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Aug. 17, 2000
OSWEGO -- The theatre department at Oswego State will feature plays from the 1890s to the 1990s in its upcoming season.
To commemorate the 100th anniversary of the death of Oscar Wilde, Oswego presents the haunting and stylish tale of "The Picture of Dorian Gray" in October.
Adapted from Wilde's novel and directed by theatre department chair Mark Cole with music direction by Julie Pretzat, "Dorian Gray" is the story of a young man who, when he views his portrait, wishes that his youth and perfect good looks might always stay with him. He unwittingly makes a bargain with Fate and, as he experiences all of life's sensations, the noble as well as the base, he realizes that the picture holds a terrifying secret.
First published in 1891, "The Picture of Dorian Gray" created a sensation that touched off a heated public debate over art versus morality. Both sinister and delightful, "Dorian Gray" is filled with wit and perception.
"Wilde summed up the anxieties and obsessions of the late Victorian age and has much to tell us about our own," Cole said.
The play will run at 8 p.m. from Wednesday, Oct. 11, to Saturday, Oct. 14, and at 2:30 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 15, in Tyler Hall's Waterman Theatre.
The theatre department's Student Honors Production, directed by senior theatre major Kerry Volkland, will be "Five Women Wearing the Same Dress" in November. Written by Alan Ball, Academy Award-winning screenwriter of "American Beauty," the play explores the sexual manners and marriage rituals of the youth of the 1990s.
It takes place in a young woman's bedroom on the day of her sister's wedding. While the reception goes on outside on the lawn below, she and her four fellow bridesmaids congregate to discuss men, sex and the state of the world today. They're all wearing the same ugly dress, but each has a different take on the relationships between men and women in this poignant and hilarious play.
Because of construction work in Tyler Hall, the Honors Production will be presented at the Frances Marion Brown Theatre at the Oswego Arts Center in Fort Ontario. The play will be shown at 8 p.m. from Tuesday, Nov. 14, to Saturday, Nov. 18, and at 2 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 19.
A classic landmark of American literature that captured a Pulitzer Prize is the first offering of the spring semester in March. "The journey of the Joad family in Steinbeck's 'The Grapes of Wrath' is intensely personal and a searing record of an era," Cole said.
It is a stark and moving portrait of the farmers who, during the Great Depression, fled the Dust Bowl for brighter futures in California but encountered the same class system and prejudices that had impoverished them back home.
The stage adaptation by Frank Galati, first produced by Steppenwolf Theatre in Chicago, received a Tony Award for best play in 1990. The play will be directed by Thomas Kee, with music direction by Jason Ecklund.
"The Grapes of Wrath" will play from March 1 to 3 and 9 to 10 at 8 p.m. with a 2 p.m. matinee March 11.
The final production of the year will be Tony Kushner's "Angels in America Part One: Millennium Approaches." This epic drama has been hailed by audiences and critics for its moving and compassionate view of life during the early years of the AIDS epidemic as two couples and a political racketeer struggle to find their personal, moral and spiritual ground.
"Kushner's words are funny and touching and always honest in his depiction of contemporary issues that face society as a whole," Cole said.
It won the 1993 Pulitzer Prize for drama and the Tony Award for best play. Directed by Ron Medici, it will run on April 24, 25, 26 and 28 at 8 p.m. and April 29 at 2 p.m.
"Theatre offers us a chance to reexamine the past, wrestle with the present and challenge the future," Cole said. "Our four main stage productions for 2000-01 offer audiences engaging entertainment that's worth talking about."
The theatre department will join with the music department and Artswego to present the Renaissance Madrigal Banquet at 6 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 2, and at 5 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 3, in The Forum in Oswego's Hewitt Union. The Madrigal Banquet will feature a sumptuous 16th century feast with vocal and instrumental music of the Renaissance and festivities performed by entertainers in period costume.
"New Voices 2001," co-sponsored with English Writing Arts Program, will feature staged readings of the six winners of Oswego's student-written 10-minute play contest at 8 p.m. March 31 and April 1 in the lab theatre of Tyler Hall.
Music and choreography will combine in "Song and Dance III," co-sponsored with the music department, at 8 p.m. Saturday, May 5, and at 3 p.m. Sunday, May 6, in Waterman Theatre. "Song and Dance III" will feature music by Brahms and Copeland, under the direction of Julie Pretzat and Juan La Manna and with choreography by Ron Medici.
Information on all events is available at the Tyler Hall box office by calling 312-2141.
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CONTACT: Mark Cole, theatre department chair, 312-2140

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