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Conspiracy Theories Set Stage In ‘Yankee Tavern’

Oct. 27, 2014
SHSU Media Contact: Emily Binetti

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cast dress rehearsal
The cast of "Yankee Tavern" rehearse in full costume for its opening on Friday. —Submitted photo

The Sam Houston State University Department of Theatre and Musical Theatre will Steven Dietz’s drama “Yankee Tavern,” opening Wednesday (Oct. 29) in the University Theatre Center’s Showcase Theatre.

The production will run each evening at 8 p.m. through Saturday (Nov. 1).

Yankee Tavern is set just a few blocks from what has become Ground Zero, the site of the World Trade Center and the infamous attack of 9/11, where inside the walls of the crumbling tavern, a young couple finds themselves caught up in what might be the biggest conspiracy of all.

“Yankee Tavern” tells the story of tavern owner Adam (played by Brandon Whitley), his fiancé Janet (Katie Porterfield) and two barflies, Ray (Andrew Carson)—a conspiracy buff with theories about everything from marriage to communism—and the mysterious Palmer (Stephan Harris)—who seems to know more than he should about the events that forever changed the landscape of our country.

cast posing for photo
The cast includes (front row, from front) Katie Porterfield, director Katie Stefaniak, Stephan Harris, (back row) Brandon Whitley, and Andrew Carson.

The play is a fierce, funny and, ultimately, mind-bending work that explores terrorism, government accountability and major tragedy, while seeking to raise questions about the “official” explanation of events surrounding the 9/11 attacks.

Yet, the heart of the story is four people trying to deal with loss in the best way they can, according to play director Katie Stefaniak.

“At its core, the play is about human emotion and how relationships are altered when facing tragic events,” she said director. “I love a good mystery that makes you question things or ask why, and I hope the show will be an eye-opening experience for the audience.”

With more than 30 plays under his belt, Dietz, an acclaimed contemporary playwright, has seen his work performed in regional theaters all over the country and the world.

He specializes in tense psychological dramas with political and social themes. Dietz divides his time between Seattle and Austin where he teaches playwriting and directing at the University of Texas at Austin.

“Yankee Tavern” was first performed at the ACT Theatre in Seattle in 2007.

Tickets are $10 and can be purchased by phone at 936.294.1339.




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