Saint Louis University

Saint Louis University Theatre 1998-1999 Season

The Visit | Woman From The TownSomething's Afoot | Shivaree (Studio Theatre) | A Midsummer Night's Dream

 The Visit by Friedrich DUrrenmatt
October 2 & 3 - 8PM
October 4 -2PM - Sunday Matinee
October 8 - 10:30AM - High School Matinee
October 9 & 10 - 8PM

How far would you go for financial freedom? When a wealthy woman returns triumphantly to her humble hometown, she announces her intent to provide her former neighbors with millions. But there's a gruesome catch. In this highly theatrical play, greed can change anyone.

 Woman From The Town by Samm-Art Williams
November 13 & 14 - 8PM
November 15 -2PM - Sunday Matinee
November 19 - 10:30AM - High School Matinee
November 20 & 21 - 8PM

Once a lonely pregnant teenager and now a successful real estate broker, Lila Wilson returns home to find her sister Laura's farm threatened by the current economy. This family reunion is both comical and explosive as two very different, but equally independent, sisters face some long-standing jealousies.

 Something's Afoot - Book, music, and lyrics by James McDonald, David Vos, and Robert Gerlach
February 19 & 20 - 8PM
February 21 -2PM - Sunday Matinee
February 25 - 10:30AM - High School Matinee
February 26 & 27 - 8PM

Ten people gather for a carefree weekend at a country estate, and soon find themselves singing and dancing their way through an outrageous Musical Murder Mystery. As victims pile up in the library, the survivors frantically search among themselves for the culprit. Don't miss this zany musical spoof!

 Shivaree by William Mastrosimone
March 19 & 20 - 8PM
March 21 -2PM - Sunday Matinee
March 26 & 27 - 8PM

Review by Steve Callahan for KDHX radio

I love University Theatre! There you can find the most exciting productions in town-classics that are rarely available elsewhere, experimental new works-a rich spectrum. And Saint Louis University has proven itself perhaps the most reliably excellent among university theatres in the area. They've opened an excellent production of Shivaree, by William Mastrosimone.

It's a play about courage, about protective love and our need both to have it and to escape from it. The central character, Chandler, is a young hemophiliac whose mother, through a sense of genetic guilt, has sheltered him from every conceivable danger. Chandler is, quite literally, a shut-in, denied a normal life by his Mother's fear of possible injury. Yet he idolizes an acquaintance who, despite suffering Chandler's affliction, has dared to go sky-diving. Naturally bright, Chandler has grown up to be bookish. (He sometimes masks his innocence and embarrassment with a scholarly vocabulary.) He's fascinated with astronomy-which symbolizes the ultimate in "out there".

Chandler has the natural urges of a young man. The play opens at a very exciting moment for him. He's saved up his nickels and dimes for this, and now he is about to lose his virginity. A street-wise young neighbor, Scagg, has arranged to bring him a prostitute.

Ben Klein carries off the central roll beautifully. Klein is small, fresh and delightful. He has just a hint of a very young Gene Wilder mixed with a soupcon of Danny Kaye. Sean Hill is a nicely punky Scagg, and Heidi Walz, as the hooker, is simply perfect. Lovely and lithe, young but worldly, playful and seductive, she combines the necessary hard business sense with a genuinely soft heart. Elizabeth Gimbell, as Mary, the taxi-driving mother, achieves a maturity well beyond her years. Gimbell shows us the real love and pain in Mary without diminishing her great strength.

Chandler's cloistered world is magically brightened by a young belly dancer who calls herself Shivaree. She lives in the apartment just across from Chandler's balcony. Shivaree bridges the intervening chasm with an ironing board and treads lightly, fearlessly across. She gives Chandler his first real touch of romantic love. Sarah Woody captures the essence of this free spirit, and when she dances for Chandler she does so with a confident erotic grace.

All in all it's a warm and lovely production. Scene designer Jason Wolf achieves an unobtrusive small miracle in managing to fit an apartment and two balconies comfortably onto the small studio theatre stage. Lighting by Abby Whiting is utterly professional. Director Mark Landis can be proud of yet another in a long series of superior productions.

It's a refreshing change from all those plays about that other blood disorder, touched as they so often are with the political sourness of victimism and with self-pity.

Shivaree, at Saint Louis University , shows a young man screwing up his courage to break the maternal bond and venture into life as we all must do. It shows that beautiful, age-old onset of love-that scary moment when a man summons the bravery to gather up his vulnerability and offer it-in a colossal act of faith-to that stranger, that alien creature-a woman. The cast simply shines with energy and freshness. The curtain call blazes with infectious young blushing joy. What a delight to look forward to seeing these strong young talents grow in years to come.

 A Midsummer Night's Dream by William Shakespeare
April 16 & 17 - 8PM
April 18 -2PM - Sunday Matinee
April 22 - 10:30AM - High School Matinee
April 23 & 24 - 8PM

Warm breezes will carry this wonderous comedy to a sun drenched tropical isle. When two pairs of lovers and a band of amateur actors cross the path of some rivalrous immortals with magical powers, the fun begins! Bring the whole family to this new look at one of the most popular plays of all time.

Higher purpose. Greater good.
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