Friday, December 19, 2008

UIS Theatre's production of Cloud 9 chosen for regional program

Play will represent Illinois at Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival

The 2008 fall production of the Theatre Program at the University of Illinois at Springfield -- Cloud 9, by British playwright Caryl Churchill -- has been selected to represent the state at the Region III Festival for the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival, to be held January 7 through 10 in Saginaw, Michigan.

"This is quite a coup for a program that has no majors or minors as yet," observed Margot Duley, dean of UIS' College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

Described by the New York Times as "intelligent, inventive, and funny," Cloud 9 explores the politics of sexuality and sexual identity through the use of cross-gender casting and role-doubling.

Assistant Professor of Theatre Missy Thibodeaux-Thompson, who directed the production, explained that it was originally nominated for the festival's "Evening of Scenes" by Professor John T. Oertling, chair of the Theatre Arts Department at Eastern Illinois University, who served as the KCACTF respondent to the production. She said the regional executive committee subsequently selected UIS' entry from all nominated productions in Illinois to represent the state at the Festival's "Evening of Scenes," in which each state presents 5 to 10 minutes of scenes from its nominated production.

KCACTF Region III includes Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Ohio.

"Right now, we hope to present at least one short scene with students Dwight Langford (Betty, Act I), and Roger Boyd (Harry, Act I), and perhaps also a second scene with Roger and Colleen Kabbes (Edward, Act I)," said Thibodeaux-Thompson.

She and her husband, Eric Thibodeaux-Thompson, who is associate professor and director of Theatre at UIS, are accompanying a number of students to the Festival. Some of the students will take part in the Irene Ryan acting scholarship competition; all of them will attend various workshops and performances from colleges and universities in Region III. Missy Thibodeaux-Thompson will also serve as one of three judges from Illinois for the Irene Ryan preliminary rounds. (Judges do not judge students from their home states.)

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