Meadows Theatre

Meadows Theatre serves up SLAVS! Oct. 23-27, 2013

SMU Meadows main stage production of SLAVS, Oct. 2013

L to R: SMU students Russell Jonas, Andrew Gonzales (on ground), Brandon Potter (facing front), Tom Gelo and Joshua Kumler (on ground) star in the 2013 Meadows Theatre production of SLAVS! by Tony Kushner, directed by Rhonda Blair. Photo: Linda Blase.

For its latest Main Stage production, Meadows Theatre takes on a Pulitzer Prize winner’s darkly comic exploration of the last days of the U.S.S.R., from perestroika to its ultimate collapse.

Tony Kushner’s SLAVS! Thinking About the Longstanding Problems of Virtue and Happiness is “a rambunctiously funny, seriously moving stage piece that is part buffoonish burlesque and part tragic satire,” wrote New York Times theatre critic Vincent Canby.

Kushner, a 2013 Academy Award nominee for his Lincoln screenplay, wrote SLAVS! in 1994, shortly after he received the 1993 Pulitzer for his epic Angels in America.

“A lesser writer would have followed [Angels] with something smug and sweeping. As though Kushner feared such a fate, he instead has returned to where he started: a place of healthy confusion,” wrote Marc Robinson of The Village Voice. “Kushner’s humor buoys his political anguish, his lyricism draws dry ideas into rhapsodies and elegies, his interest in character won’t let even the most vaudevillian individual conform to type.”

The Meadows production is directed by Rhonda Blair, professor of theatre in SMU’s Meadows School of the Arts, and runs Wednesday, Oct. 23-Sunday, Oct. 27 in the Margo Jones Theatre, Owen Arts Center. Tickets are $7 each for SMU faculty, staff and students. Buy tickets online at Vendini or contact the Meadows Ticket Office, 214-768-2787 (214-SMU-ARTS).

Find a full cast and crew list below the cut.

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Meadows Theatre presents The Rimers of Eldritch through March 3

Murder in a small town: We know who is responsible, but why?

SMU Meadows Theatre presents Lanford Wilson’s The Rimers of Eldritch as its first production of the Spring 2013 semester. The show will run through Sunday, March 3 in the Greer Garson Theatre, Owen Arts Center.

The drama is set in the mid-20th century in Eldritch, Missouri – a Bible Belt town frozen in time with a plummeting economy and population. The play exposes Eldritch’s small-town characteristics and flaws when a woman murders a local man.

Sometimes characterized as a murder mystery, the play forces audiences to explore the inside and outside of this small town and wonder if they, too, live in a similar place.

The play was first performed in 1966; author Wilson was raised in Missouri and went on to attend Southwest Missouri State College and San Diego State, which he left to move to Chicago. He received numerous recognitions throughout his lifetime including a Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 1980 and a Theater Hall of Fame membership in 2001.

Bernard Cummings, assistant professor in the Division of Theatre, is directing the Meadows production. Cummings is a graduate from the Yale School of Drama and has performed in venues ranging from off-Broadway to television. He has also had his own play writing produced across the nation and abroad.

Tickets are $7 for SMU faculty, staff and students. Performances begin at 8 p.m. through March 2 and at 2 p.m. on March 2-3. For more information, contact the Meadows Ticket Office, 214-768-2787 (214-SMU-ARTS).

A full cast list is posted after the jump.

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Meadows Theatre presents Major Barbara through Dec. 2, 2012

For the final performance of the Fall 2012 semester, SMU Meadows Theatre presents George Bernard Shaw’s Major Barbara.

The play, first performed in 1905, explores the family dynamics of the Undershafts and the very different values of each family member – especially in the relationship of Mr. Undershaft, an estranged father and successful military industrialist, and his daughter, Barbara, a major in the Salvation Army.

Major Barbara is directed by Stephen Fried and features a cast of SMU Meadows students plus Dallas actress Lynn Blackburn, best known for her recurring role in the NBC series “Friday Night Lights.”

Performances begin in the Greer Garson Theatre, Owen Arts Center, at 8 p.m. Nov. 28-Dec. 1 and at 2 p.m. Dec. 1-2. Tickets are $7 each for faculty, staff and students.

All photos by Linda Blase. Full cast list after the jump.

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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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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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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).

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.)

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

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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New Visions, New Voices: 2011’s new look at Meadows playwrights

playwrightsMeadows Theatre’s New Visions, New Voices spring playwriting festival has undergone a major retooling this year – the Spring 2011 lineup will feature seven plays written by theatre students, as opposed to the usual three.

This year’s features are all written by seniors majoring in playwriting. The plays, which will be performed as staged readings (and directed by a variety of theatre professional ranging from Meadows professors to members of the Kitchen Dog Theater) are as follows:

  • Lilimarlene, written by Meredith Alloway ’11
  • The Rough Beast, written by Joel Heinrich ’11
  • Meltdown, written by Nathaniel French ’11
  • The Happy Place, written by Audrey Gab ’11
  • Tissu, written by Micah Figueroa ’11
  • Ready To Start, written by Jessica Andrewartha ’11
  • How To Be Black, written by Nicholas Cains ’11

The plays will be shown through Friday, March 11, with performances at 8 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and 2 p.m. matinees on Saturday and Sunday. There will be no performances on Monday, March 7. All performances will take place in the Margo Jones Theatre, Owen Arts Center.

Ticket prices are $7 for SMU faculty, staff and students. For more information, contact the Meadows Ticket Office, 214-768-2787 (214-SMU-ARTS).

A complete list of plays, casts and performances can be found after the jump.

(Clockwise from top center: playwriting majors Audrey Gab, Nathaniel French, Meredith Alloway, Nicholas Cains, Jessica Andrewartha, Joel Heinrich and Micah Figueroa.)

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