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Second Summer Rep To Feature Four Diverse Plays

July 17, 2012
SHSU Media Contact: Kim Mathie

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The Sam Houston State University department of theatre and dance will present four productions in July as part of its Summer II Repertory Theatre, July 26 through Aug. 2.
SHSU’s adaptation of James McClure’s “PVT. Wars” will begin the series of presentations on July 26-27.

Directed by theatre production manager Bill Thomas, “PVT. Wars” showcases the story of three soldiers recovering from Vietnam War injuries that pass the time until returning home on the terrace of an Army hospital.

Comprising a series of brief blackout scenes, the play blends these into a meaningful mosaic as the three tease, torment, entertain, exasperate and, on occasion, solace each other—maintaining throughout a hilarity that belies their deep concern about the uncertainties of the civilian world.

“The piece is very timeless,” said Thomas. “For anyone who has served, trying to adapt back to civilian life is very difficult. The military world became the norm for them and now they have to find their way back to civilian life. It’s a ‘mind’ field they’re going through. I want audiences to understand that process.

“It’s a way of venting for me,” said Thomas, whose war experiences stay with him almost like background noise. “It’s hard for G.I.s to find their place back in the world and it’s important to understand that particularly as we now have so many men coming back from war.”

William Missouri Downs’s “Cockeyed” will follow on July 28-29. The play, directed by theatre costume shop manager April Keith, tells the story of an average Joe who sets out to win the heart of the woman he is madly in love with but seems to look right through him. He discovers that she, in fact, literally cannot even see him. What follows is a crisis of philosophical and humorous proportions.

“It’s definitely a romantic comedy,” said Keith. “It’s light-hearted and you can learn something new that you didn’t know before.”

“There’s a lot of physical humor as well,” she said. “Phil spends 24-hours living in Sophia’s apartment, and she cannot see him, so there are a lot of fun things that can be done in those situations and the actor’s can focus on developing their skills relying on themselves rather than set pieces.”

On July 30-31, Gaertner Performing Arts Center box office manager Calvin Hudson will direct the SHSU rendition of David Ives’s “Polish Joke,” a play that follows a young Polish-American on his journey through ethnic stereotypes.

“David Ives’ is all about comic timing, quick, witty remarks and snappy dialogue,” Hudson said. “He’s a lot more willing to push the envelope.”

The play follows the journey of Jasiu, a Polish-American who has been taught not to value his own roots. While there are numerous ethnic stereotypes in the play, however, Hudson believes they’re not intended to put Poles down.

“As a child, his uncle tells him if he wants to escape being Polish—his ethnic identity--then he has to become someone else,” said Hudson. “The play is his journey in trying to reinvent himself as an Irishman.

“But the play is about so much more than ethnic stereotypes; it’s more about your destiny, what you can choose and accept, free will versus fate and how to come to terms with it.”

Capping off the summer repertory theatre is Herb Gardner’s “I’m Not Rappaport” will end the summer repertory presentations Aug. 1-2.

“I’m Not Rappaport,” directed by senior theatre major Ryan Darcy, shares the story of Nat Moyer, a feisty Jew, and Midge Carter, a cantankerous African American, who spend their days sitting on a bench, masking the realities of aging and sharing tall tales that Nat spins.

The play touches on several issues, including society’s treatment of the aging, the difficulties dealing with adult children who think they know what's best for their parents, and the dangers that lurk in urban areas.

“It’s definitely a funny script, with some somber moments and a nice message,” said Darcy. “The characters were not what I expected, which I think is what I liked most about this play and what I think audiences will like, too.”

Summer repertory theatre is a long-standing tradition at SHSU, during which student directors take a bare-bone approach to theatre, utilizing minimal set and costumes.

All four presentations will begin at 8 p.m. in the University Theatre Center’s Showcase Theatre.

Tickets are $5 for general admission.

Parking is available behind the center and behind the University Theatre Center.

For more information, call the UTC Box Office at 936.294.1339 or contact theatre manager Katie Stefaniak at 936.294.3968.

 

 

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