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University of South Carolina Lab Theatre opens season with “Oleanna”

The Black Box Lab Theatre, the performance space of the University of South Carolina Department of Theatre and Dance, will kick off its 2011-2012 season with David Mamet’s hard-hitting drama “Oleanna,” Sept. 15-18.

Performances will be held nightly at 8 p.m. in the Lab Theatre, at 1400 Wheat St. Tickets will be available at the door for $5.

Known for his precise and visceral use of language, playwright David Mamet presents a controversial and twisted struggle for power in the world of academia in “Oleanna.” The play begins as a simple meeting between a distracted, disinterested professor and Carol, a female student concerned about failing a class. The professor is played by senior theatre major Jake Mesches, while Caroline Wilson, junior theatre major, is in the role of Carol. As the story progresses, however, the tables turn, and the professor, now accused of sexually harassing the student, finds himself defending his action and his livelihood. Mamet leaves it to the audience to decide who is right and wrong in this tense, riveting tete-a-tete.

“In this production, audiences should expect a concise, bare-bones staging of what I consider to be one of the best plays written in the last 25 years,” said director Ait Fetterolf, senior theatre major. “The fact it raises questions about academia, modern day caste systems and gender roles in the play is what attracts me the most.”

Fetterolf continues, “This play doesn’t coddle and I feel that part of our duty as theatre-makers is to provoke audiences. It is my hope that “Oleanna” will outrage and startle. I want the audience motivated into discussions about what they just saw on stage.”

Though Mamet’s production, which premiered in May 1992, is known for its controversial subject matter, he has been well recognized for his works. Mamet was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 1984 for his play about corrupt salesmen, “Glengarry Glen Ross.” In 1993, “Oleanna” earned him a nomination for the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding New Play.

For more information about “Oleanna,” the Lab Theatre or the Department of Theatre and Dance, contact Kevin Bush at (803) 777-9353 or bushk@mailbox.sc.edu.

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Posted: 09/01/11 @ 5:00 PM | Updated: 09/01/11 @ 5:14 PM | Permalink

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