Northern Illinois University

NIU Office of Public Affairs

News Release

Contact: David W. Booth / Elizabeth Granger, NIU School of Theatre and Dance
(815) 753-1337

February 5, 2008

Editor's Note: This event has been cancelled to the tragedy that took place on our campus Feb. 14, 2008.

NIU School of Theatre and Dance celebrates
Valentine’s Day with ‘This Side of Paradise’

DeKalb — Anyone who has ever been in love, wants to be in love, or wants to remember what it feels like to fall in love should bring their Valentine to the School of Theatre and Dance’s next Studio Series production “This Side of Paradise: NIU’s Tribute to Romantic Comedy.”

Conveniently opening Thursday, Feb. 14, the event is a tribute to love and Paris, or going to Paris to find love.

The highlight of “This Side of Paradise” will be a staged reading of the rarely seen romantic comedy Paris Bound by Philip Barry.

Thursday and Friday performances will begin with a pre-show screening of Katharine Hepburn films about love. “Holiday” will be featured Thursday night, and “Philadelphia Story” on Friday.

The event will begin in the lobby of the Stevens Building Thursday and Friday, and the audience will be escorted to the Corner Theatre for the remainder of the performance. The event will be held entirely in the lobby Saturday and Sunday.

Director and associate professor Christopher Markle promises this event will be unlike any other production in DeKalb this year, and offers $5 to anyone who does not laugh or smile at least once during the show.

“People at NIU aren’t aware of the jewel that is in front of them. This is one of the best acting schools in the country, right here in DeKalb,” Markle said.

“This Side of Paradise” will be an event with music, dancing and choreography done by dance professor Paula Frasz, and prologue music by Cole Porter.

Frasz teaches choreography, improvisation, and a professional seminar in dance as well as advanced tap. She is also the co-artistic director of dance for DanceLoop Chicago, a non-profit organization in its first year of operation. Frasz has received several significant awards in dance, such as the 1999 Ruth Page Award for Artistic Achievement in Choreography.

Also assisting Markle with the production is Professor Deborah Robertson, theatre movement specialist and director of the undergraduate acting program at NIU. A seasoned actress and dancer, as well as highly distinguished choreographer and movement coach, one of Robertson’s specialties, Markle said, are the Salons she puts on.

Salons are exercises for actors where they get into character and practice movement and cultural style techniques and interact with one another. They are open to the public, and Markle said people are often fascinated to learn how actors prepare to do what they do. “This Side of Paradise” is part of the highly structured training for junior BFA actors.

“The actors try to embody the experience of falling in love for the audience to compare their own experience to,” Markle said. “At the end of the day, if I can fly away into my imagination and remember how falling in love felt when I was 18, that is what this production is all about.”

“This Side of Paradise” plays February 14 through 17. Performances are at 7:30 p.m. Thursday through Sunday. Tickets are $5 and available only at the door. For more information, contact the School of Theatre and Dance box office at (815) 753-1600.

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