March 23, 2004

Six new short plays to premiere at SIUC

by Paula M. Davenport

CARBONDALE, Ill. - Theater lovers: You're in for a treat when six new short plays - three each week - premiere in the Christian H. Moe Laboratory Theater at Southern Illinois University Carbondale.

The first bill of "Journeys: Explorations in New Works," will run Thursday through Saturday, March 25-27. The second set runs Thursday through Saturday, April 1-3.

All plays are brand new works penned by undergraduate and graduate students in the SIUC theater department.

The Christian H. Moe Laboratory Theater is in the Communications Building. Ample free parking is available in lots south of the building. All performances begin at 7:30 p.m. and tickets cost $5 at the door.

For more information, call Lori Merrill-Fink, associate professor of theater, at 618/453-7591.

A synopsis of each of the first three works, billed as "Journeys, Search," set for March 25-27:

  • "The Little Red Hen," written by Jonathon W. Myers, directed by Jennifer Holcombe.

    The Little Red Hen is a quirky, hard-working inventor in Wooster Rooster's peaceful 'coup,' but when the latest invention wins an award, feathers are ruffled. Wise Old Chicken watches it unfold, narrating as Chicken Little's spastic excitement spreads praises for Little Red Hen's accomplishment - that is, until Wooster Rooster's ideas for the blueprint ignore the inventor, pushing Little Red Hen to "cross the road." When simple disagreement and confrontation turn into an all-out face-off, a battle is waged, dividing the 'coup' between right and left wings. Although Chicken Little rapidly sways from side to side, Wise Old Chicken continues to "sit this one out," watching from the sidelines. Will the Little Red Hen find help to actualize the blueprint, despite Wooster Rooster? Does Chicken Little ever take a stand? What can Wise Old Chicken do to finally have an impact on the 'coup'? The answers lie in our stories."

  • "Untitled," written by Thom Miller, directed by Lori Merrill-Fink, associate professor of theater.

'Untitled' is an exercise in ambiguity, the story of a man and woman at a crossroads in an undefined and uncertain relationship. They manipulate each other in hopes of finding clues about one another's true feelings. In their search for clarity, they must admit the nature of their relationship and try to hang onto the hope that it will evolve into more."

  • "Lying Lies," written by Vincent Rhomberg, directed by Thomas J. Kidd, a visiting theater lecturer.

Slang, rhythm and rap are the music of this performance piece as Tanesha and Latoya try to prevent Moesha from the common experience of the heartbreak and romantic disillusionment that results from another brother's lying lies."

A brief description of each play on the second bill, "Journeys, Discover," set for April 1-3:

  • "Twin Cities," written by Scott R. Irelan, directed by Eric Pals, a teaching assistant in theater.

Sebastian Attwood and Maria Garretti recount the intricate intersection of their seemingly unrelated lives; lives that explosively collide the night of a kitschy donor party for KTCA Twin Cities Public Television. Initially, as Maria describes her victory over long-standing adversity, everything about the evening seems ideal. Ideal, that is, until Sebastian reveals what precisely happened when he and Maria abandoned the warm surroundings of the party for a walk in the brisk, fall Minnesota air. "Twin Cities" highlights the seedy side of human frustration and aggravation that emerges from within a socio-political reality of neglect and disregard."

  • "Great Adventures in Phone Tag," written by Keith Gatchel, directed by Thomas J. Kidd, a visiting theater lecturer.

This play revolves around a quest for something to do on a Saturday night and takes place entirely on the phone. "Great Adventures in Phone Tag" is the story of Larry, the socially awkward new guy at school, who tries to go out with Ann, the cute dance-team girl from astronomy class. When she assumes going out means a group of people, Larry has to pull strings he didn't know he had. As the night gets older, Aunt Lil enters the mix and Larry learns how much work and politics go into having fun."

  • "Happy Glow," written by Eric Anderson, directed by Rebecca Fishel-Bright, assistant professor of theater.

"'Happy Glow' is a play about a troubled young man, Andy Wilson. He has gone through many things, like just being released from a psychiatric institute. After he is released he goes to see a psychologist, the premise of the play. He meets this doctor, Erin Reed, to see if he wants to become a regular patient. She is in the middle of opening a new practice and needs new patients. He is weary of the whole process of going to see a psychologist and is reluctant to open up and share his feelings for her. After he becomes more comfortable, he opens up and we learn about the problems he's been facing."

Achieving excellence in graduate and undergraduate education is among the goals of Southern@150, the blueprint for the development of the University by the time it celebrates its 150th anniversary in 2019.