Linda Blase

Meadows Theatre stages comic ‘Dispute’ Feb. 24-28

Production still from the Meadows Theatre production of 'The Dispute' by MarivauxA heated debate has broken out at the court of an 18th-century monarch: Who was the first to be unfaithful in love, a man or a woman? To answer the question, four children, two of either sex, are raised in total isolation from one another and from the world. Twenty years later, the four children, now adolescents, are let loose to discover one another – and love.

Such is the story of The Dispute, written by the great comic playwright Pierre de Marivaux and staged by Meadows Theatre in SMU’s Meadows School of the Arts. The new production, directed by guest artist Mace Perlman, runs Feb. 24-28 in the Margo Jones Theatre, Owen Arts Center.

Marivaux (1688-1763) is the second most-performed comic playwright in France, after Molière. Yet he was controversial during his lifetime for his irreverent use of language and propensity for making up words – an affront to the French tradition of protecting the sanctity of the language. He wrote La Dispute in 1744 for Théatre-Français, only to have it shut down after one performance. The actors lacked the physical skills to portray its comic aspects, and the play’s failure to provide a “moral to the story” was shocking to its contemporary audience. The Dispute was not performed again until 1938, and then not again until the mid-1970s.

Guest director Perlman has trained with Marcel Marceau in Paris and with world-renowned director Giorgio Strehler at the Piccolo Teatro in Milan. A specialist in 16th-18th century tragicomedy, he has spent more than two decades performing throughout the United States and Europe in the half-masks of the Italian commedia dell’arte in both English and Italian, as well as Shakespearean roles. In addition, he has taught and performed at more than 20 universities, including Harvard, Notre Dame and his alma mater, Stanford.

Perlman is also the first Meadows guest director to provide his own translation of a play written in a non-English language. “Marivaux is known for his unique use of language,” he says. “As I reviewed the existing English translations, none of them seemed to capture the spare music of the original, the inner voice of the play which I heard as I read it in French.”

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

(Above, sophomore theatre major Piper Werle and M.F.A. candidate Ricco Fajardo in the Meadows Theatre production of The Dispute by Marivaux. Photo by Linda Blase.)

Meadows Theatre season opens with three repertory shows

rehearsal-photo-chat-room-2009-300.jpgThree contemporary plays will open the 2009-10 season of the Division of Theatre in SMU’s Meadows School of the Arts. The shows will open consecutively beginning Oct. 8 and will run through Oct. 18 in the Margo Jones Theatre, Owen Arts Center.

The first show, Betrayed by George Packer, opens Oct. 8. Packer, a writer for The New Yorker and author of The Assassins’ Gate: America in Iraq, based his play about Iraqi translators working for the Americans in Baghdad on his experiences as a reporter there. Betrayed portrays the real-life struggles of Iraqi citizens who offered their services to support the U.S. mission, only to be denied protection by the American government they served as the country splintered among insurgent groups. Stan Wojewodski Jr. directs.

Opening Oct. 9 is Chat Room, a one-act by contemporary Irish playwright Enda Walsh. The drama focuses on a bullied, depressed teenage boy looking for connections in Internet chatrooms, where he finds two anonymous “advisors” who make it their mission to drive him to suicide. Regina Bonifasi directs.

Pure Confidence by Carlyle Brown opens Oct. 10. This comedy-drama, based on historical characters, tells the story of Civil War-era jockey and slave Simon Cato, who uses his determination, wit and athletic skill to chart his own course to freedom. Erik Carter directs.

Tickets for each show are $7 each for SMU faculty, staff and students. Find a complete performance schedule, and buy tickets online, at the Meadows Division of Theatre homepage.

Above, sophomore theatre majors Katherine Bourne and Joel Heinrich (at right in photo) with junior theatre major McLean Krieger (center) in Chat Room by Enda Walsh, directed by Regina Bonifasi. Photo by Linda Blase.

Theatre, music divisions collaborate on musical melodrama

Promo still from SMU's production of 'The Two Orphans'A major new collaboration between SMU’s Divisions of Theatre and Music will allow students in the Meadows School of the Arts to work with and learn from professionals on the development of a musical production.

