Students take original work to theatre festival
Dec. 17, 2009
KALAMAZOO--For the third time in the past five years, students in the Western Michigan University Department of Theatre have been invited to perform in January at the Region III American College Theater Festival.
But this is the first time they will compete with an original work--the celebrated production of "Good Death," which ran on campus in October.
"We are particularly excited to be taking this show to the festival," says Dr. Joan Herrington, department chair. "The collaborative creation and original performances of "Good Death" were a tremendous challenge for our students, and we are honored that this award recognizes their success."
The cast and creative team will begin rehearsals immediately to prepare for the festival Jan. 5-9 in Saginaw, Mich. The piece will be adjudicated for possible selection to be performed at the Kennedy Center's National Festival April 12-17 in Washington, D.C.
WMU's Department of Theatre has been selected 11 times to perform regionally and has had the honor of performing at the Kennedy Center twice in the past.
"Good Death" is a collaboration between the theatre department and members of the internationally renowned Tectonic Theater Project. The Tectonic Theater Project is known for its innovative approach to theatre making. The project's groundbreaking plays include "The Larmie Project," Pulitzer Prize-winning "I am My Own Wife" and Broadway's recent "33 Variations."
In the unique theatrical event, student actors and designers, along with Tectonic members, devised a new play on the subject of death and dying. "Good Death" explores the hard questions and emotional conflict behind terminal illness, aging, euthanasia and medical ethics.
Intense research was conducted over the summer by students in the cast and creative team and was explored and analyzed in rehearsal under the direction of the Tectonic Theater Project. A community conversation, "Good Death" is compiled from verbatim interviews with the terminally ill, spiritual leaders, players in the Dr. Kevorkian trial, advocates of euthanasia, anti-euthanasia activists, medical professionals and many others in the Kalamazoo County and across Michigan.
Media contact: Mark Schwerin, (269) 387-8400, firstname.lastname@example.org