The Department of Theatre and Dance at Gustavus Adolphus College is pleased to begin the 2009-10 Anderson Theatre season with a short compilation of three spell-binding plays: Caryl Churchill’s Far Away and Seven Jewish Children, and Deb Margolin’s Seven Palestinian Children. Directed by Amy Seham, performances will be held October 30 and 31 and November 5 and 6 at 8:00 p.m., with matinee performances on November 1 and 7 at 2:00 p.m.
Far Away is a comical, bizarre, and lively play with an intriguingly serious undertone. Andrea Gullixson, Shane Jensen, Kelly Nelson, and Sally Morrow, daughter of Gustavus Professor Terry Morrow, star in this dystopic fairy tale full of dark humor and stunning images. Churchill uses a child’s nightmare, an office romance, and a parade of designer hats to challenge us to look more closely at our own actions. With spectacular costumes and witty dialogue, Far Away is a play that abstractly helps the audience to recognize the links between our culture and poverty around the world and to realize that being complacent to oppression will not always be an option.
Seven Jewish Children was written by Churchill in response to the Israeli incursions into Gaza in 2008-2009. In seven scenes, adult characters urgently discuss how to teach Jewish children (who are never seen on stage) about important events and violence in Jewish history. Since it opened at London’s Royal Court in January 2009, this 10-minute play has been so controversial that many other plays have since been written in response. One of these is Seven Palestinian Children. Written by respected American playwright Deb Margolin in a similar format, this play gives a fascinating account from a different perspective in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Gustavus’ Social Justice Theatre class will be performing in Seven Jewish Children with faculty members Mary Gaebler and Laurent Dechery, while Seven Palestinian Children will be performed by seven female Gustavus students. Because of the provocative nature of the plays, talk-back sessions will be held after every performance with the director and cast, led by members of the Curriculum II Theatre Arts course in Dramaturgy.
Far Away, Seven Jewish Children, and Seven Palestinian Children highlight student designers Kristen Mead, lighting design, and Lydia Francis, scenic design, who are both presenting their first full design for the department. Costume design for the production was created by Andrea Gross, and sound design by Terena Wilkens.
Tickets are available through the Gustavus Ticket Center at (507) 933-7590. Adult tickets $7.00, student and senior citizen tickets $5.00, Gustavus students and staff free of charge. Tickets not purchased in advance may be purchased at the Anderson Theatre Box Office beginning one hour prior to curtain. **NOTE: Ticket prices refer to Far Away only. In accordance with requirements set by playwrights Churchill and Margolin, admission to their plays is FREE. These plays will begin after a break approximately one hour after Far Away begins. Donations are requested to Medical Aid for Palestinians and to the One Israel Fund.