The workshop for theatre and music students – co-directed by Kevin Hofeditz, professor of theatre and associate dean of student affairs, and Hank Hammett, director of opera – showcases Theresa Rebeck‘s new musical theatre piece, The Two Orphans.

Based on the popular 19th-century melodrama about the harrowing experiences of siblings lost and separated in Paris, Rebeck’s libretto tells the story of two African-American sisters adjusting to life in 1865 New Orleans after the end of the Civil War.

Composer Kim D. Sherman and lyricists Rebeck and John Sheehy will be guest artists in residence during rehearsals. Performances take place at 8 p.m. Wednesday-Saturday and 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday April 29-May 3 in the Bob Hope Theatre, Owen Arts Center. Tickets are $7 each for SMU faculty, staff and students. Purchase online or call 214-768-2787 (214-SMU-ARTS).

(Right, senior music major Madelyn Fortner, standing, and senior theatre major Bianca Denis in The Two Orphans. Photo by Linda Blase.)

Theatre students offer ‘New Visions, New Voices’

Scene from the Meadows Theatre production of 'Intimate Apparel'The Division of Theatre in SMU’s Meadows School of the Arts presents 6 innovative new plays written and directed by undergraduates in its 15th annual spring playwriting festival, “New Visions, New Voices,” March 25-29.

The 2009 festival includes 4 fully produced plays: Welcome, Waystation, The Constellations Don’t Have Faces and Where Pride Rides.

Two additional plays, But It’s My Wedding Day and Lapsaria, will be read Saturday afternoon and Sunday evening, respectively.

“Our playwriting students have drawn praise from notable professional playwrights for their work, which reflects their talent, intellect and dedication,” says Gretchen Elizabeth Smith, associate professor and head of theatre studies. Festival alumni “can be found across the country in the entertainment world,” she adds. “It offers the public a wonderful opportunity to see the first material by these artists of the future.”

All performances take place in the Margo Jones Theatre, Owen Arts Center. Some of the plays contain adult situations and/or strong language. Tickets are $7 for students and SMU faculty and staff. For more information, contact the Meadows Ticket Office, 214-768-2787, or find a link to buy online at the Meadows website.

(Above, senior Bianca Denis and sophomore Beverly Johnson in the February 2009 Meadows Theatre production of Intimate Apparel by Lynn Nottage. Student director Molly Murphy will also direct 2 plays in this year’s “New Visions, New Voices” festival. Photo by Linda Blase.)

Read more about this year’s productions, including dates and times, from SMU News

Meadows Theatre honors Black History Month with new production

Meadows Theatre production of 'Intimate Apparel'Meadows Theatre celebrates Black History Month 2009 with its production of Lynn Nottage’s award-winning play Intimate Apparel Feb. 25-March 1 in the Greer Garson Theatre, Owen Arts Center. The production is directed by Molly Murphy, a senior directing student in the Division of Theatre, Meadows School of the Arts.

Winner of five national awards for best play, including the New York Drama Critics Circle award, Intimate Apparel revolves around the character of Esther, an African-American seamstress living in New York at the beginning of the 20th century who creates beautiful lingerie for society women and prostitutes alike. She falls in love with a Panama Canal laborer who woos her through romantic letters, though she is also admired by a shy Jewish merchant who sells fabrics to her. Nottage, who based the play on the life of her great-grandmother, called it “a lyrical meditation on one woman’s loneliness and desire.”

Showtimes are 8 p.m. Wednesday-Saturday and 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Tickets are $7 each for SMU faculty, staff and students. For more information, contact the Meadows Ticket Office, 214-768-2787 (214-SMU-ARTS).

(Above, senior Bianca Denis as Esther and sophomore Beverly Johnson as Mayme in the Meadows Theatre production of Intimate Apparel. Photo by Linda Blase.)

