Denison Theatre Guest Director Sets Production Of "Everyman"
Posted: February 8, 2002
Denison University theatre's 2001-2002 season will continue with the production ofEveryman, adapted by guest director Ralph Allen. A morality play written in the late 15th century, Denison's production will open at 8 p.m. on Friday (Feb. 22) and continue on Saturday (Feb. 23) and Tuesday through Saturday (Feb. 26- March 2) in Ace Morgan Theatre. Tickets forEverymanare $10 for adults, $5 for senior citizens and $4 for students of all ages. Call (740) 587-6527 to reserve tickets.
"Most morality plays are long, sober and discursive," comments Allen, the author of the Broadway hitSugar Babies, who served as a visiting faculty member at Denison in the fall of 1998. "Everyman, on the other hand, is brief, spirited and moving; it remains playable today, more than 500 years after it was first devised, because behind its abstractions is a human story of sublime pathos - the sudden coming of death to a wealthy man and the desertion of his friends and kinsmen when he seeks their comfort and help."
Allen continued, "In 1495 the plague killed one-fourth of the population of England. You could be healthy at nine o'clock, and, without any warning, dead at noon. The shortness and unpredictability of the human situation gave the play a resonance for its first audience that it lacks for us; although since the beginning of the AIDS epidemic and, more recently, the events of September 11, we may find that the play speaks more poignantly to us now than it did 25 years ago."
Associate Professor Cynthia Turnbull is the costume designer for this production and guest designer Robert Cothran is the scenic designer. Senior Austin Hulbirt (Toledo) is the stage manager, junior Lauren Godburn (Meriden, Conn.) is assistant costume designer, and sophomore Jennifer McInnis (Antrim, N.H.) is the assistant stage manager.
An emeritus professor of drama and theatre at Queens College, City University of New York, Allen is teaching a course on Medieval and Tudor Drama during his Denison residency this semester. Allen, who earned degrees from Amherst College and Yale University School of Drama, has been writing articles for American Heritage Magazine, lecturing and teaching at colleges across the country and directing productions. His newest play,Scandals, is a musical that was premiered at Theatre Virginia in Richmond and has been optioned for Broadway.
Sugar Babiesstemmed from Allen's interest in old-time vaudeville. It opened on Broadway in October 1979 starring Mickey Rooney and Ann Miller and played more than 1200 performances on Broadway. It toured the United States for almost four years and has since played around the world.
A past president of the American Theatre Association, Allen has served as a producer at the Kennedy Center for the Arts in Washington, D.C., and as founder and artistic director of the Clarence Brown Theatre (Knoxville, Tenn.) and artistic director of the Victoria Fair Theatre (British Columbia). He is the author of numerous articles on the history of theatre as well as several books. His previous adaptations of plays include:The Gardener's DogandJustice Not Revenge, from works by Lope de Vega;The Imaginary Invalidfrom Moliere;Where There's a Willfrom Regnard andRip Van Winkle, with Joshua Logan, from Boucicault's play.
The cast includes: Denison Professor Desmond Hamlet as God; seniors Alix Berneis (Dexter, Mich.) as Cousin, and Rachel Morgan (Edmond, Okla.) as Knowledge; juniors Diana Craig (Ashland, Ky.) as Good Deeds, Emily Horabik (Chardon) as Kindred, and Melinda Hughes (Westlake) as Discretion; sophomores Jon Olmstead (New York, N.Y.) as Confession, Jeff Smith (Kansas City, Mo.) as Kindred, Mark Soloff (Pittsburgh, Pa.) as Everyman, Scott Towler (Chesterfield, ) as Fellowship, and Blake Whyte (Kalamazoo, Mich.) as Death; and first year students Sarah Casebolt (Utica) as Beauty, Drew Lichtenburg (Pelham,. Mass.) as Strength, Megan Long (Chapmanville, W. Va.) as Goods and David Tyler (Chagrin Falls) as Five Wits. Banquet-goers include junior Jesse Corn (Gates Mills) and Tianna Gabriel (Cleveland Heights), sophomores Dominic Dodrill (Jackson) and Erin Rice (Gahanna) and first year students Peter Borak (Milluca Hill, N.J.), Erin Saelzer (Oregon), Cara Scarmack (Lancaster), and Gretchen Walther (Lititz, Pa.).
Denison University, founded in 1831, is an independent, residential liberal arts institution located in Granville, Ohio. A highly selective college enrolling 2,100 full-time undergraduate students from all 50 states and dozens of foreign countries, Denison is a place where innovative faculty and motivated students collaborate in rigorous scholarship, civic engagement and the cultivation of independent thinking.
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