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Undergraduate theatre students stage original work

Tuesday, February 03, 2015

LAWRENCE—The bold and inventive works of University of Kansas undergraduate theatre students will be performed in the fifth Black Box Productions at the University Theatre. Black Box gives select undergraduates the opportunity to direct, cast, rehearse and perform original work. This year’s productions include two student-written works in progress, “How to Survive College and Other Painful Acts” and “Spilled Time: A Comedy.”  

Performances are 7:30 p.m. Feb. 13-14 and 17-19 and 2:30 p.m. Feb. 15 at the William Inge Memorial Theatre, Murphy Hall.

“Playwrights need space and time to develop new works. This year’s Black Box ‘works in progress’ provide student playwrights with an opportunity to hear and see their works performed,” said Dennis Christilles, associate professor of theatre and University Theatre artistic director. “More importantly these playwrights will engage in the inner workings of their scripts through collaboration with directors and actors and audiences – a collaboration in which all are enriched.”

“How to Survive College and Other Painful Acts” is a coming-of-age comedy for anyone who feels like somewhere in-between graduating high school and attending college they’ve lost their way. It depicts the humor in the mythology built around college being “the best years of your life.” These ideas and more are explored through an isolated tale of a young man’s experience in a court-mandated therapy session.

“‘How to Survive College’ is a show for anyone that feels they’ve lost their way or who feels like life has passed them by, but the show is really a comedy at heart,” said Cale Morrow, Dodge City sophomore, playwright. “I’ve always believed the greatest gift you can give another person is laughter. The world doesn’t seem so bad when you can simply laugh at a difficult situation.”

“Spilled Time: A Comedy” takes place in a spy world where the stakes and emotions are high and where one man plots to use the power of time for his own personal gain.

“I wanted to write a show that would take people out of their everyday world, out of today’s society,” said Thomas Tong, Olathe senior, playwright. “The play is very Disney-like in that it pits hero versus villain, but the dialogue is really fast-paced, and there’s slapstick throughout.”

The “How to Survive College and Other Painful Acts” company includes Benjamin Schatzel, Leavenworth sophomore, as Sherman; Micayla Miller, Olathe senior, as Tina; Adrian Brothers, Lawrence junior, as Boy; Kevin Siess, Lawrence senior, as Psychiatrist; and Blake Beardall, Overland Park junior, director.

The “Spilled Time: A Comedy” company includes Brianna Woods, Stilwell sophomore, as Chinese Doctor and Martial Artist; Keesa Shrader, Dodge City junior, as Darlene; Victoria Kilkenny, Shawnee freshman, as Coffee Clerk; Jacob Miller, Louisburg sophomore, as Frank; Caroline Collett, Marion junior, as Agent 1; Dylan Foster, Overland Park sophomore, as Agent 2; and Christoph Nevins, Overland Park junior, director.

Brian Buntin, Paola senior, serves as stage manage for both shows.

Tickets for Black Box Productions 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 $10 for adults, senior citizens and KU faculty/staff and $5 for children. KU student tickets are $5 in advance, $10 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 University Theatre, visit www.KUTheatre.com. Follow KU Theatre on Twitter (@KU Theatre).