Contact: David W. Booth, NIU School of Theatre and Dance
September 14, 2007
DeKalb, Ill. — Eleven of the original twelve apostles spent the Saturday between Good Friday and Easter Sunday fearing for their lives and in turmoil, awaiting the promises of their master to be fulfilled by the Resurrection.
Presenting the first production of their 2007-2008 season, Northern Illinois University School of Theatre and Dance offers a darkly comedic exploration of the emotional trauma of eleven men the day after the horrific and world changing events at Golgotha with Andras Visky’s play, “Disciples,” opening Sept. 27.
The play opens with 10 disciples entering an empty barracks in a state of panic and confusion, though none of them can immediately remember why they are hiding and from whom they ran away. They manage to calm themselves enough to slowly piece together their relationships to each other and to their leader, and recall the truth of what has happened.
The 11th disciple who arrives later confirms their master is gone. Their leader had been carried away a powerless body, just as any of theirs might have been, and nothing else happened. The skies did not open. There was no salvation and no resurrection. Now what do they do, and what does it all mean?
“Disciples” is being remounted from the only professional production to have been done in the United States, according to its director, Christopher Markle. Markle is a School of Theatre and Dance professor and head of performance faculty, and the artistic director for SummerNITE, the professional theatre company operated by the school. SummerNITE produced and presented the play at the Elgin Art Showcase this past summer.
The NIU remount is being guest directed by School of Theatre and Dance alumnus and M.F.A. graduate, Christopher Hibbard.
Hibbard describes “Disciples” as a thought provoking play that can be appreciated by both Christians and non-Christians. “The play is more about brotherhood and friendship. There is religious content but it is not necessarily a religious play.”
Hibbard’s intent is to immerse the audience in the tension as well as the humorous interactions of men under stress by arranging seating at the same level with the actors as much as possible. The play is being presented in the largest of the school’s three theatres, but the O’Connell Theatre has been modified into a smaller and more intimate performance space.
The set was designed by Terrence McClellan, theatre design professor at NIU, to appear as a barracks, or woodworking shop, in the shape of a cross. The seating actually surrounds the cross in a similar manner to a theatre-in-the-round.
The show runs Sept. 27 through 30 and Oct. 3 through 7. Curtain times are Thursdays through Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. Reserved seat tickets are $14 for adults, $10 for seniors and $7 for students and can be purchased at the Stevens Building box office from 12:30 p.m. until 4:30 p.m., or by calling (815) 753-1600. For more information, visit www.niu.edu/theatre.
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