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A play about identity and modern immigration opens at University Theatre

Monday, March 27, 2017

LAWRENCE — “Anon(ymous)” is a contemporary retelling of “The Odyssey” and centered around immigration. It is a story about family, identity, and ultimately, how the journey is often just as important as the destination.

Performances are at 7:30 p.m. March 31 and April 1, 4, 5 and 6, with a 2:30 p.m. show April 2 in the William Inge Memorial Theatre at Murphy Hall. Performances March 31 and April 1-2 will feature talk-backs immediately following the performance.

“The playwright, Naomi Iizuka, uses this tale to remind us that we all immigrants,” said Jason Bohon, director and visiting assistant theatre professor. “It is an incredibly timely play as it invites us to consider breaking down barriers and embracing differences.”

Anon leaves his comfortable life to find his mother from whom he was separated in a boat on their journey to America. Battling with his own form of PTSD, Anon takes a journey that is as much of a struggle against himself as the forces around him.

“Typically heroes are fighting with enemies far more powerful than themselves, and it’s through those struggles and encounters that they gain the wisdom to overcome their enemies,” Bohon said. “But in this story, Anon is often his own enemy as he struggles with his internal and external world.”

As Anon’s journey unfolds, he meets several friends and companions who have their own unique skills and advice. Danger awaits his path, but Anon learns from those he encounters and comes to appreciate each of his companions in a different way.

Bohon said he was excited to direct a play that isn’t exactly linear or literal, but more of what he considers an “open poetic space.” This play pushes the boundaries of theatre and does what television and film cannot, he said.

The company includes Mia Beckerman, Westlake Village, California, as Mrs. Laius; DeAngelo Davis, Lynwood, Illinois, sophomore, as Pascal; Teagan Fitzpatrick, Overland Park junior, as Calista; Spencer Gochis, Overland Park junior, as Anon; Brandon Hedger, Mansfield, Texas, sophomore, as Mr. Mackus; Mija Jones, Kansas City sophomore, as Belen; Isaac Leibold, Lawrence sophomore, as Strygal; Taylor McTague, Overland Park junior, as Nasreen; Kaia Minter, Shawnee sophomore, as Serza; Cassidy Ragland, Fayetteville, North Carolina, sophomore, as Naja; Jake Reitz, Seneca freshman, as Ali; Matthew Reynolds, Olathe sophomore, as Mr. Zyclo; Kanad Sakhadeo, Pune, India, senior, as Ignacio; Natalila Sarmiento Acosta, Bogota, Colombia, junior, as Ritu; Ben Schatzel, Leavenworth senior, as Senator Laius; Emily Schwerdtfeger, Columbus, Ohio, senior, as Zyclo’s Bird; Ayzia Underwood, Greenwood Village, Colorado, sophomore, as Vanna; Alejandra Villasante, Arequipa, Peru, senior, as Nemasani; Rendi Renee Doran, Stilwell junior, dramaturg; Iman Hinton, Atlanta M.F.A. student, costume designer; Josh Philoon, Wilmette, Illinois, junior, assistant director; Katie Sgroi, Prairie Village sophomore, stage manager; Charlotte Nodarse, Leawood junior, sound designer; and Taylor Zimmerman, Gardner M.F.A. student, scenic designer.

The company also includes Mark Reaney, theatre professor, lighting designer.

Tickets for “Anon(ymous)” are on sale now at KU ticket offices and online at www.kutheatre.com. Tickets are also available by calling the University Theatre, (785) 864-3982, and the Lied Center, (785) 864-ARTS. Tickets are $15 for adults, $14 for senior citizens and KU faculty and staff, and $10 for children. KU student tickets are $10 in advance, $15 at the door.

The Department of Theatre is one of four departments in the School of the Arts. As part of the KU College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, the School of the Arts offers fresh possibilities for collaboration between the arts and the humanities, sciences, social sciences, international and interdisciplinary studies.

For more information on the Department of Theatre visit www.theatre.ku.edu. For more information on the University Theatre, visit www.KUTheatre.com. Follow KU Theatre on Twitter and Facebook.