Stephen F. Austin State University

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SFA summer theatre season opens with award-winning drama

June 17, 2009 - Sylvia Bierschenk
Corpus Christi sophomore Jt Hearn (left) and Round Rock senior Waldron Archer rehearse an intense scene from SFA School of Theatre's upcoming production of Athol Fugard's "'Master Harold' . . . and the boys." The drama opens the three-play summer repertory season at 7:30 p.m. Friday, June 26, and Saturday, June 27, in the Downstage Theatre.

NACOGDOCHES, TEXAS - The Stephen F. Austin State University School of Theatre's 2009 Summer Repertory season will open with Athol Fugard's "'Master Harold' . . . and the boys" at 7:30 p.m. Friday, June 26, and Saturday, June 27, in the Downstage Theatre of the Griffith Fine Arts Building.

The intimate setting provided by the Downstage Theatre is perfect for Fugard's intense storyline about a white teenager in 1950 South Africa and two well loved black servants, explained Rick Jones, SFA associate professor of theatre and the play's director. "The close physical proximity the characters have to one another and to the audience concentrates their actions and emotions. The audience will definitely have a sense of 'being right there.'"

The largely autobiographical play by one of the leading civil rights activists in South Africa is more than just an indictment of apartheid, Jones continued. "It has relevance for today's audiences because prejudices still exist and we still need hope for a better tomorrow."

Jones regards the play, which received the 1982 Drama Desk Award for Outstanding New Play, as one of his favorites. "Theatre that makes you think about society and yourself-done the right way-is good theatre."

The cast includes only three characters: 17-year-old Hally, played by Emory freshman Jt Hearn, and servants Sam and Willie, played by Round Rock senior Waldron Archer and Corpus Christi sophomore Kory Pullman, respectively.

"This is one of the most cohesive groups with whom I've been associated in the theatre," Jones said. "We definitely have the right actors cast."

"'Master Harold' . . . and the boys" is one of three plays that will be shown in rotation throughout the three-week repertory season. In addition to the June 26 and 27 performances, "'Master Harold'" will be presented at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, July 7; Friday, July 10; and Thursday, July 16. It is recommended for mature audiences.

The children's musical "Schoolhouse Rock Live! Too," which is suitable for the entire family, will be presented at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, June 30; Thursday, July 9; and Saturday, July 11. Matinees will be offered at 2 p.m. on Wednesday, July 1; Wednesday, July 15; and Saturday, July 18. All shows are in W.M. Turner Auditorium.

William Inge's Pulitzer Prize-wining "Picnic" will be presented at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, July 3; Wednesday, July 8; Tuesday, July 14; and Friday, July 17; and at 2 p.m. on Saturday, July 4. All shows are in W.M. Turner Auditorium. Parental guidance is suggested.

Season tickets, which include one ticket per show, are $21 for adults and $12 for seniors, students and youth. Single tickets to "'Master Harold' . . . and the boys" and "Picnic" are $12 for adults and $6 for seniors, students and youth. Single tickets to "Schoolhouse Rock Live! Too" are $6 each or $5 per individual for groups of 20 or more. For tickets or more information, please visit www.sfasu.edu/finearts or call (936) 468-6407 or (888) 240-ARTS.