Meadows Theatre presents ‘Twelfth Night’ Nov. 19-23

SMU Meadows Theatre production of 'Twelfth Night'The Meadows Theatre 2008-09 season continues with a new production of one of William Shakespeare’s most popular works. Twelfth Night, directed by Associate Professor Michael Connolly, runs Nov. 19-23 in the Greer Garson Theatre, Owen Arts Center.

Written in 1601 and named for the Christmas season’s Twelfth Night holiday (also known as Epiphany), the play uses the story of shipwrecked twins and a sudden love triangle to explore issues of misguided passion and mistaken identity.

Twelfth Night “is one of the few Shakespearean plays never to have gone out of fashion and always to appear right for the present moment,” writes Connolly in his Director’s Notes. “Perhaps [its] enduring appeal … lies in the way in which the play encourages those who perform it and the audiences who come to see it to investigate personally and profoundly the space between those who love and the breath that separates ‘lips that love’ and life from death.”

Performances begin at 8 p.m. Wednesday-Saturday and at 2 p.m. Saturday-Sunday. Tickets are $7 each for SMU faculty, staff and students. For more information, contact the Meadows Ticket Office, 8-2787 (8-ARTS).

(Left, M.F.A. candidates Sandy Deitz as Olivia, Matt Tallman as Orsino and Abbey Siegworth as Viola/Cesario. Photograph by Linda Blase.)

Meadows Theatre presents ‘An Ideal Husband’ Oct. 15-19

Jennifer St. Angelo, Olivia Williamson, Johnard Washington and Cheryl Lowber in SMU's 2008 production of 'An Ideal Husband'Meadows Theatre continues its 2008-09 season with a new production of Oscar Wilde‘s hugely successful 1895 comedy of love, blackmail and political corruption. An Ideal Husband opens at 8 p.m. Oct. 15 in the Bob Hope Theatre, Owen Arts Center.

The story revolves around a prominent politician whose youthful mistake is threatened with exposure by an aristocratic blackmailer. Social expectations and a Victorian sense of public and private honor contrast with the realities of human imperfection in a play renowned for its wit and insight. The production is directed by Assistant Professor of Theatre James Crawford.

The production runs through Oct. 19 with performances at 8 p.m. Wednesday-Saturday and at 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Tickets are $7 each for faculty, staff and students. Buy tickets online or contact the Meadows Ticket Office, 8-2787 (8-ARTS).

Above, senior Johnard Washington (center) plays Lord Goring, with (clockwise from left) senior Jennifer St. Angelo as Lady Chiltern, senior Olivia Williamson as Mrs. Cheveley and M.F.A. candidate Cheryl Lowber as Mabel Chiltern. Photography by Linda Blase.

Meadows Theatre opens season with “The Overwhelming”

Matt Tallman and Erik Carter in 'The Overwhelming'Meadows Theatre opened its 2008-09 season with an exploration of the human tragedy of the 1994 Rwanda genocide. The Overwhelming runs through Sept. 28 at 8 p.m. Friday-Saturday and 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday in the Margo Jones Theatre, Owen Arts Center.

The drama centers on American professor Jack Exley, who takes his family to Rwanda in 1994 to seek his college classmate, Joseph Gasana – a Tutsi doctor who treats children with AIDS. But once the family arrives, they are not only unable to find Joseph, they are unable to find anyone who will even admit to having known him. As the Exleys become drawn into the tension and terror building to the genocidal war, they face overwhelming risks, betrayals and life-and-death decisions.

Written by award-winning playwright J.T. Rogers, The Overwhelming had its world premiere at the National Theatre of Great Britain and its American premiere in fall 2007 at New York’s Roundabout Theatre Company. SMU is presenting the play’s first Dallas performance, directed by Stan Wojewodski, Distinguished Professor of Directing.

The production Tickets are $7 for SMU faculty, staff and students. For more information, contact the Meadows Ticket Office, 8-2787 (8-ARTS).

(Right, M.F.A. candidate Matt Tallman as Jack Exley and junior Erik Carter as Samuel Mizinga, photographed by Linda Blase.)

By | 2008-09-26T12:30:06+00:00 September 26, 2008|Categories: Calendar Highlights, News|Tags: , , , , |
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