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

Linda Blase

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 opens season with hymn to This Beautiful City

Meadows School of the Arts opens its 2012-13 theatre season with a play produced from interviews that explore issues leading up to, and after, the 2006 election, with a particular focus on faith and the evangelical movement.

This Beautiful City will run Sept. 26-30 in the Greer Garson Theatre, Owen Arts Center. Showtimes are 8 p.m. Wednesday-Saturday and 2 p.m. Saturday-Sunday.

Colorado Springs is known as the “unofficial” capital of the evangelical movement. The Civilians, the play’s original writers and performers, spent more than 10 weeks researching and interviewing there before creating their work. It was first performed in spring 2008 and went on to receive Lucille Lortel, Drama Desk and Drama Guild nominations.

The New York Times describes the play as “an engaging, inquisitive and moving piece of theatre.” The play is unique in that it’s not written in narrative form but instead highlights dozens of thoughts and opinions with a musical twist.

The Meadows troupe will perform the work under the direction of Blake Hackler, an assistant professor in the Division of Theatre.

Students, faculty and staff can purchase event tickets for $7. For more information, contact the Meadows Ticket Office at 214-768-2787 (214-SMU-ARTS).

Find a full cast below the jump. (Video courtesy of SMU Meadows School of the Arts; photo by Linda Blase.)

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September 26, 2012|Calendar Highlights, News|

Meadows Theatre ends 2011-12 season with Blues for Mister Charlie

M.F.A. candidate Russell Jonas as Lyle Britten and sophomore theatre major Adam A. Anderson as Richard Henry in the Meadows Theatre production of James Baldwin's "Blues for Mister Charlie," running April 25-29, 2012. Photo credit: Linda Blase.

A white citizen of a small Southern town murders a black man visiting from the North, then dumps his body in the weeds. The aftermath, and the wounds that racism inflicts on the town’s black and white communities alike, are the substance of poet James Baldwin’s second play.

Meadows Theatre closes its 2011-12 season with Baldwin’s Blues for Mister Charlie, running April 25-29 in the Greer Garson Theatre, Owen Arts Center. Showtimes are 8 p.m. Wednesday-Saturday and 2 p.m. Saturday-Sunday.

Baldwin’s play, published in 1964, is loosely based on the 1955 killing of 14-year-old Emmitt Till in Mississippi, an event that shocked the nation and galvanized the budding U.S. civil rights movement. Till’s white attackers were acquitted of his murder. (The “Mister Charlie” of the title is a slang term for a white man.) Baldwin dedicated his work to the memory of murdered civil rights activist Medgar Evers and his widow and children, as well as to the memory of the four children who died in the 1963 bombing of 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama. Its 1964 premiere was praised in The New York Times for its “…fierce energy and passion…like a thunderous battle cry.”

Tickets are $7 for SMU faculty, staff and students. Buy tickets online at Vendini or contact the Meadows Ticket Office, 214-768-2787 (214-SMU-ARTS).

April 25, 2012|Calendar Highlights, News|

Meadows Theatre presents Othello through Nov. 20, 2011

SMU theatre students Beethovan Oden and David Price in the 2011 Meadows Theatre production of 'Othello' directed by Michael Connolly, photo by Linda BlaseRacism, love, jealousy and betrayal provide the major themes for one of William Shakespeare’s greatest tragedies. Meadows Theatre presents the story of the Moorish general Othello through Nov. 20, 2011 at 8 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday and at 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. The curtain goes up in the Greer Garson Theatre, Owen Arts Center.

Shakespeare’s play is believed to have been written in 1603, based on the 1565 Italian short story “Un Capitano Moro” (“A Moorish Captain”) by Giovanni Battista Cinthio. Since its first known performance in 1604, it has been adapted in every medium from opera to ballet and from film to graphic novel.

The Meadows production is directed by Michael Connolly, associate professor and head of acting in the Meadows Division of Theatre. In this incarnation, the Venice of 1602 is transformed into Paris of 1952 as France struggled to maintain its colonial holdings and international power by dispatching officers and troops into Vietnam.

“By comparing France’s attempt to maintain its empire in Indochina and North Africa with Venice’s commitment to holding Cyprus and the Eastern Mediterranean, we found a rich, imaginative jumping-off point,” Connolly writes in his director’s notes.

Tickets are $7 for SMU faculty, staff and students. Buy tickets online at Vendini or contact the Meadows Ticket Office, 214-768-2787 (214-SMU-ARTS).

(Above, M.F.A. candidate Beethovan Oden as Othello and senior David Price as Iago in the 2011 production of William Shakespeare’s Othello staged by Meadows Theatre at SMU. Photo by Linda Blase.)

November 17, 2011|Calendar Highlights, News|

Meadows opens 2011-12 theatre season with ‘The Miser’ Sept. 28-Oct. 2

Teddy Spencer and Katherine Bourne in the 2011 Meadows Theatre production of 'The Miser' at SMUThe Division of Theatre in SMU’s Meadows School of the Arts opens its main stage season with a new adaptation of a French classic. Assistant Professor of Theatre James Crawford directs Molière’s The Miser from a version translated and adapted by James Magruder. The production runs Sept. 28-Oct. 2 in the Greer Garson Theatre, Owen Arts Center.

The title character is the wealthy moneylender Harpagon, whose obsessive frugality leads him even to search his servants before they leave his house to ensure they haven’t taken anything from him. His son, Cléante, and daughter, Elise, want nothing more than to marry their respective lovers, but Harpagon’s penny-pinching and greed stand in their way.

The play was first performed in 1668, with Molière himself in the title role. It served not only as a comedy of manners but as a pointed send-up of theatrical conventions of the age and even of the French idea of comedy.

Molière biographer Hobart Chatfield-Taylor wrote in 1906 that the playwright’s genius “lay, above all else in telling the truth about mankind…. As a poet, he has been surpassed, but never as a writer of concise, vigorous, and truthful prose dialogue … a dialogue so expressive of human thoughts and human emotions that his characters are still as lifelike as on the day they were drawn.”

The Washington Post described Magruder’s new translation as “a saucy serving … for those who like their French fare spicy and au courant.”

Tickets are $7 each for faculty, staff and students. Buy tickets online or contact the Meadows Ticket Office, 214-768-2787 (214-SMU-ARTS).

(Left, M.F.A. candidate Teddy Spencer as Harpagon and senior theatre major Katherine Bourne as Jacqueline in the 2011 Meadows Theatre production of The Miser by Molière. Photo by Linda Blase.)

> Find performance times and buy tickets online for The Miser
> Read The Miser in its entirety at the Project Gutenberg website

September 28, 2011|Calendar Highlights, News|
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