on Nov. 6, 7, 9 and 10 with 2 p.m. matinees on Nov. 7 and 8.

View larger imageLegendary playwright Eugene Ionesco’s two comedies “The Bald Soprano” and “Jack, or the Submission” comprise the production titled “English Without Effort,” presented at Appalachian State University Nov. 6-10 in Valborg Theatre.View larger imageSeniors Nick Newman, left, as Mr. Martin and Aaron Scotch as Mr. Smith in “The Bald Soprano,” one of two comic one-act plays by the legendary playwright Eugene Ionesco that the Department of Theatre and Dance presents in the production “English Without Effort.” Photo credit: Derek GagnierView larger imageSenior theatre performance major Sarah Duttlinger portrays the role of Mrs. Smith in “The Bald Soprano,” one of two comedies by Eugene Ionesco that comprise the current Department of Theatre and Dance production of “English Without Effort.” Photo credit: Derek Gagnier

Ticket prices are $5 for students and $10 for adults. For more information, contact the Valborg Theatre box office at 828-262-3063, call the Schaefer Center box office toll-free at 800-841-ARTS (2787), or visit the website at

“English Without Effort” combines two classic Eugene Ionesco plays, “The Bald Soprano” and “Jack, or the Submission.” According to Director Derek Gagnier, Ionesco may have lived in the 20th century, but his writings relate to the Millennial generation. “The deeper meaning that is underneath the silly dialogue exposes great faults that plague our society,” said Gagnier, a theatre professor and coordinator of Appalachian’s Theatre Arts (BA) – Performance major.

“These outrageous comedies take a look at the lack in communication and the exploration into humanity,” Gagnier said. Ionesco once said, “Human nature is about asking questions,” and Gagnier said he believes that “‘English Without Effort’ is an attempt to see some of his questions staged.”

One of the distinctive aspects of this production is the casting, with six actors in “The Bald Soprano” joining an additional three performers in “Jack, or the Submission.” This cast includes a range of characters portrayed and artists involved, from first-semester freshmen to graduating seniors. Among the group of veteran student performers are seniors Sarah Duttlinger, Nick Newman, Jesslyn Wilson and Aaron Scotch, all of whom appear in both plays. Also notable is the use of a student designer, with senior David Sabbagh creating an original sound design to enhance the production.

Gagnier explained that the two plays are independent of each other in terms of the scripts, but they are skillfully tied together in aesthetic quality. Both pieces emphasize audience involvement. Ionesco’s “The Bald Soprano” could easily be described as a classic dinner party gone wrong, but the imaginative nuances incorporated makes it so much more. In a similar notion, “Jack, or the Submission” is a basic teenaged boy-meets-girl storyline with a twist; their parents arranged their marriage.

Audiences will also find themselves immersed in a dynamic and explorative world with ties to iconic 1980s video game characters. According to Gagnier, “This production will feel similar to a ‘Saturday Night Live’ sketch comedy where the underlying motif is, ‘Hijinks ensue!’”

About the Department of Theatre and Dance

The Department of Theatre and Dance is housed in the College of Fine and Applied Arts. Its mission is to provide liberal arts educational opportunities including B.A. degrees in dance studies and theatre arts. The department also values the opportunity to offer coursework for integrated learning through the arts to the general university student population. Vital to the support of this mission is a dynamic co-curricular production program that provides exemplary theatre and dance experiences to departmental students, the university community and the region. The departmental philosophy is to support the university’s liberal arts environment through a balanced and integrated emphasis on teaching, creative activity, scholarship and service.


Media Contact

Keith Martin