Northern Illinois University

NIU Office of Public Affairs

News Release

Contact: David Booth, NIU School of Theatre and Dance
(815) 753-1337

September 28, 2006

NIU School of Theatre and Dance presents 'Exercises in Style'

DeKalb — The next production of the Northern Illinois University School of Theatre and Dance, "Exercises in Style," is the story of an incident involving a man on a bus, re-told many times in a variety of ways.

Presented as the school’s first 2006-2007 Season Studio Series production, the play is directed by Dr. Robert Schneider. The show will be held Thursday, Oct. 12, through Sunday, Oct. 15, in the Stevens Building Corner Theatre. Thursday through Saturday performances are at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. Tickets are $5 and available only at the door.

Schneider describes the production as a series of skits with a continuation of the initial incident integrated throughout the play. It is a more modern work with minimal props, costumes and sets. “Within each skit of the incident,” he says, “there is no limitation on creative styles. The styles of the different skits are based on anything and everything, giving each its own unique style, or flavor.”

The cast consists primarily of bachelor of arts theatre majors and includes: Sarah Albritton, Greer Blaustein, Phil Claudnic, Andrea DeFrancesco, Kristen Helmers, Elek Hutchinson, Andrew Jordan, Courtney Kozeluh, Paul Krautstrunk, J.D. Lundgren, Jackie Perez, Joune Strum and Justin Zucollo.

This will be Schneider’s second time directing "Exercises in Style."

In 2000, Schneider directed the English language premiere of the play, a translation by Barbara Wright, at the Education Center for the Arts in New Haven, Conn. Even though this is the second time he has directed it, his two productions of this play are vastly different. While some of the same skits are used, the acting students rewrote a few of the skits to reflect modern culture, while others were entirely the students’ own invention.

Based on Raymond Queneau’s script, Les Exercices de Style was originally only 12 skits about a single incident. After a year, Queneau wrote 12 more skits about this same incident. This continued until he had about 99 different ways to tell one story. Queneau broke down language in his work so that, while the incident is told in creatively different ways, the basic elements of the original story of the man on the bus were retained.

Queneau said about his work, “People have tried to see it as an attempt to demolish literature – this was not at all my intention. In any case my intention was merely to produce some exercises. The finished product may possibly act as a kind of rust-remover to literature, help to rid it of some of its scabs.”

Schneider has a doctor of fine arts degree from the Yale Drama School and a bachelor of arts degree from University of California of Irvine. He has taught at Yale, the University of Paris and NIU.

Contact the Stevens Building Box Office at (815) 753-1600 from 12:30 to 4:30 p.m. weekdays from or visit the School of Theatre and Dance Web page at for further information.

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