Meadows Theatre explores <em>Cloud Nine</em> through Oct. 28, 2012

Caryl Churchill

Meadows Theatre explores Cloud Nine through Oct. 28, 2012

Steven A. Smith (B.F.A. ’14) and Joshua Kumler (B.F.A. ’14) in the SMU Meadows Theatre 2012 production of Caryl Churchill's 'Cloud Nine' - photo by Linda Blase

Steven A. Smith (B.F.A. ’14) and Joshua Kumler (B.F.A. ’14) in the 2012 Meadows Theatre production of Caryl Churchill’s “Cloud Nine.” Photo by Linda Blase

“Accepting people who are different and not dominating them or forcing them into particular social roles” is playwright Caryl Churchill’s message in her breakout 1979 work, Cloud Nine. SMU’s Meadows Theatre showcases that message in its second production of the season Oct. 24-28, 2012.

Cloud Nine takes the audience on a journey of social issues, gender roles and power through time. The play’s two acts have two very different settings: The first is set in British colonial Africa in 1880, then fast-forwards one hundred years to the second, set in London in 1980. Student actor Steven Smith explained this dynamic: “The challenge isn’t the actor’s, it’s the audience’s. Caryl Churchill is asking you to watch each play, Act One and Act Two, and see how they inform and respond to each other.”

Another interesting dynamic in Churchill’s play is that each actor plays two separate roles, with male actors playing women and vice versa. “The gender-reversed casting becomes a useful tool when, from the audience’s perspective, you are watching Betty go through her life as the most beautifully feminine woman she knows how to be – her intentions and her behavior all point to that end – but you are constantly confronted with the physically male actor,” says Smith, who plays Betty. “There is a tension and a conflict there that is never acknowledged in the world of the play. It’s yours to do with as you will.”

James Crawford, associate professor and Head of Acting in the Division of Theatre, directs the production. Performances take place in the Margo Jones Theatre, Owen Arts Center. Tickets are available online and are $7 each for faculty, staff and students.

A full cast list (in alphabetical order) appears under the jump.

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October 24, 2012|Calendar Highlights, Tune In|

Meadows Theatre presents Caryl Churchill’s The Skriker April 13-17

Rehearsal photo from 'The Skriker'Meadows’ Division of Theatre returns to the stage April 13-17, 2011, with its newest production – The Skriker by Caryl Churchill.

Written in 1994, The Skriker combines magic and realism in a macabre blend as the horrors of modern-day infanticide are entwined with surrealistic fantasy. Churchill’s play concerns a pair of English housemates: Josie (Rachel Werline, B.F.A. ’11), recently institutionalized for murdering her infant child, and Lily (Gracyn Mix, B.F.A. ’12), who is pregnant with her own. Lily is being pursued by a malevolent fairy, the Skriker (Aleisha Force, B.F.A. ’13), a spirit who continues to haunt the not-fully-sane Josie and her terrified roommate.

Meadows Distinguished Professor of Directing Stan Wojewodski Jr. staged the production, and all technical and acting parts are filled by members of the SMU Division of Theatre. Performances take place at 8 p.m. from Wednesday, April 13, to Saturday, April 16. There will be two 2 p.m. matinee performances on Saturday, April 16, and Sunday, April 17.

All performances will be held in the Margo Jones Theatre, Owen Arts Center. Prices are $7 for SMU faculty, staff and students ($13 for non-SMU adults). For more information, call 214-768-2787 (214-SMU-ARTS).

Weekend traffic is expected to be heavy due to the SMU Founders’ Day Weekend celebrations, but the Meadows Museum lot and Meadows U-lot will be available for theatre parking. Patrons must enter the U-lot from Hillcrest Avenue and not Bishop Boulevard, which will be closed.

This production of The Skriker will be performed without an intermission. A full cast and crew list can be found after the jump.

(Above, The Skriker cast in action during a rehearsal. Photograph by Linda Blase.)

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April 13, 2011|Calendar Highlights, News|
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