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John Kinzer
IU Theatre and Drama

Jennifer Piurek
University Communications

Last modified: Monday, March 9, 2009

IU Theatre and Drama presents 'The America Play' -- and a new student ticket special

WHAT: The America Play, by Suzan-Lori Parks
WHEN: Opens Friday, March 27 at 7:30 p.m. with additional performances March 28 and 31 through April 4 and an additional 2 p.m. matinee Saturday, April 4.
WHERE: Wells-Metz stage at the Lee Norvelle Theatre and Drama Center
TICKETS: $20 for adults, $15 for those 30-and-under, students and seniors Tuesday-Thursday evenings and Saturday matinee. For ticket information, call 812-855-1103 and ask for information about Lee Norvelle Theatre and Drama Center tickets. Tickets can be purchased in person at the IU Auditorium box office Monday-Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. or at the Lee Norvelle Theatre and Drama Center box office, which opens one hour before curtain. To purchase tickets by phone, call Ticketmaster at 812-333-9955, or buy online at Student Rush Tickets are available for $12 cash with valid IU Bloomington student ID and are available the day of each performance. Call the box office for detals on group ticket prices.

March 9, 2009

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Suzan-Lori Parks strikes a resonant racial cord with The America Play, presented by Indiana University's Department of Theatre and Drama.

The play opens March 27 at 7:30 p.m. on the Wells-Metz stage at the Lee Norvelle Theatre and Drama Center, with additional performances March 28 and 31 through April 4. Marlon Murtha Bailey of the Department of Gender Studies will present a talk about The America Play Sunday, March 29, 3 p.m., at the Wells-Metz Theatre.

Suzan-Lori Parks

Stephanie Diani

Suzan-Lori Parks

Print-Quality Photo

Incorporating her trademark "Rep and Rev" (Repetition and Revision) writing style, Parks creates a dizzying, non-linear world that reflects the uncertainty of history, particularly in this country. Of her work, she says, "History -- the destruction and creation of it through theatre pieces, and how black people fit into all of this -- is my primary concern."

With a powerful cast that includes master of fine arts candidates Dawn Thomas and Shewan Howard, the play follows senior Jamaal R. McCray's character, the "Foundling Father," who gives up his day job as a gravedigger to play Abraham Lincoln and allow paying customers to "assassinate" him.

Edris Cooper-Anifowoshe

Edris Cooper-Anifowoshe

Print-Quality Photo

Director Edris Cooper-Anifowoshe, an assistant professor of acting and directing, says that the play's meaning "is held in the contradictions and our abilities to accept and honor without need for reconciliation those contradictions and allow them to inform our consciousness -- national, social, and historical. It is timely to do this play because of the national focus on the African American presence embodied by Barack Obama, the 'Foundling Father' being both his parallel and his opposite." Cooper-Anifowoshe founded IU's Black Play Lab and the 2008 "Mini-Conference on Black Theatre" to stimulate scholarship about theatre by and for people of African descent.

Joining Cooper-Anifowoshe on the creative team are scenic designer Nick Passafiume, costume designer Lydia Dawson, lighting designer Liz Replogle and sound designer Gabe Gula, who together transform the Wells-Metz Theatre into a dynamic theatrical space not to be missed.

Special student ticket prices

Making a commitment to serving IU students, the Department of Theatre and Drama is now offering a special student flex pass. IU Bloomington students only are invited to purchase a new 4, PLUS 1 STUDENT Flex Pass for the four shows of the spring 2009 semester. The $48 Flex Pass book ($60 value) includes four flex pass vouchers -- plus a fifth voucher that can be assigned to a friend. For more information, see