A group of students from the student-run musical theater organization Princeton University Players is taking a show on the road – to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in Edinburgh, Scotland. Izzy Kasdin ’14 and Lily Gold ’14 are co-directing Stephen Sondheim and John Weidman’s dark and witty musical Assassins Aug. 20-25. Assassins deals with nine individuals who either killed United States presidents or tried to and failed.
The Edinburgh Festival Fringe attracted some 21,000 performers last year who staged about 2,500 productions in and around the city. Kasdin and Gold will travel to Scotland with a cast of 10, plus musical director Luke Massa ’13 and technical director Ariceli Alfaro ’13.
It took the co-directors months to decide which show to take on tour. “It had to be something that would play well internationally and also would fit the fringe idea of being able to be performed anywhere,” said Gold.
Their version of the Assassins is not a lesson in American history, Gold said, but an exploration of nine very complicated people. They examine what led each of them to want to kill a president. As strange as it sounds, said Kasdin, they want to portray these individuals not as crazy people but as sympathetic human beings. The musical is set in a carnival controlled by a proprietor, “the anti-Uncle Sam” with a gun.
“If we’re successful,” said Gold, “you will feel emotionally connected to the people. … It won’t be John Wilkes Booth who shot Abraham Lincoln in cold blood. It will be the person that felt so much like his leader was doing something so criminal and felt that he was so misrepresented that he took action into his own hands.”
The troupe will bring the show back to campus with performances at the Frist Film and Performance Theatre Sept. 27-29 and Oct. 4-6. The actors will blog during their trip in Scotland at http://hailtothebang.blogspot.com.