Tuesday, August 15, 2017

At ISU, Shue's FOREIGNER Is Out and Shepard's LIE OF THE MIND Is In

The School of Theatre and Dance at Illinois State University has announced a change in their schedule for the upcoming 2017-18 season.

Due to "the horrific events taking place in Charlottesville, VA this past weekend," the SOTD will be removing the previously planned production of The Foreigner by Larry Shue and replacing it with A Lie of the Mind by Sam Shepard.

The Foreigner is a much-performed comedy about a sweet man visiting a rural cabin in Georgia who pretends not to speak English so he won't have to talk to people, but his new "foreigner" status causes all kinds of problems. The Foreigner may be hilarious, but it involves Klansmen, including hoods and weapons, and it is understandable that that sort of thing doesn't seem all that funny at the moment.

A Lie of the Mind is altogether different, about toxic masculinity and domestic abuse, as the play examines what happens to the families involved after a man beats his wife to the point of brain damage. The statement from the School of Theatre and Dance notes that the selection of a Shepard play honors "the recent passing of this award winning playwright."

If A Lie of the Mind occupies the same space as The Foreigner, it will play in the ISU Center for the Performing Arts from September 27 to October 1 and will be directed by Lori Adams.

Other shows on the SOTD agenda for 2017 include She Kills Monsters, a 2011 play by Qui Nguyen involving Dungeons and Dragons, directed by Paul Dennhardt for the CPA in performance from October 27 to November 4; two classics -- Sophocles' Oedipus directed by Kristen Schoenback and Shakespeare's All's Well That Ends Well directed by Enrico Spada -- in repertory in Westhoff Theatre between October 13 and 28, and the Fall Dance Concert under artistic director Sara Semonis for the CPA November 30 to December 2.

Things are a bit less clear-cut in the spring, although there is information that directing MFA candidate Schoenback will be back at the helm for Anne Washburn's dystopic fantasy Mr. Burns, a Post-Electric Play in Westhoff from February 16 to 24, 2018, while her colleague Spada will direct The Illusion, presumably playwright Tony Kushner's adaptation of Pierre Corneille's 17th century comedy, in Westhoff  March 30 to April 7, 2018. After that, the Mozart opera Cosi Fan Tutte will play the CPA from March 2 to 9 under a director to be named later and a show to be named later will be directed by John Tovar for the CPA from April 13 to 21.

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