Meadows Theatre presents three spring plays in ‘The Rep’ April 22-May 4, 2014

Sasha Davis (B.F.A. ’16) and Susana Batres (M.F.A. ’14) in Marisol by José Rivera – one of three plays to be performed in repertory rotation by SMU Meadows Theatre in April and May 2014.

In a nod to repertory theatre, SMU Meadows Theatre will present three contemporary American plays – produced, directed and acted by students – on a two-week rotation from Tuesday, April 22 to Sunday, May 4, 2014.

The program, collectively called The Rep, will include the following individual productions. All will be performed in the Margo Jones Theatre, Owen Arts Center, and tickets are $5 for students and $7 for SMU faculty and staff. Visit the link at each play’s name to buy tickets online through Vendini:

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• The first production follows four friends in their late 30s as they experience love, loss, remorse and doubt. The confusion of the characters is executed with “wit and melancholy comedy” to create a play that explores middle age.

Middletown, Will Eno

• Play number two was inspired by Thornton Wilder’s Our Town. The inhabitants of Middletown are extremely candid with their deepest fears and secrets. The thought-provoking script examines the anxieties we face through vignettes exploring the beauty and horror of life.

Marisol, José Rivera

• The final play follows Marisol, living in New York City, and how a subway attack changes the course of her life. The work explores a parallel universe where social injustices are brought to light through a world revolution.

The schedule of performances:

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Find complete cast and crew lists under the link.

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Meadows Theatre opens season with classic ‘Our Town’

Our TownSMU theatre students are bringing out a classic to open the 2010-11 theatre season: Thornton Wilder’s groundbreaking, Pulitzer-winning, fourth-wall-shattering Our Town.

The hit 1938 play, written as a social commentary on the everyday lives of middle-class Northeastern America, is famously known for its subdued, bare-bones production: little scenery, zero set design, and minimal props (some performers even reduced to miming actions). Traditionally, the play is performed in close settings, and the ever-prescient character known only as the Stage Manager is fully aware of the viewers’ existence, making for a uniquely close experience between actors and audience.

Or, in Wilder’s shorter description, “I wished to record a village’s life on the stage, with realism and with generality.”

SMU’s production opens at 8 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 29 and will run through Sunday, Oct. 3 (all times and tickets can be found here). The play is directed by veteran SMU theatre professor Rhonda Blair. Blair, who has directed and acted in more than 70 productions, cherishes the ideals represented by Wilder’s unusual production design.

Beverly Johnson“It’s very hard to tamper with Our Town because the story and its form are, to my mind, inseparable. Simplicity, story, and a focus on imagination – both the actors’ and the audience’s – are fundamental to Wilder’s desire to have us pay attention to the meaningfulness of the characters’, and therefore, our, daily experiences,” said Blair.

Eighteen Meadows theatre students make up the cast of Our Town, with Assistant Professor of Voice Jack Greenman joining the cast as the omniscient and soliloquy-replete Stage Manager.

“I hope people who come to spend the evening or afternoon with us feel as though they’re part of our town, and that, maybe, they have a deeper engagement with the beauty of Wilder’s play,” said Blair.

For more information, call 214-768-2787 or visit the SMU Meadows website.

Find a full list of the complete cast and crew after the jump. (Above, senior Beverly Johnson as Emily Webb.)

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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.