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Feb. 16: Carnegie Mellon's School of Drama Announces 2007–08 Season


Eric Sloss

Carnegie Mellon's School of Drama Announces 2007–08 Season

Performances Begin With Anton Chekhov's Classic, "The Three Sisters"

PITTSBURGH—Elizabeth Bradley, head of Carnegie Mellon University's School of Drama, has announced the stage productions for the 2007–08 drama season, which will address the struggle of individual will within a hostile society. Performances will take place in the Purnell Center for the Arts' Philip Chosky Theater, Helen Wayne Rauh Studio Theater and the John Wells Video Studio, as well as various locations around the Carnegie Mellon campus and the city of Pittsburgh.     

"We're proud that the 2007–08 season at the School of Drama continues to explore varied theater forms and conventions, and, through the touring Commedia Project, pioneers a new relationship with the broader Pittsburgh community," Bradley said.     

The 2007–08 season includes Anton Chekhov's "The Three Sisters," directed by Vladimir Mirodan; "Guys and Dolls," created by Jo Swerling, Abe Burrows and Frank Loesser; "Ghosts," written by Henrik Ibsen and translated by Brian Johnston; "The Piano Lesson," written by August Wilson; and "Don Carlos," written by Friedrich Schiller.     

School of Drama students will also have the opportunity to display their skill in the physical comic acting style demanded by the Italian theater practice of Commedia Dell 'Arte. A touring Commedia wagon, designed and built by production students in the School of Drama, will recreate a venue for this wonderful theater form. The students will perform adaptations of Carlo Goldoni's "Servant of Two Masters" and Moliere's "Scapino" April 11–26 at selected outdoor sites around the city. The final schedule of performances and locations for the Commedia Project will be announced at a later date.

All other performances will take place at 7:30 p.m., Wednesday and Thursday; 4 and 8 p.m., Friday; and 2 and 8 p.m., Saturday. (More information about each production is listed below.)

The School of Drama is one of the nation's most distinguished degree-granting theater programs and is one of five schools within Carnegie Mellon's College of Fine Arts, a community of nationally and internationally recognized artists and professionals organized into architecture, art, design, drama, music, and their associated centers and programs.

For additional information about the upcoming season or ticket purchases, contact the School of Drama box office at 412-268-2407 between noon and 5 p.m., Monday–Friday. For more information on the School of Drama or the College of Fine Arts, visit or contact Eric Sloss at 412-268-5765 or


About the Performances

"The Three Sisters" directed by Vladimir Mirodan
Opening: Oct. 5; Closing: Oct. 13, Philip Chosky Theater
The season opens with Anton Chekhov's classic "The Three Sisters." Considered one of Chekhov's most moving and subtle dramas, "The Three Sisters" masterfully blends tragedy with moments of profound humor and a sense of the beauty of everyday life. The play itself was part of a revolution in acting styles and set the groundwork for the dominance of realism in the 20th century. Carnegie Mellon welcomes noted Chekhov director Vladimir Mirodan, head of London's famed Drama Centre and a regular director at the Royal National Theatre.

"Guys and Dolls"
Opening: Nov. 29; Closing: Dec. 8, Philip Chosky Theater
The second production at Carnegie Mellon will be "Guys and Dolls," the American musical theatre masterpiece created by Jo Swerling, Abe Burrows and Frank Loesser. "Guys and Dolls" is a good-natured frolic about authentic American characters immortalized in the fiction of Damon Runyan. Nathan Detroit runs an illegal floating crap game, but his girlfriend, Adelaide, would prefer him to marry her after a 14-year engagement. When a group of "high-rollers" comes to town, Detroit gets in deep while his partner, Sky Masterson, gambles that he can seduce Sarah, a Salvation Army missionary. When everyone falls in love, things get really complicated!

Opening: Dec. 5; Closing: Dec. 8, Philip Chosky Theater
The School of Drama marks the 100th anniversary of playwright Ibsen's death and also honors the career of Brian Johnston by presenting his internationally acclaimed translation of Ibsen's "Ghosts." Johnston, a School of Drama professor emeritus, is one of the world's foremost Ibsen scholars. His translation of this classic play warns of the consequences of denial, hatred, ignorance and fear in a compassionless society.

"The Piano Lesson"
Opening: Feb. 22; Closing: Mar. 1, Philip Chosky Theater
The tragic loss of Pittsburgh's master playwright August Wilson triggered a long-overdue renaissance of his work. "The Piano Lesson" is part of Wilson's epic 10-play cycle on African-American history. Set in Depression-era Pittsburgh, the story documents two siblings' struggle over a piano crafted by their enslaved grandfather. As the brothers negotiate their status, they become emblematic of African-Americans' struggles to negotiate their turbulent history and the ghosts — both figurative and literal — that haunt the piano.

"Don Carlos"
Opening: April 23; Closing: April 26, Philip Chosky Theater
Friedrich Schiller's masterwork of German Romanticism, "Don Carlos," combines royal family intrigue with a deep reflection on political oppression. Carlos is the son of Phillip II and heir to the Spanish throne. Yet a passionate love for his own stepmother, Queen Elizabeth, may prove to be the young man's ruin. The Queen directs Don Carlos' passion against his father's tyrannical regime, and the resulting secrets, paranoia and desire for love and power threaten to consume the whole court. Schiller wrote, "Don Carlos has the soul of Hamlet ... and my own pulse."

Commedia Dell 'Arte
April 11–26 at various locations around Pittsburgh. Times and specific locations to be announced.
The School of Drama's marvelous clowns will appear on their "Pageante Waggon," a unique mobile stage, at selected outdoor sites around the city. Carnegie Mellon students will perform free-to-the-public adaptations of Carlo Goldoni's "Servant of Two Masters" and Moliere's "Scapino." These fast-paced comedies of knaves and scoundrels will engage audiences of all ages as students fight with words, swords and food. See the dead come back to life and witness the single-most hilarious lunch date of all time!

In addition to its annual "Playground: A Festival of Independent Student Work" and "New Works Festival," the School of Drama will offer free performances of the following plays written or directed by students,

  • "The Boys Next Door," by Tom Griffin, Nov. 7–9;
  • "Golden Boy," by Clifford Odet, Nov. 7–9;
  • "The Stranger," by Craig Lucas, Feb. 6–8;
  • "Accidental Death of an Anarchist," by Dario Fo, March 26–28.