‘Nine’ makes first visit to UI

Guido Contini, played by Aaron Golden, tries to convince his wife Luisa, played by Carissa VanAusdall, that he is faithful to her in the musical Nine on Saturday. Nine will be performed at the Colwell Playhouse Thursday through Saturday at 7:30 p.m. Vadim Olen

Guido Contini, played by Aaron Golden, tries to convince his wife Luisa, played by Carissa VanAusdall, that he is faithful to her in the musical “Nine” on Saturday. “Nine” will be performed at the Colwell Playhouse Thursday through Saturday at 7:30 p.m. Vadim Olen

By Stephanie Taylor

Pale blue lighting tints the stage as the pianist begins to smoothly move his hands across the bright white keys. A young man sits concentrating in warm yellow light on a revolving circle that resembles a film reel. His solitude is suddenly disrupted by the rants of 12 anxious women that crowd him. Filmmaker Guido Contini doesn’t have time to relax.

Aaron Golden, junior in FAA, stars as Contini in the University’s Theater Department’s presentation of “Nine” that began Thursday and will last until Oct. 30 at the Krannert Center for Performing Arts, 500 S. Goodwin Ave.

The Italian musical is based off Federico Fellini’s movie, “8 1/2,” which is a semi-autobiographical story of a tortured film director that needs to write a blockbuster hit within a matter of days. He finally finds inspiration through his own life by deciding to make a movie about himself making a movie.

“Nine” resembles “8 1/2” artistically as well as climatically. William Panek, junior in FAA and assistant director of the show, helped refine the dance and major choral numbers.

“We use a lot of film style in the show, in the black and white costumes, and set,” Panek said. “The coloring throughout the show is based on Fellini’s last black and white film, ‘8 1/2.'”

Though most of the women in the play wear black and white, their costumes are different. This stresses the characters’ different personalities. The characters’ dress range from as risqu‚ as Carla, Contini’s sexy mistress, who wears a black teddy, to as plain as Luisa, Contini’s suffering wife, who wears a simple black dress.

Carissa VanAusdall, senior in FAA, plays a lead role as Luisa in the show. During most of the performance, Luisa observes Contini’s interactions with various women while standing off to the side of the stage.

“I like how I’m on the outside of everything watching it happen … even though it all affects me,” VanAusdall said.

Stephanie Limesand, senior in FAA, plays Contini’s mother in the show. She said she noticed a few important messages emerge from the play.

“The show is good because everyone can relate to being lost in life where you don’t know what to do,” she said.

Limesand also thinks the show displays strong, independent women characters. Contini is the only male in the entire play but the women are not afraid to confront him or leave him, she said.

The cast of “Nine” has been rehearsing hard since Aug. 24, said cast member Stephanie Sexauer, sophomore in FAA. “Nine” is one of three shows that the FAA students are producing this semester. The other two performances include “Candles to the Sun,” which was performed two weeks ago, and “Six Degrees of Separation,” which starts Nov. 3.

Colleen Klein, senior in LAS, said she thought the cast did a wonderful job of getting into character.

“It’s well-directed and well-performed … the characters are strong and appealing,” Klein said. “I think Guido has a strong presence on stage, and Carla is a very appealing and commanding character as well.”

Kenya Drew, senior in FAA, used her knowledge of theater to enjoy the performance.

“As a theater major, I love that it was a wonderful display visually and musically,” Drew said. “Not only did it touch spectacle, but it had an emotional attachment. I’ve cried every time – it’s very touching, and it’s fun, I had a good time.”