‘Artifice:’ Dan Studio Series 2023 show premiers today

Student-run theatre collective to flip the audience-performer dynamic on its head

Image supplied by: Supplied by Dan Studio Series
Audiences are in for four shows in one.

Dan Studio Series (DSS) is premiering its 2023 show this week after a semester of creative thinking and hard work. Dubbed Artifice, the student-run and performed installment tackles fate, identity, and womanhood throughout four shows. 

Co-Producers Deanna Cervi, ConEd ’25, and Ben Ma, ConEd ’25, chatted with The Journal about what audience members can expect.

“We called this instalment Artifice because we wanted to explore the performance and audience binary to see how we can use our power as theatre artists to really deceive others into thinking that the story is going one way, but then ultimately changing it around,” Ma said. 

Playing around with seating configurations and deviating from the normative perceptions of what it’s like to watch a theatre show was important to the co-producers. 

“We’re doing a cabaret style seating that includes audience participation and interaction from the actors,” Cervi told The Journal.

The four student-written shows set to take the stage are all unique, yet find themselves under the umbrella of portraying realistic and contemporary human experiences. 

“There are roaches in the drain pipe” by Sarah Starling will be the first showcased, beginning the exploration of womanhood present across all the shows. The essence of the feminine perspective is weaved throughout the play that deals with misogyny. 

The second is “Sabbatical” by Dominique Delben, following its main character through her university experience with a focus on the perception of the external company throughout the transitory period of high school to university. 

“Between two worlds” is set to premier third. Sean Lee exposes the binary of living as an Asian person following the events from the pandemic. It explores how the racism directed at Asian people affected families and navigating one’s sense of belonging in an immigrant household. 

Kate Greening wrote the final play, titled “The Hands of Fate.” Like the title suggests, this story explores the concept of fate and the path set for individuals—whether it’s pre-set or controlled—as well as how power can be used for both good and evil. 

“Watching everything come together has been the most fun and exciting part,” Cervi said. 

“As co-producers, our main role is overseeing every department to make sure things are running smoothly so watching all the little pieces and organizing every aspect until it all, slowly, but surely, ties in together had been super exciting and rewarding.”

Both Ma and Cervi are incredibly proud of the art their team has produced and hope that audience members are able to see the passion that went into the show. 

“We want anyone coming into the theatre to throw away any expectations they have about theatre and being an audience member and just lend themselves to the art that’s in front of them and to be immerse in the stories they’re telling.”

Interested parties can purchase tickets to Artifice here.


Art, Cabaret, Theatre

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