Wednesday, October 22, 2008

UIS Theatre Program opens season with "Cloud 9"

The Theatre Program at the University of Illinois at Springfield will open its 2008-2009 season with the British play Cloud 9 by Caryl Churchill. Six performances will be presented in the Studio Theatre, lower level of the Public Affairs Center at UIS -- on Friday, Saturday, Sunday, November 7, 8, and 9, and Thursday, Friday, Saturday, November 13, 14, and 15. All shows will begin at 8 p.m. except the Sunday performance (November 9), which will begin at 2 p.m.

Described by the New York Times as "intelligent, inventive, and funny," Cloud 9 explores the politics of sexuality and sexual identity. Using cross-gender casting and role-doubling, Churchill creates a stinging and satirical look at the relationships between the sexually repressed Victorian era and the sexually liberated late 20th century. Act 1 takes place in British Colonial Africa in 1880, where the characters secretly attempt to resist the constraints of Victorianism. Act 2 takes place in London 100 years later – although the characters have aged only 25 years – and everyone has thrown off their 19th century restraint. (Note: This production is intended for mature audiences and is not suitable for children.)

Act 1 characters include Clive, a government official; his wife, Betty; their daughter, Victoria; Clive's friend Harry, an explorer; Mrs. Saunders, a "new" woman, challenging the Victorian ideals; Clive's son, Edward, who still plays with dolls; and Joshua, a servant. By Act 2, some of the same characters return, having aged only 25 years, and they are affected by their encounters with new characters -- Gerry, Lin, Cathy, and Martin. Various roles are cross-gender cast, and almost all of the actors play one role in Act 1, and a different role in Act 2.

The cast is: Troy Thomas-Pfaffe (Clive/Martin); *Dwight Langford (Betty/Gerry); *Leif Mogren (Joshua/Edward); *Colleen Kabbes (Edward/Betty); Mary Myers (Maud); *Ashley Warren (Ellen/Victoria); *Cassie Oswald (Mrs. Saunders/Lin); and *Roger Boyd (Harry Bagley/ Cathy/Soldier). * denotes a UIS student

UIS Assistant Professor of Theatre Missy Thibodeaux-Thompson will direct.

The performances on November 8 and November 13 are also presented as part of UIS' ECCE Speaker Series -- events that aim to exemplify engaged citizenship as part of the university’s effort to foster appreciation for and practice of diversity and the active effort to make a difference in the world. These performances will include post-show discussions with the cast, director, and dramaturg.

Tickets – $12 general adult; $10 senior citizen, 55+ with photo ID; $8 UIS faculty/staff with current i-card; $6 all students with current school ID – are available now at the UIS Ticket Office, located on level two of the Public Affairs Center. Purchase tickets in person, by phone at 217/206-6160 or 800/207-6960 between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, or online at Tickets will also be available at the ticket office on the day of the performance, beginning 90 minutes before curtain time.

The spring production will be Shakespeare's comedy As You Like It, directed by UIS Director of Theatre Eric Thibodeaux-Thompson. Production dates are April 17-19 and 23-25.

For more information about the plays, or about UIS' Theatre program.

For information about the ECCE Speakers Series, contact series coordinator Kimberly Craig at 206-6245.