Cameron University Department of Theatre Arts announces 2011-2012 theatre season

Cameron University’s Department of Theatre Arts will celebrate “A Year of Masterpieces!” for the 2011-12 season.  The department will present a historical tragicomedy, a classic comedy, a psychological journey and a musical comedy. Season tickets are available for $35.00 for adults and $30 for senior citizens, military, non-Cameron students and Cameron faculty/staff and can be purchased by contacting the Cameron University Theatre Box Office at (580) 581-2478. Cameron University students are admitted free with Cameron ID.

The season kicks off from Oct. 6-9 with Arthur Bicknell’s “Masterpieces,” an imaginative reconstruction of the lives of Branwell Bronte and his sisters, Charlotte, Emily and Anne. An unconventional historic drama, it utilizes humor and fantasy sequences to illuminate the tragic fate of the lesser-known Bronte heir, Patrick Branwell. While other children their age occupied themselves outdoors, the four Brontes were sequestered in their father's parsonage. It was Branwell who presided over this world, inspiring the others to create characters that would one day reappear as the protagonists of his sisters' novels, “Wuthering Heights,” “The Tenant of Wildfell Hall” and “Jane Eyre.” All of the Brontes' short lives were shrouded in anonymity. Emily was the least bothered by this fact; Charlotte and Anne were distressed but not thwarted and continued their literary output. Only Branwell, the painter, was unable to reconcile himself to a life without focus or commitment. In desperation, he turned to fantasies involving his patron, the beautiful Lady Lydia Robinson. The mysterious circumstances connected with Branwell's involvement with this woman, including his sudden dismissal from her estate, shed light on the sad facts of his untimely death and the descent into drugs and drink that preceded it.

From November 17-20, “The Great Game: Afghanistan” will celebrate Cameron’s triennial Academic Festival, “Afghanistan: Its Complexities and Relevance.”  Five one-act plays will follow the story of Afghanistan from the British occupation of the 1890s to the present day.

“Durand’s Line” by Ron Hutchinson is the true story of British diplomat Sir Henry Mortimer Durant, who engages Amir Abdul Rahman in a stunning duel of wits as the former wants to subjugate the Afghan natives and the latter fights to protect his country’s borders.

Lee Blessing’s “Wood for the Fire” investigates the alliance between the CIA, the ISI (Pakistan's Intelligence agency) and the Mujahedeen, which was created to destabilize the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan.

In “Miniskirts of Kabul” by David Greig, a female Western journalist uses her imagination to conjure up a meeting with former pro-communist President Mohammad Najibullah, who is under house arrest in a United Nations compound. As the Taliban closes in on Kabul, their sometimes hilarious and often horrific conversation covers topics such as hemlines, the Soviet occupation, torture and more.

“Canopy of Stars” by Simon Stephens is the story of two soldiers in a bunker guarding the Kajaki Dam. They talk of chips and gravy, football, women and whether the British should start to negotiate with the Taliban insurgents. The play is a searing insight into soldiers at war and what happens when they go home.

Naomi Wallace’s “No Such Cold Thing” explores the American war in Afghanistan in human terms through the story of two Afghan teenage sisters divided by conflict and the U.S. serviceman who finds an intimately human connection to their tragedy.

“Tartuffe” will delight audiences from February 16-19. Set in the realm 17th-century Parisian high society during the reign of King Louis XIV, Tartuffe” is a masterwork by Moliére, France's most celebrated comic playwright. Orgon, a wealthy family man, takes in a stranger by the name of Tartuffe who appears to be an extremely pious and devout man of religion. Orgon regards him almost as a saint, offers him the best food and drink, and places the needs of his guest above those of his wife and children. Orgon's friends and family see Tartuffe for the fraud that he is, yet Orgon is blind to their warnings.

Initially banned by King Louis XIV, “Tartuffe” went on to enjoy a reputation as one of the finest stage comedies in French literature thanks to Moliere’s infusion of witty dialogue, caricature, situation comedy and irony. 

The high-energy musical “Grease” will close out the season from April 19-22. One of the greatest rock ‘n’ roll musicals of all time, “Grease” follows the lives of a host of quirky characters as they navigate drive-ins, dances and summer love. The original 1972 Broadway production launched the iconic 1978 film that put songs like “Summer Nights,” “Greased Lightnin’” and “We Go Together” at the forefront of pop culture. Take a trip back to 1959 and enjoy the antics of Sandy, Danny, Rizzo, Kenickie and their friends at Rydell High.

This production of “Grease” is made possible in part by the Richard T. Brittingham, M.D. Musical Theatre Endowed Lectureship.

Shows on Thursday, Friday and Saturday will begin at 7:30 p.m.; Sunday performances start at 2 p.m.

Cameron’s Department of Theatre Arts is a member of the Oklahoma Community Theatre Association.

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September 8, 2011

PR#11-156