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Marshall Theater Alliance announces 2013-14 season

Sep. 01, 2013 @ 12:28 AM

HUNTINGTON -- The Marshall Theater Alliance is gearing up for the 2013-14 season.

The Theater Alliance is planning four plays for the school year as well as the annual "aMused Dance Concert" in October and collaboration with the Lunar Stratagem entitled "Can You Forgive Her?" in December. "Can You Forgive Her?" is an original piece written and directed by nationally recognized director Mathew Earnest.

All performances will have a curtain time of 7:30 p.m. and guests will be invited for coffee and conversation in the Joan C. Edwards Performing Arts Center Lobby at 6:30 p.m.

From now until Sept. 30 there is an Early Bird Special available for $62 featuring tickets to all four shows, aMused, and "Can You Forgive Her." For faculty, staff and seniors the tickets are available for $52. For more information, contact the Marshall Theater box office at 304-696-2787.

The four plays for the season are "Anna in the Tropics" (Oct. 2-5), "Monster" (Nov. 13-16 and 21-33), "Dead Man's Cell Phone" (Feb. 19-22 and 27-March 1) and "The Taming of the Shrew" (April 23-26).

In February there will be the Birke Fine Arts Festival.

"Preparing for the season is a fairly lengthy process begun fairly early in the academic year," said Jack Cirillo, director of Theater at the College of Arts and Media. "Directors begin reading pieces that they think support the kind of teaching we do with our students. We want our students to be involved in a variety of different theater pieces. "We want them to work on plays of language. We want them to work on contemporary material but also have a sense of history. There is a long culling process where we narrow down which plays are practical and what we want to do. Typically we find one show we want to anchor the season around and everything kind of falls around it. Once the season is whittled down to some choices those choices are presented before the entire faculty and people get to vote their opinions before we finalize things in February. By March I begin working with someone to develop our promotional materials so everything is in place by the end of the school year. "

The first is "Anne in the Tropics" by Nilo Cruz.

"It's a Pulitzer Prize winning play that focuses on a Cuban American family in the 1920s who work in a cigar factory. One of the unique sidebars of the piece is that at that time the company hired a 'lector' who would read to the workers as they did their work," Cirillo said. "This factory worker chooses Tolstoy's novel 'Anna Karenina' as the novel to be read. The mirror of the Russian Revolution works the Cuban Revolution and there are a lot of parallels of the two."

The Theater Alliance will return to the Francis-Booth Experimental Theater in November with "Monster" by Neal Bell. The play is a new theatrical adaptation of Mary Shelley's "Frankenstein."

"I'm very excited about this new adaptation," Cirillo said. "It's very theatrical in the sense that it's a true theater piece and true theater storytelling experience. It is a very exciting piece of drama that very closely resonates with the original novel. You won't be seeing a guy in platform shoes with green makeup on his face. The great thing about the Francis Booth Experimental theater is that you're really up close and personal. There isn't a bad seat in the house."

The first play of the spring semester is in February with "Dead Man's Cell Phone" by Sarah Rhul.

"Dead Man's Cell Phone is a contemporary 'comedy,'" Cirillo said. "I say that in quotes because there's a great deal of drama involved as well. It's about a woman in a New York diner who discovers a ringing cell phone belonging to a dead man. She for better or for worse answers the phone and everything that happens is a direct result of that. What it explores is our infatuation and commitment with communication through electronic means. It's a very interesting piece we will present in part with the Birke Fine Arts festival, a multi-disciplined event that involves music, art, and our English program."

Finally the play year will wind down with a modern production of Shakespeare's "The Taming of the Shrew" in April.

"While 'The Taming of the Shrew' is a considered a classic Shakespearian comedy, it's also a difficult comedy to do because Shakespeare wrote in the late 1500s early 1600s. The roles that men and women played then were a bit different then than they are today. Just to challenge us further we are trying to adapt the play to a more modern era. It's a very contemporary telling of how Petrucio and Kate find love and commitment through adversity."

For more information on auditions and how to volunteer to be involved in the theater, contact Cirillo at 304-696-2511. The Marshall Theater Alliance can be visited online at http://muwww-new.marshall.edu/music/marshall-university-theatre-alliance/ .

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