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ASU Herberger College expands Mainstage Season Names Marshall W. Mason artistic director for theatre

June 19, 2003

TEMPE, Ariz. – In a progressive move that presents exciting opportunities for Valley audiences, the Herberger College of Fine Arts at ASU has named renowned director Marshall W. Mason the artistic director for its upcoming Mainstage Theatre Season.

In turn, Mason is expanding the 2003-2004 theatre offerings by presenting the season in rotating repertory.
The juxtaposition of alternating shows allows productions to “speak” to each other in unexpected and provocative ways, enhancing the theatre-going experience.

“Repertory has been the keystone of great theatre throughout the history of theatre,” Mason explains. “This is how Shakespeare, Chekhov and Molière presented their plays. This is a unique program not only here in the Valley, but in universities across the nation.” The season opens with the pairing of Paul Vogels’ startling Pulitzer Prize-winning play How I Learned to Drive with the powerful docudrama, The Laramie Project, by Moisés Kaufman. Both plays are hard-hitting, emotional journeys through dark and narrow paths of dysfunction, sexuality and morality. How I Learned to Drive tells of the complex and troubling relationship between a girl and her Uncle Peck, who not only teaches her how to drive, but who seduces her. The Laramie Project was developed by the Tectonic Theater Company, whose members interviewed the community of Laramie, Wyoming, the site of the tragic hate crime committed against gay teenager Matthew Shepard.

The second repertory set is the classic Our Town by Thornton Wilder and the cutting subUrbia by Eric Bogosian. Both are studies of what it means to be human in small-town America. Our Town is a tale of all ages, for all ages of the goings-on in placid Grover’s Corners, New Hampshire, at the turn of the century, while subUrbia is a scathing study of rootless American youth set in the parking lot of a convenience store.

∑The third repertory set pairs Anton Chekhov’s The Cherry Orchard with Fifth of July by Lanford Wilson. Both plays are portraits of a family and a civilization teetering on the brink of permanent change; both were hits in the 2003 Broadway season, as well. Mason himself directs the Chekhov masterpiece. The Pulitzer Prize-winning Wilson has been dubbed “America’s Chekhov” by drama critics, and this will be the first opportunity ever to see these rich human comedies in proximity.

∑Finally, the 2003-2004 theatre Mainstage Season wraps up with the eighth annual New Plays Festival. This exciting celebration has developed from a marathon of staged readings to three full productions in repertory. The plays are written by students in the Master of Fine Arts in playwriting program and developed in a collaborative process. Audiences will have the unique opportunity to participate in the process through post-performance discussions with the playwrights and the artistic teams.

Subscriptions are available now. To receive a brochure or for more information, the public should call 480-965-6536.

Dance season 

The first dance production of the season, September Concert, now features the choreography of students Ying Yang, Siew Kong Wong, Yeong Wen Lee and Min Kim. This is an exciting fusion of Asian cultures and modern dance. They combine their talents and traditions into a synthesis of beautiful movement. The dates and times are: Sept. 18, 19, 20 at 7:30 p.m. and Sept. 21 at 2 p.m. in the Dance Studio Theatre, PE East 132.

In addition, the concert dates for New Danceworks I have changed. Performances are now Nov. 5-8 at 7:30 p.m. and Nov. 9 at 2 p.m. The Herberger College Mainstage Season also includes six organ concerts and four lyric opera theatre shows – The Impresario/Riders to the Sea, Caterina’s Son – World Premiere, Once Upon a Mattress, and La Finta Giardiniera.

Media Contact:
Megan Krause

Mary Brennan