Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

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October 4, 2022

Creative Arts + Theatre presents four-act Renaissance dinner theatre show, For Those Who Seek Answers

Samuel Hayek
Madrigal Dinner cast members perform for rehearsals in the Texas Union Shirley Bird Perry Ballroom on Nov. 6, 2023. This event is hosted annually by Texas Creative Arts + Theatre.

A Campus Events + Entertainment student committee will host the 42nd Annual Madrigal Renaissance Dinner, from Nov. 9-11 in the Shirley Bird Perry Ballroom, filling the Texas Union with sword fights, set pieces and a four-course banquet. 

The show, hosted by Creative Arts + Theatre, consists of a five-act show and a four-course dinner. Producer and third-year history major Matilda Herrera Ramirez said a committee chose this year’s script, called “For Those Who Seek Answers,” because of its unique anthology format. She said the story spans three acts in which two characters encounter a thief questioning their mortality, a love story between an unlikely pair and a newly crowned queen trying to figure out her new identity and role.

To portray a magical, pseudo-Renaissance era, tech director Alyssa Dixon said the tech team painted cardboard set pieces to create a pop-up storybook setting.

“We tend to associate the Renaissance or medieval times with fantasy, royalty and living a separate life that doesn’t really exist anymore,” said Dixon, a mechanical engineering junior. “Going to a show like Madrigal gives you the ability to live in that world for a little bit.”

The menu, including vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free options, consists of Renaissance-style dishes like maple-rosemary chicken, parsley smashed redskin potatoes, butternut squash with quinoa and white chocolate bread pudding for dessert. 

“A lot of our big selling points for people who don’t know what Madrigal is a four-course meal for under $20, that’s a steal,” said fight choreographer Kaz Elenes.

As the fight choreographer, Elenes said they taught other actors how to make staged sword and fist fighting look natural, particularly for a climatic and comedic sword fight towards the end of the show.

“The biggest challenge of fight choreography has been finding a way to effectively tell the story with the scene while also maintaining the actor’s ability to say their lines and the timing of it,” said Elenes, an international relations and Plan II sophomore. 

While each new cast and crew of the Madrigal dinner adds their own interpretation of the show, Herrera Ramirez said one tradition stays consistent throughout the years — the “wenching” songs. During these pieces, the actors interact with audience members at their tables by singing Renaissance and medieval-era songs.

“We always have Madrigal alumni that know the songs,” Herrera Ramirez said. “Sometimes they sing louder than our actual cast and crew members. We had someone last year who was like 60, and they still remembered all of the songs.”


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