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News and information from Pittsburg State University, Pittsburg, Kansas.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Refugee camp the setting for dramatic play

Pittsburg State University Theatre will present "Necessary Targets," a provocative drama with a delicate comic touch, from March 1-4 in the Studio Theatre in Grubbs Hall on the PSU campus.

The play, set in 1995 in a Bosnian refugee camp, focuses on two American women, one a well-established psychiatrist and the other a young writer, who travel to Bosnia to help a group of women war victims. "We're here," says J.S., the psychiatrist, "to help you talk about the war." Her good intentions are met with cynicism when a refugee replies, "What do you think we were talking about before you came?" This type of sharp interchange, both caustic and funny, marks the tone of Eve Ensler's play. The audience soon realizes the playwright is not writing so much about the atrocities of the Bosnian war as she is exploring the naïve perspective of Americans trying to "clean things up."

"This play really caught the attention of myself and designer Dan Williams when we read it last year," said director Cynthia Allan. "We thought it was a strong piece of theater. It is short, fierce, and funny. It really shows the contradictions of our culture – going in with a big heart but not always having a clue about what others need or want."

Designer Dan Williams saw the chance to create a unique expressionistic set that relies on lighting to bring the play "out of the shadows." In addition, performance artist Marianne Evans-Lombe is collaborating with the theater by incorporating an original piece into the performance of "Necessary Targets."

"The play lends itself to creating a lot of interesting visual moments," Allan said. She and stage manager Roy Hatcher, along with sound designer Ross Stone, have also made sure that all the music used in the show is authentic.

"We are using popular Bosnian music from the early 1990s, which reflects an interesting fusion of traditional ethnic and contemporary regional sound," Allan said.

The cast includes some of Pitt State's most experienced actors along with some newcomers. Abby Olcese (J.S.) and Deidre Galloway (Melissa) play the American women, while the refugees are played by Lucy Miller-Downing (Zlata), Bekah Grieb (Azra), Daley Leintz (Jelena), Megan Stoneberger (Nuna), and Ally Sutton (Seada).

The cast is also sponsoring a fund-raising challenge for Habitat for Humanity. Audience members will be able to contribute to the local Habitat for Humanity in the theater lobby. For every $5 raised, the cast and crew will donate 1 hour of labor to Habitat for Humanity/Hearts and Hammers projects. The slogan for the service project is "the more you give, the more we work!"

Performances are at 8 p.m. from Thursday through Saturday, March 1-3, and at 2 p.m. on Sunday, March 4 in the Studio Theatre. Entrance to the theater is on Joplin Street across from the Axe Library. Tickets are $8 for the general public, $6 for faculty/staff, $5 for under 17/over 65, and free to PSU students with a valid PSU photo I.D. Tickets are available through the PSU Ticket Office at 620-235-4796 or at the door approximately 45 minutes prior to curtain. Because seating in the theater is limited, reservations are encouraged.

For more on the Pittsburg State University Theatre Co., including upcoming productions, visit the Department of Communication Web site at:
or call 620-235-4063.

---Pitt State---