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Press Release

Contact: Joelle Park
412-268-5765

For immediate release:
April 18, 2002

Carnegie Mellon's School of Drama Announces 2002-03 Season

PITTSBURGH—Elizabeth Bradley, head of Carnegie Mellon University's School of Drama today announced the 2002-2003 season in the Purnell Center for the Arts. Performances take place in the Philip Chosky Theatre and the Helen Wayne Rauh Studio Theatre.

"This season the plays and musicals reflect a heightened curiosity about the world, and the way in which humanity-individually and collectively-meets the challenge of a continuing, unstable external environment. Proposals for the season were solicited from both students and faculty in the school, and the works taken together reflect a desire to probe the role of the artist in illuminating our immediate contemporary reality," commented Bradley.

Carnegie Mellon School of Drama 2002 - 2003 Season Schedule

"PENTECOST"
October 17-19 and October 22-26, 2002

"THE GAME OF LOVE AND CHANCE"
November 21-23 and December 3-7, 2002

"KISS OF THE SPIDER WOMAN"
December 3-7, 2002

"THE SKIN OF OUR TEETH"
February 27-March 1 and March 4-8, 2003

"LETTERS FROM NAM"
April 17-19 and April 22-26, 2003

"PENTECOST," by acclaimed British playwright David Edgar ("Nicholas Nickleby") opens the season in the Philip Chosky Theatre. This play began as a collaborative production between the Royal Shakespeare Company and the Young Vic, and was first produced in Stratford, England in 1994. It is set in an unnamed Eastern European country and concerns the discovery of a major art treasure. As the significance of the discovery is explored through various perspectives, Edgar shows us that meaning and our comprehension of "truth" is very much a function of context and culture. Part mystery story, part political puzzle, "Pentecost" allows us to "shift the paradigm" and see beyond our borders. This production will be directed by Mladen Kiselov, a faculty member of the School of Drama, recently returned from directing for A Contemporary Theatre in Seattle.

Winner of seven Tony Awards, "KISS OF THE SPIDER WOMAN," by Manuel Puig, book by Terence McNally, music by Kander and Ebb, is a musical that celebrates our ability to remain human and find joy and redemption even in circumstances of extreme deprivation. "Spider Woman" examines, through sophisticated music and ideas, the interaction of class tension, sexual orientation and political conviction.

Based on the novel by Manuel Puig, also adapted as an Academy Award winning film, "Kiss of the Spider Woman" will be offered as a bonus studio performance to Carnegie Mellon School of Drama season subscribers. Performances of this production will be ticketed, but there will be no admission charge, and season subscribers have first priority to reserve tickets. The impact of a small-scale "black box" production of this work of powerful themes and images will be compelling.

"THE GAME OF LOVE AND CHANCE" by Pierre Carlet de Chamb Marivaux, is a rollicking tale of 18th century love and identity. In a high-style comedy based in the conventions of commedia dell'arte, Marivaux ponders how we can truly know ourselves and those whom we profess to love. Written in 1730, Marivaux is considered one of the first writers to use purely psychological comedy. His work in various translations has recently enjoyed renewed interest, as demonstrated by major productions in both London and New York. The Carnegie Mellon production will use a new translation by guest director John Van Burek who has specialized over the past five years in translating Marivaux's work. Also well known as translator of the work of Michel Tremblay, Van Burek is a Francophone who, as Artistic Director of Theatre Francais, established a strong reputation as a director of French repertoire in both English and French. He is currently working on a professional production of another Marivaux piece in Toronto, Canada.

Thornton Wilder's Pulitzer Prize winning classic comedy "THE SKIN OF OUR TEETH," directed by Professor of Drama Gregory Lehane, finds the prototypical Antrobus family facing an Ice Age, then a great flood, then a devastating war. On another level, the play itself is in danger-from a character who talks out of turn and an outbreak of food poisoning back stage. "Nevertheless humanity survives, and the play does even better-it thrives, nearly 50 years after it was written," noted the Los Angeles Times. "The Skin of Our Teeth" stretched the bounds of theatrical convention when it premiered in 1942, and continues to resonate today.

"LETTERS FROM NAM," composed by Paris Barclay, is new musical based on "Dear America," a collection of actual letters written by soldiers while serving in the Vietnam War. This piece was first professionally produced last fall at the North Shore Music Theatre in Massachusetts, following a high- profile workshop at the Kennedy Center. Strong reviews have heightened ongoing professional interest in the piece, which continues its development process. Most recently, a cast of students in their junior year participated in a weeklong workshop as part of the School of Drama's ongoing partnership in new musical development with the Pittsburgh Civic Light Opera. The production here next spring will be an opportunity for the graduating class of music theatre majors to work on an important new script.

"I am very much looking forward to returning to Carnegie Mellon and seeing their extremely talented students bring this piece to life," said composer Barclay, an Emmy Award winning television director of prime time shows including "The West Wing." "It is especially gratifying to see performers who are so close in age to the actual letter writers take on this work. Much of the subject matter is new to today's college students, but the voices of Viet Nam need to be heard." Newly appointed to the lead the School of Drama last fall, Bradley is a seasoned producer and arts leader. Prior to joining the School of Drama, she was the CEO and general manager of Canada's largest theatre, the Hummingbird Centre for the Performing Arts.

The School of Drama also announces an earlier curtain time, 7:30 p.m., for all weekday performances in the Philip Chosky Theatre.

For additional information about the upcoming season or ticket purchases, please contact the School of Drama box office at 412-268-2407, Monday-Friday, Noon to 5 p.m.

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