In a world full of constant pressure to conform, a young prince goes on a death-defying journey to find meaning in his existence. Will he choose a happy but simple life? Or will he risk everything for a singular flash of glory? That is the story of "Pippin," which Piedmont College Theatre brought to the stage Oct. 3-6 at the Swanson Center for Performing Arts and Communications.
First produced on Broadway in 1972, "Pippin" features music and lyrics by Stephen Schwartz, creator of "Godspell" and "Wicked." Now on Broadway again in a Tony Award-winning revival, the musical tells the tale of a man searching for truth in a world of distracting illusions. It asks the question, if you were offered unending riches to walk the path so many have taken, would you choose instead to live a simpler life of truth?
"The story of Pippin appeals to audience because it expresses a journey we all undertake," said director Bill Gabelhausen, chair of the Department of Theatre at Piedmont. "It is a journey in search of who we are and where we want to go."
Gabelhausen said the Piedmont production of Pippin is "theatre for the people, by the people." His vision is to have the audience feel that they are connected to the performance, which begins on a bare stage. As the set and characters slowly filter onto the stage, it gives the audience the feel that the show is being created for them and with them. It ends with a bare stage as well. "All the grandeur is taken away from Pippin as he does not buy into it, but chooses the simpler life of truth," Gabelhausen said.