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August 5, 2002

Theater Emory announces 20th season

By Deb Hammacher

Theater Emory (TE) embarks upon its 20th season with a repertoire that reflects its role as a professional theater company affiliated with a research university. It is a season dedicated to cutting- edge work, the development of new plays and the beginning a research cycle into the writings of Anton Chekov.

According to TE’s mission statement, it functions in the best tradition of a research university—posing questions, challenging assumptions, and examining values in search of lasting truths: “A theater company cannot find its voice solely by following preexisting models. We investigate questions about the form and content of our work. We produce theater that evokes ideas that challenge ourselves and our society,” wrote Vincent Murphy, artistic producing director.

Nowhere is that more evident than in the 2002–03 season, with highlights including a production of Arthur Kopit’s work-in-progress, Discovery of America; the biennial Brave New Works marathon; the presentation of Room by SITI Company (the Saratoga International Theater Institute); and Three Sisters, a production that launches an investigation cycle on classic Russian playwright Anton Chekov.

Murphy has been instrumental for more than a year in the development of Discovery by the two-time Tony Award nominee Kopit. The work was commissioned by the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympic Arts Festival and the Pioneer Theatre Company; Murphy directed the first reading in February 2001 at the Pioneer, and most recently worked with Kopit on the play at the Ojai Playwrights Festival last month. Discovery is based on the published recollections of 16th century Spanish explorer Cabeza de Vaca’s travels in the Americas.

Homegrown talent also will be showcased this season. The Science Plays readings Sept. 20 (part one of Brave New Works) will present new plays about two scientists who helped explain the birth and shape of the universe, written by College junior Lauren Gunderson and Candler Professor of Physics Sidney Perkowitz. A reading also will be done of Manna, a new work by frequent Theater Emory collaborator Steve Murray, in preparation for its full production at Actors’ Express this spring.

Theater Emory also will be part of celebrations surrounding the opening of the Donna and Marvin Schwartz Center for Performing Arts in February. Murphy serves as artistic director of “Inter-play,” the dedication ceremony and the kickoff to a four-month inaugural festival that showcases Emory dance, music and theater performers. “Inter-play” will be held Feb. 1 in the newly named Cherry Logan Emerson Concert Hall of the Schwartz Center.

Brave New Works intensifies in February to inaugurate the new Theater Lab in the Schwartz Center. From Feb. 6–22, an international ensemble of actors and directors playwrights will explore new work and offer two or three public readings each week.

Next, a special David Goldwasser Symposium in Religion and the Arts will take place March 30. To celebrate the Schwartz Center opening, the long-time Goldwasser Lecture-ship is being expanded to a symposium featuring three internationally respected performing arts professionals: Bill Jones, dancer and choreographer; Anne Bogart, director of the SITI Company; and Pauline Oliveros, contemporary composer.

The season rounds out with the April production of Chekov’s masterpiece, Three Sisters, directed by theater studies Associate Professor Tim McDonough. The research cycle on Chekov will begin with a course taught by McDonough and Associate Professor Alice Benston this fall.

Faculty and staff interested in participating in the theater season are encouraged to attend the general meeting for theater at Emory at 5 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 29 in the Mary Gray Munroe Theater. Faculty and staff have performed in and worked on Theater Emory productions in the past, and those interested are invited to hear about theater opportunities at Emory.

For more information on the season or for tickets, call the Arts at Emory box office
at 404-727-5050, or go to Tickets go on sale Aug. 19, with the exception of Room, on sale now as part of the Candler Series.