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"New Brain" a Success!

A scene from "A New Brain"

November 2011

On October 7, the St. Ambrose Theatre Department premiered it's annual fall musical, "A New Brain," directed by Professor Dan Rairdin-Hale and written by William Finn. It was debuted to an eager and appreciative audience.   

The play tells the story of Gordon Schwinn (portrayed by Irene Ryan nominee, Kyle DeFauw '15), a young songwriter who finds himself at a critical time, not only in his career, but in his health. He is diagnosed with a brain defect, Arterovenus Malformation; something he was born with, but could potentially kill him. Based on Finn's own real-life health scare a few years ago, "A New Brain" explores Gordon's mind as he falls into a coma, where he sees all his friends, family, and even random people he saw on the street, all singing and dancing. Performed with almost all singing and very little dialogue, the cast portrays not only the society we live in, but the deepest recesses of one's mind.

The cast included Kyle DeFauw as Gordon Schwinn; Tony Stratton '12 as Roger, Gordon's loyal partner; Stacy Phipps '13 as Rhoda, Gordon's agent/friend; Val Zawada '13 as Gordon's erratic, suffering mother; and Irene Ryan nominee, Tim Stompanato '13 as Mr. Bungee, Gordon's boss (and often, the tormentor of his thoughts).

The large ensemble featured the talents of many students, from freshman to senior, majors and non-majors. Each character, from the dancing tadpoles of Mr. Bungee's Children Show, to the depressed, yet comically uplifting nurse (Casey Nabb '13), brought his or her own bit to the high energy show. "A New Brain" lets the viewer into a world they rarely, if ever, see–another person's mind.

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