March 17, 2005

Showcase for young playwrights set at McLeod

by Paula Davenport

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- The McLeod Theater series will premier new, short plays during its annual two-weekend festival, "Journeys: Alpha and Omega," a showcase for young playwrights at Southern Illinois University Carbondale.

Each weekend's performances will unfold in the Christian H. Moe Laboratory Theatre in the Communications Building and will spotlight three new plays. Admission is $5.

The curtain on the first or "Alpha" bill will go up at 7:30 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, March 31-April 2. Theatergoers will see:

  • "Joe Conlin's Problem" by Neil Ryan Shaw, a junior in theater; "Johnny and Lee" by Keith Gatchel, a senior in theater; and "A Gift for Simple Melody" by playwriting doctoral candidate John Ray Sheline.

The final or "Omega" bill is set for 7:30 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, April 7-9. That group will feature the plays:

  • "A Standard Soul" by Thomas Michael Campbell, a graduate teaching assistant in theater; "Other Side of the Door" by Vaidehi Chitre, a graduate teaching assistant in cinema and photography; and "Powdered Eggs" by Michael A Rose, a master's student in playwriting.

The "Journeys" series enables young playwrights to see their works live on stage and in front of audiences. And it gives playwrights opportunities to work with directors and actors in a collaborative workshop- style setting, which helps young writers understand the aspects of their plays that work the best and those that need revision.

Tickets are available by phone at 618/453-3001 or at the box office an hour before the performances.

Leading in research, scholarly and creative activities are among the goals of Southern at 150: Building Excellence Through Commitment, the blueprint for the development of the University by the time it celebrates its 150th anniversary in 2019.