Denison's Jon Farris Stars In OSU Theatre's 'King Lear'
Posted: May 11, 2000
Denison University Professor of Theatre Jon Farris, chair of the Theatre Department and a distinguished Equity guest artist, will play the title role in Ohio State University Theatre's May production of William Shakespeare's "King Lear." The challenging and relentless tragedy, directed by Sue Ott Rowlands, will be performed in Thurber Theatre, Drake Union, on the OSU campus at 7:30 p.m. May 17-20 and 23-27.
Farris' classical acting credits include performances with the Illinois Shakespeare Festival as Macbeth and as Leontes in "A Winter's Tale" and with the Indiana Repertory Theatre as Harpagon (the miser) in "The Miser." He has also performed in the CATCO production of "Nixon's Nixon" as Richard Nixon, and in "Taking Sides," as well as in The Human Race Theatre Company (Dayton) production of "Stonewall Jackson's House."
Farris, who came to Denison in 1981, holds the Jonathan R. Reynolds Distinguished Professor in Theatre Chair. He earned his bachelor's degree from Harding College (Ark.), his master's degree from the University of Wisconsin and completed his doctorate at Tufts University (Mass.). At Denison, Farris teaches Acting III ? Techniques in Acting Shakespeare, which will be offered this fall when he will also direct Denison's production of "The Tempest."
The play, which is rarely done by university theatre programs, has been called "one of the monuments of Western Civilization," according to Rowlands. "This apocalyptic tragedy is incomprehensible in scale and relentless in its unending destruction, and is riddled with disease, corruption and betrayal."
Says Lesley Ferris, chair of OSU's Department of Theatre, "We believe we have the right creative team to provide Columbus with the unique opportunity to see what Samuel Johnson in the 18th century thought was too excruciatingly painful to bear."
Because of that sentiment, the play was historically produced with a rewritten ending where Lear's daughter Cordelia does not die. "Only in the 20th century have productions addressed the dark and haunting themes, providing a realization that perhaps humans can indeed do this to other human beings," Ferris says. "Lear provides us with a truth we can now recognize."
Tickets are $12 general admission; $9 OSU faculty, staff, Alumni Association members and senior citizens; and $6.50 students. For information or tickets, call 614/292-2295. Tickets go on sale May 1.
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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