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A newly-formed exchange program between the University and the University of Edinburgh in Scotland has allowed a handful of students to gain a cross-cultural perspective on theater. Students from the Theater Arts Program traveled to Scotland last August for the Edinburgh Fringe Festival to perform Shakespeare's The Tempest and watch shows done by groups from all over the world. On the other side of the exchange, students from Edinburgh last week performed Rat In The Skull at the Annenberg Center. College sophomore Alex Lopez, one of the participants in the program, said that because they put on an American interpretation of The Tempest, the largely European audience did not understand much of the humor they had planned. "It was difficult, because most of our interpretation was American," Lopez said. She added that the actors had to work much harder because they had to prove themselves of the audience. The University's delegation at the festival was one of only a few from the U.S. The festival was not limited to theatre, Lopez said, calling it "an explosion of art, a gathering of wonderful talent." It also included music, dance, comedy, and art exhibits. College senior Eve Simon, the lighting director for The Tempest called the festival "avant garde and experimental." The University students there stayed for two of the festival's three weeks, attending shows both day and night. Lopez, who acted in the play, said that the group was lucky to have a real theater to use for its show, as other groups were forced to perform in pubs and any other spare rooms they could find. "Every space larger than a closet" was used, said College junior Kent Davis, who also acted in The Tempest. Lopez said they had just two hours to set up their play, put it on, and clear their props out of the theater so that another group could perform. The students spent most of their free time in Edinburgh watching other plays. After each performance of Rat In The Skull at Annenberg, which dealt with the conflict in Northern Ireland, a discussion was held between audience and cast members, according to College senior Eve Simon. The discussions were videotaped so that students from Edinburgh could bring an American perspective back home.

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