MIDDLEBURY, Vt.-On Friday, Sept. 17, at 8 p.m., the Middlebury College Performing Arts Series and Department of Theatre and Dance will present "An American Revolution," a new play and the first ever written by Jay Parini, an established novelist, biographer and poet who is also Axinn Professor of English and director of the creative writing program at Middlebury. The Bennington-based Oldcastle Theatre Company (OTC) will produce the play, which will be performed on campus in Wright Theatre on Château Road off College Street (Route 125).
Parini is the author of many volumes of poetry and numerous novels, such as "The Love Run," "The Last Station," and "The Apprentice Lover." Gore Vidal called "The Last Station" "one of the best historical novels written in the last 20 years." Parini has written definitive biographies of several of the 20th century's greatest literary talents: Theodore Roethke, John Steinbeck, Robert Frost and William Faulkner. He has also received fellowships from such organizations as the Guggenheim Foundation. In 2000, Parini's biography of Robert Frost won the Chicago Tribune-Heartland Award for the best work of nonfiction and in 2002 he was awarded the John Ciardi Lifetime Achievement Award by the National Italian American Foundation. He is a regular commentator on Vermont Public Radio.
"It's an honor to produce a premiere by Jay Parini. Mr. Parini is internationally known and respected," said Eric Peterson, Oldcastle's producing artistic director. "We like to encourage talented writers from other genres to write for the theatre. Jay has written a funny, thought-provoking black comedy. Audience members may have disagreements among themselves about who and what in the play is real, what is imagined, what is dreamed. It will be a fun play to both see and to discuss."
The play comes to Middlebury following a two-week run at the Bennington Center for the Arts.
"An American Revolution" is set in the Green Mountains of Vermont and is the poignant, dark, funny and thought-provoking story of a dysfunctional family whose members struggle to find peace following the death of their matriarch. The daughter attempts to come to terms with adulthood, the choices she has made and the past, while her father struggles to help the daughter he only thinks he understands. The mother returns as a ghostly figure not yet ready to relinquish her earthly ties to her daughter. The daughter is also being courted by two suitors; however, one may only be in her imagination.
The Oldcastle Theatre Company production of "An American Revolution" features Sophia Garder as the daughter, Carleton Carpenter as her father, and Janis Young as the ghostly mother. The daughter's suitors are played by Richard Howe and Michael Nichols. Along with direction by Peterson, the play will feature set design by Director of Production Kenneth Mooney, costume design by Hope Barry, and lighting design by Michael Giannitti.
Tickets are $12 for general admission and $10 for seniors. Tickets go on sale Sept. 13 at the Middlebury College Center for the Arts Box Office on South Main Street (Route 30). Tickets may be purchased in person, by phone at 802-443-MIDD (6433), or online at www.middlebury.edu/arts/tickets.
For more information or to arrange an interview with Parini in advance of the production, contact Liza Sacheli, marketing manager of the Middlebury College Center for the Arts, at 802-443-3169 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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