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Riverland Community College theater announces 2020-21 season

Riverland Community College theater director Lindsey Duoos Williams announced the theater department’s 2020-21 season, according to a press release, and said it will rise to the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic by providing the same high-quality shows audiences have come to expect with flexible delivery formats.

The season opens Oct. 21 with the play “She Kills Monsters: Virtual Realms” by Qui Nguyen. A comedic romp into the world of fantasy role-playing games, “She Kills Monsters” tells the story of Agnes Evans as she leaves her childhood home in Ohio following the death of her teenage sister, Tilly. When Agnes finds Tilly’s “Dungeons & Dragons” notebook, however, she stumbles into a journey of discovery and action-packed adventure in the imaginary world that was Tilly’s refuge. In this high-octane dramatic comedy laden with homicidal fairies, nasty ogres and pop culture, acclaimed young playwright Qui Nguyen offers a heart-pounding homage to the geek and warrior within everyone. “She Kills Monsters” will be directed by Williams and will be performed fully online.

On Feb. 24, Riverland Theatre will present the popular romantic comedy “Almost, Maine” by John Cariani. Welcome to Almost, Maine, a place that’s so far north, it’s almost not in the United States. It’s almost in Canada. And it’s not quite a town, because its residents never got around to getting organized. So it almost doesn’t exist. One cold, clear, winter night, as the northern lights hover in the star-filled sky above, the residents of Almost, Maine, find themselves falling in and out of love in unexpected and hilarious ways. Knees are bruised. Hearts are broken. But the bruises heal, and the hearts mend — almost — in this delightful midwinter night’s dream, the release stated. The delivery format for the production will be announced at a later date. The play will be directed by Susan V. Hansen.

The season finishes with the new musical adaptation of William Shakespeare’s “As You Like It,” with music and lyrics by Shaina Taub, adapted by Taub and Laurie Woolery. Named one of the New York Times’ best shows of 2017, “As You Like It” is an immersive, dream-like tale of faithful friends, feuding families and lovers in disguise. Forced from their homes, Orlando, Duke Senior, his daughter, Rosalind, and niece, Celia, escape to the Forest of Arden, a fantastical place of transformation where the refugees find community and acceptance under the stars. Featuring an original folk-pop score by acclaimed singer-songwriter Taub and adapted from Shakespeare’s original text, “As You Like It” celebrates the power of community and love, according to the release. Williams will direct “As You Like It,” which was postponed from the 2019-20 season.

“This season presents many new challenges, but we are ready to be creative and flexible in order to continue our programming while prioritizing safety,” Williams said. “The challenge of producing a play entirely rehearsed and performed online is exciting as well as a fantastic learning opportunity for our students. ‘She Kills Monsters’ has been a popular play presented in a traditional format, but now the script has been rewritten specifically for performances online on Zoom. The show is both funny and moving, and gives our students the opportunity to learn about creating performance for digital media.”

“We’ve kept the delivery method of our spring performances flexible,” Williams said. “While it’s still too early to know when we’ll be returning to the Frank W. Bridges Theatre, we will be announcing more details about our spring shows later this fall. We are currently exploring multiple options so that we can choose the best delivery format based on current guidelines.”

Individual tickets to “She Kills Monsters: Virtual Realms” went on sale Sept. 8, when the box office officially opened for the season. The box office will be fully virtual this fall with no in-person sales. Tickets are available for purchase online at www.riverland.edu/tickets or by phone. To receive more information, call the Riverland Theatre box office at 507-433-0595, email boxoffice@riverland.edu or visit the website and download the brochure at www.riverland.edu/theatre. Individual ticket prices for “As You Like It” are $16, and $13 for “She Kills Monsters” and “Almost, Maine.” Riverland students receive two free tickets to each production.

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