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Drama, Black Humor in Theatre's Spring Season

February 12, 2018

Emporia State University Theatre’s spring season is primed with thought-provoking drama and knee-slapping dark humor from two classic works that have stood the test of time.

The season kicks off with the 1920 drama “He and She” by Rachel Crothers, who is known for writing many works during the first wave of feminism. The production is under the direction of Bob Hart, who is excited to direct a story with such relevant themes to today.

“He and She,” like many feminist plays, features themes of the differences between masculinity and femininity, but views and discusses them through the unique lens of a 1920 marriage between two artists. In a time when gender equality was unheard of, a husband and wife with the same profession — sculptors — attempt to make a marriage and a family work.

The company of the show includes Ryan Wollum (freshman, De Soto), Mollie McClanahan (sophomore, Topeka), Elizabeth Higbee (senior, Tonganoxie), Elizabeth Tate (freshman, Tulsa, OK), Justin Scheck (junior, Gardner), Harriel Mack (senior, Newton), Torin Horvik (junior, Fargo, ND), Erin Dublin (senior, Olathe), Tyler Lang (senior, Wichita), Brian Percival (sophomore, Olathe), Isabella Harvey (senior, McPherson), Samantha Garcia (junior, Emporia), Alyxx Zinn (freshman, Olathe), Caitlyn Reynolds (freshman, Louisburg), Weiqi Meng (sophomore, Beijing, China), Rachel Muirhead (senior, Hayes), Taylor McAvoy (junior, Hartford), Jacob Schaefer (junior, Pratt), Andrew Ralston (junior, Topeka), Dayne Sabatos (freshman, Burlington), Maddie Simmons (junior, Topeka), Olivia Nunnelley (sophomore, Goddard), Corrine Payton (junior, Emporia), Isabelle Nelson (freshman, Olathe), Abbi Timmermeyer (senior, Andover) and Matt Mahr (junior, Overland Park).

“He and She” runs March 6 through 10 at 7:30 pm in the Karl C. Bruder Theatre, including a matinee performance at 2 pm on March 10.

The second production of the spring season is Joseph Kesselring’s 1940 farcical black comedy “Arsenic and Old Lace.” Featuring a Theodore Roosevelt impersonator, homicidal old women and a drama critic trying to get married, the show is a classic example of comedy that stems from a normal person attempting to survive in a world of absurd circumstances.

Jim Bartruff will be directing the production, and is thrilled to bring a classic comedy to the stage. The absurd and dark humor of the show is written to evoke contagious laughter from audiences. Technical Director (and ESU alum) Chris Lohkamp is featured in the cast at Teddy Brewster.

The “Arsenic and Old Lace” company also includes Miranda Kimble (junior, Mullinvillle), Tim Hardman (junior, Wichita), Evan Grantham (junior, Girard), Emily Rayson (freshman, Ottawa), Rachel Muirhead (senior, Hayes), Sydney Main (graduate student, Emporia), Andrew Ralston (junior, Topeka), Ben Johnson (freshman, Wichita), Dustin Bittel (senior, Ellis), Hewleek McKoy (junior, Olathe), Cameron Webb (freshman, Shawnee), Stephen Holbert (junior, Olathe), Lucas Coble (freshman, Olpe), Abbi Timmermeyer (senior, Andover), Tad Gilbert (senior, Andover), Matthew Mahr (junior, Overland Park), McKenzie Needham (freshman, Andover), Justin Scheck (junior, Gardner), Roman Haen (senior, Lee’s Summit, MO), Maddie Simmons (freshman, Emporia), Katie Pelegrin (junior, Olathe), Hannah Lingard (freshman, Topeka), Paige Maley (senior, Burlington), Mollie McClanahan (sophomore, Topeka), Yerim Noh (Pohang, South Korea), Zulema Renteria (junior, Emporia), Cassidy Tilden (senior, Topeka), Alayne Weber (senior, Topeka), Skylar McCall (freshman, Wathena), Trevor Molz (sophomore, Shawnee), Barry McAnulty (senior, Bronson), Madison Joye Schultz (sophomore, Topeka), Cameron White (freshman, Meriden), Paige Lundin (senior, Wichita) and Mariah Ebert (freshman, Wamego).

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