Set in St. Petersburg just after the fall of the Soviet Union,
“The Quick-Change Room” presents a metaphor for change
in society that is applicable even today. Director Philip Kerr, a
professor, describes it as a bittersweet comedy. “It is about
a theater company that is adjusting to a new Russia. It is funny,
but also sad,” Kerr explained.

The play was chosen not only because of the St. Petersburg theme
semester in the fall. “Since September 11, we’re more
sensitive to change in our society right here,” Kerr
commented. “So I think it is very relevant.”

Written by Nagle Jackson, the story follows an acting
company’s production of Chekhov’s “Three
Sisters.” As ticket prices climb and the new social structure
in Russia leaves many hungry and without material goods, the
public’s desire for Western entertainment increases.
“So (the acting group) compromises and shifts Chekhov’s
play into a rather tacky musical,” Kerr said.

Sound is consequently an important part of the production, and
there are even live musicians on stage in several scenes. The play
provides strong acting roles, said Kerr of the 10 leading
characters, and “the cast is superb.”

“The Quick-Change Room” is a theater department
production with an entirely student cast, primarily made up of
seniors. Students are also responsible for the costumes and the
ornate set.

The play was written by Jackson after living in the Soviet Union
— the first American stage director in the country a dozen
years ago. He lived in a theater in an apartment while directing
Tennessee Williams’s “The Glass Menagerie.”
“That was sort of the genius for him writing ‘The
Quick-Change Room,’ ” Kerr noted.

Jackson will be in town for several discussions about the play.
On Saturday he will attend the performance and will hold a
discussion with the audience and the cast afterwards. Jackson will
also have a discussion at 11 a.m. Sunday in 2550 Frieze
Building.

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