Students’ response to Darfur earns showcase at 2008 CalArts Festival

(Originally published Jan. 23, 2008.)

The cast of 'Locust'An SMU theatre student’s response to the genocide in Darfur will be showcased for an international audience of artists and peacemakers at the California Institute of the Arts‘ “Arts in the One World” Festival Jan. 24-27 in Valencia, California. The Meadows School of the Arts students who will stage and perform it offered a special fundraising performance Jan. 23 in the Taubman Atrium, Owen Arts Center, with proceeds going toward the students’ California travel expenses.

Locust was written by SMU theatre studies graduate Marlon Meikle (’07 ) and originally produced in Meadows’ 2007 “New Visions, New Voices” festival, which features new works written, directed and performed by SMU students.

Locust is a reflex, an involuntary and inborn response to Darfur and to the ever repeating cycle of genocide that has scarred the face of human history,” Meikle says. To prepare for the play, the artistic team read extensively about Darfur, met with members of the International Refugee Committee and Amnesty International, watched documentary footage from refugee camps in Eastern Chad and spoke with anyone they could from Northern and Western Africa, including Gabe, one of the “lost boys” from Sudan now living in Dallas.

Gretchen Smith, theatre professor and producer of the “New Visions, New Voices” festival, will accompany the group, which will consist of Locust‘s graduate designers Lois Catanzaro (lighting), Jeffrey Franks (set) and Jennafer Collins (costumes); undergraduate actors Meghean Warren, Zach Gamble, McLean Krieger, Christin Siems, Brigham Mosley, Jennifer St. Angelo, Frederick Beckley, and Melissa Paige Wright; and Marlon Meikle and senior Amelia Johnson, the production’s director.

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