Friday, August 30, 2013

The Rest of the Story (IWU Theatre 2013-14)

We've already discussed the McPherson Theatre selections coming up in the 2013-14 season from Illinois Wesleyan University's School of Theatre Arts. But what about the lab theatre choices? The E. Melba Johnson Kirkpatrick Laboratory Theatre houses some of IWU's most adventurous shows, plus it sometimes offers students the chance to direct, too.

This season, the School of Theatre Arts is pulling some surprising -- or at least unfamiliar -- shows out of the trunk for the Kirkpatrick space. Prepare to see new and different shows you've never seen before!

Treasure, a play about a political sex scandal in America's Revolutionary War era, will be directed by guest artist Michael Cotey, who also directed The Comedy of Errors for the Illinois Shakespeare Festival over the summer. Playwright Tim Slover won a pair of prizes for Treasure, which looks at Founding Father Alexander Hamilton and his conflicts between fidelity, desire, aspiration and honor. Hamilton's personal indiscretions resulted in blackmail and corruption, as the husband of the woman he was dallying with tried to make a buck off the new Secretary of the Treasury. Speculation, stealing from soldiers, cheating... How can you salvage a marriage or a political future when you're involved in something so sordid? The poster you see here comes from a 2008 University of Utah production of the play. IWU's Treasure will open October 31 and finish up November 2, 2013.

George F. Walker's Problem Child, directed by BFA Acting senior Kate Fitzgerald, is due to take the stage from March 3 to 5, 2014. It's part of Walker's 1997 six-play series set at the seedy Suburban Motel. In this comedy, lowlifes RJ and Denise are living in a nasty motel room while trying to clean up their acts enough to get their kid back. They are awaiting a visit from a social worker they hope will decide they can be parents again, but things have a way of going wrong when you're as desperate as Denise and reality-TV-addicted as RJ and Denise. They also have the small issue of a Drano-drinking maintenance man who just may pass out drunk on their floor. The image shown here came from a University of British Columbia production of two of the Suburban Motel plays. You can read more about Walker and that UBC version of Problem Child here.

You may remember actress Patricia Wettig from her time on TV's thirtysomething or, more recently, Brothers & Sisters, where she played the "other woman" Holly Harper. Aside from acting, Wettig has also dipped into playwriting. In fact, she earned an MFA in playwriting from Smith College before she began her acting career. Her 2010 play F2M examines issues of gender, class, identity and family, as a freshman college student named Lucy begins dating Parker, a transgender F2M (female-to-male) fellow student. Parker is the child of Hollywood celebrities, while Lucy hails from Ohio and her mom is a hairdresser. But both sets of parents are coming to town for Parents Weekend, which means some explaining of who's who and what's what is looming on the horizon. Adam Walleser, a senior in IWU's Music Theatre program, will direct F2M for performances at the EMJK Lab Theatre from May 22 to 2.

1 comment:

  1. Ah, Patricia Wettig. A major part of my TV memories. Besides the series you mention, there's her wonderfully nasty Vice President on "Prison Break" (and they teased us with hearing her voice many episodes before we saw her -- instantly recognizable of course). And for a truly forgotten series that gave her the central above-the-title role, how about her Judge Justine Parkes in "Courthouse"? With support from Annabeth Gish, Robin Givens, Brad Johnson, Bob Gunton, Michael Lerner, Cotter Smith, and Cree Summer?