Lehigh University – Department of Theatre Production Season 2014-2015

The Lehigh University Department of Theatre announces their main stage Productions for the next season; 2014-2015. We gladly post this announcement on this blog to support inter-disciplinary considerations to course work and research in the next academic year. For any questions about the department, please contact Professor Hoelsher. For questions about the individual plays, please contact the directors listed below. All emails are embedded on top of their names.

Celebrating Transformation

Note from Department Chairperson, Erica Hoelscher.

Soon, Lehigh University will celebrate 150 years of higher education. At the heart of higher learning is the process of transformation—a hallmark of Lehigh’s contribution to the world since the 19th Century. Education transforms our hearts and minds. It transforms the way we live in the world with each other and with the things we make.

Over the decades Lehigh has transformed repeatedly and will continue to do so. What will this and the coming generations demand of Lehigh? How will we help create the inevitable transformations needed to make Lehigh culturally and academically its very best?

In our 2014-2015 season of plays, we celebrate transformation with the theme of “Raising Voices.”

• We hear the voice of a shy girl with a precocious interest in science and the universe in The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-In-The-Moon Marigolds,
• The voice of a generation of young people struggling with otherness and acceptance in Kind Ness,
• The voice of the charm and quirkiness of rural America in Minnesota,
• The voice of a Southern town and its people struggling with race hatred and violence in every tongue confess,
• And we raise our collective voice to denounce those who fail to act—like those responsible in Romeo and Juliet’s Verona… 

by Paul Zindel
Performance Dates: September 26, 27, 28, October 1, 2, 3, 4

Tillie, unlike her sister Ruth, is shy, young, and brilliant. Her passion for a high-school science project is rejected by a mother who says, “…some people were born to speak and others just to listen.” Can her dysfunctional family stifle Tillie’s voice? Is she destined to become her mother, or will she, like the sometimes beautiful mutant flowers she cultivates, blossom and surprise?

Marigolds won the Pulitzer Prize, the Obie Award and the New York Drama Critics Circle Award as Best American Play in 1971. One of Off-Broadway’s greatest successes, this powerful and moving study of an embittered, vindictive widow and her two young daughters has been hailed as one of the most significant and affecting plays of our time. “Let’s start with a single, simple word. Power…I don’t know of a better (play) of its genre since The Glass Menagerie…” —NY Post. 

by Ping Chong
Directed by Pam Pepper

Performance Dates: November 7, 8, 9, 12, 13, 14, 15

In this coming of age comedy, six characters make their way from elementary school in the 1950s through college and beyond. With a Vaudevillian flair, projections, music and movement, Kind Ness ingenuously – and ingeniously – explores what it means to be an outsider. Recipient of the 1988 USA Playwrights Award, Kind Ness provokes and amuses while evoking themes of harmony and discord, likeness and dissimilarity and ultimately, racism and bias.

 and a companion piece

by George Sand
Directed by Pam Pepper

Performance Dates: November 7, 8, 9, 12, 13, 14, 15

A charming evocation of rural farm life, with one actor, a musician and cut-out animals – taking place on a kitchen table. This delightful and quirky companion piece to Kind Ness, takes us on a journey through a particular sort of American dream: “It’s a great inland sea with waves of grain and vegetables. It’s a place where farmers raise cows, pigs, sheep, chickens, and kids…lots of kids.” ~~the Narrator in Minnesota

every tongue confess
by marcus gardley
Directed by Darius Omar Williams

February 20, 21, 22, 25, 26, 27, 28

every tongue confess is a historical narrative centered around a series of church burnings in the backwater town of Boligee, Alabama. Healer and sage Mother Sister and her son Shadrack are at the center of Gardley’s non-linear mythical story which weaves together three seemingly disparate tales. In this Greek inspired memory play with music, African American folk religion is ritualized. Gardley’s fiery theatrical offering is “Part magic realism, part miracle play, part parable…a sort of epic theatre-poem exploring sin, loss, and redemption.”—Washingtonian

With a critically acclaimed premiere at the Arena Stage, every tongue confess received nominations for the Steinberg New Play Award, the Charles MacArthur Award, and was a recipient of an Edgerton Foundation New Play Award.

by William Shakespeare
Directed by Augustine Ripa

Performance Dates April 10, 11, 12, 15, 16, 17, 18

When we do not Raise our Voices to reject hatred, what can be expected? When a toxic situation isn’t exposed and expelled, what is the hope? For generations, many have seen Romeo and Juliet as unfortunate, “star-crossed lovers.” True enough, of course. But let’s remember they are, in fact, children and represent two of the five young people who lose their lives senselessly in a world where the grown-ups have allowed intolerance to fester lethally. Let us all enjoy the language and beauty of this immortal classic, and let us also think critically on the circumstances that allow this tragedy to unfold. Then, let us raise our voices against hatred in time to avoid heartbreak.