LU Dept. of Theatre 2012-13 Mainstage Season – resources

Part of Arts@Lehigh’s mission is to support arts integration in higher education. While we have developed many activities that support a vision for a “creative campus” over seven years at Lehigh University, the core of our work is to help faculty and students discover academic connections to the many works of art happening on campus and in the local community. We believe that art is not meant for private consumption, but to ignite public discourse. Lehigh University’s Department of Theatre has selected a season of challenging works for all to discover more about the world around them, and perhaps, a little bit more about themselves.

This post contains links to a few available online resources for students and faculty to dig in a little deeper to themes, relevant academic content, and issues that could be discussed from multiple academic perspectives reflected in the art work. Our work here is curatorial; intended to assist the audience to dig a little deeper into the plays before they consider attending, or to offer further consideration for academic discourse.

Oleanna – by David Mamet

Directed by Gus Ripa

Performances run Friday, September 28th through Friday, October 5, 2012

Plot Summary: Oleanna, a powerful two-character drama, explores the destructiveness of miscommunication and excessive political correctness. It is a play about academic politics, student/teacher relationships, and sexual harassment.

Collection of Study Guides for educators. Also, a summary and analysis by acts.

NYTimes Review: October 12, 2009 Broadway performance.

The Crucible – by Arthur Miller

Directed by Kashi Johnson

Performances run Friday, November 9th through Sunday, November  11, 2012

Plot Summary: The Crucible is a fictional retelling of events in American history surrounding the Salem Witch Trials of the seventeenth century. Yet, is as much a product of the time in which Arthur Miller wrote it – the early 1950s – as it is description of Puritan society.

Collection of Study Guides for educators. Also, themes, motifs and symbols.

Urinetown (Musical) – Music & Lyrics by Mark Hollman,. Book & Lyrics by Greg Kotis

Directed by Pam Pepper, Music Direction by Bill Whitney

Performances run Friday, February 22nd through Sunday, February 17, 2013

Plot summary: The scene is a city in a parallel universe in the mid 1900’s in which the majority of the citizens’ dreary low-class existence is compounded by a water shortage, which has lead to the institution of pay-per-use public bathrooms and the jailing of unsanitary offenders. Urine Good Company is the Evil Corporation that runs these bathrooms, and the CEO, Caldwell B. Cladwell’s daughter, Hope, falls in love with Bobby Strong, the leader of the long overdue revolution. Chaos ensues.

Study Guide from West Virginia University. More resources. NYTimes Review, September 21, 2001: How Reality Effects a Play.

The Laramie Project – by Moisés Kaufman & Tectonic Theater Project members

Directed by Andrew Chupa, ‘13

Performances run Friday, April 5th though Sunday, April 7, 2013

Plot Summary: On October 6, a gay college student named Matthew Shepard met two men at the Fireside Bar in Laramie, Wyoming. Eighteen hours later, a cyclist found Shepard unconscious, brutally beaten, tied up and left for dead on a fence off a rural road. Matthew Shepard never regained consciousness, and died five days later. Two Laramie residents, Russell Henderson, (aged 20), and Aaron McKinney, (aged 21), were apprehended for the crime, which became front-page news around the country.  Henderson and McKinney were both convicted of felony murder and sentenced to two consecutive life sentences.

Moises Kaufman and members of the Tectonic Theater Project arrived in Laramie from New York City to interview the residents of the town shortly after Matthew Shepard’s death and returned for more interviews six times over a period of 18 months. From these interviews Kaufman wrote The Laramie Project a play that explores the reactions of Laramie residents to the murder and the subsequent events surrounding it.

Study Guide. More resources. Chicago Theatre review: March 5, 2012 – The Laramie Project, 10 years later.

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