The idea of theatre automatically brings to mind costumes, stages, actors, lights, props, sound and much more. While “Inside the Actor’s Studio: Transitions and Cultural Stereotypes of post 9-11 America” will have many of these elements, they’ll be produced in a way never before seen in Erie theatre, let alone Fringe Fest Erie.

“Inside the Actor’s Studio” is a show on Bravo that divulges into the lives of its guests, actors of the stage and screen, to learn more about both those people and their craft. Director Rob Lopez brings that same idea to Fringe Fest Erie, but he explores the lives of Muslim students.

“I remember a wonderful episode [of ‘Inside the Actor’s Studio’] that featured my favorite actor, Sir Anthony Hopkins, and as I was watching it over again, I thought that this format would be a way to open a dialogue on a very misunderstood issue of Muslim and the Islamic faith(s),” said Lopez.

“There are so many misunderstandings about the Muslim faith, but even more specific, the experiences that Muslim Americans endure as a result of plain ignorance and what is essentially the foundation, fear, that I wanted to put a face to the issue.”

The production is not just a performance, but rather it is an interactive experience; at least in the sense of how the audience should approach the show internally. “I would like the audience to take away a perspective that relates to the subject of their thoughts and actions, and think before they pass on false information or state a complete falsehood. Be conscious and aware of ignorance and seek credible answers,” said Lopez.

Lopez acknowledges that this production is not without its challenges. Lopez noted, “There are going to be times when the audience may not agree, or like the presentation, or perhaps my view, but if there is an honest look, they must respect that I present a fair presentation.”

And even after that presentation is over, Lopez hopes it will resonate in the minds of its audience. “Yes, I wish to encourage people to seek the truth or arrive at some reasonable, educated conclusion. When you read something in the paper or hear something reported on the news, be slow to form an opinion and even slower to voice an uninformed position. There are real people’s lives at stake, and a personal prejudice, fearful remark or malicious inquiry posed as a concern can have very serious and long reaching results.”

“Inside the Actor’s Studio: Transitions and Cultural Stereotypes of post 9-11 America” is one night only: Wednesday, March 12 at 8:00 PM in Zurn 104. Admission is $5.