The Glacity Theatre Collective has a number of dedicated audience members. One of them recently decided to give something back to the company — a new play.Not everyone knows that Dr. William McMillen, UT provost and executive vice president for academic affairs, has a creative writing background. When he announced a year ago to Glacity Executive Director Holly Monsos that he was writing a play for the company, she was pleased and surprised.
“I know how busy he is, and I didn’t expect to see a draft soon, if ever,” she said.
Last February, the first act of “Exhibition” arrived in her email, followed by the remainder of the play a month later. Members of the collective then gathered at her home to read through it with the playwright.
“It didn’t need any work at all,” recalled Dr. Ed Lingan, UT assistant professor of theatre and Glacity dramaturg. “Most playwrights hear things they want to change after a new work is read aloud, but this script was ready to go. It’s the sort of play that any theatre company would kill for — intriguing premise, compelling characters, and though written to be done in a gallery, it could be easily produced in any kind of space, theatrical or not.”
The collective members agreed that a gallery setting would be ideal. The production is part of “CVA Project Space 2012,” which features a photography exhibit and later drawings.The play is composed of three scenes that focus on a couple, Sharon and Raymond, at key points in their married life: their engagement, in the midst of raising children, and after the children have grown and gone. Each couple is played by a different pair of actors and though the characters at the focus of each scene are not aware of it, their older and younger selves also are onstage, providing depth and nuance to each story as it unfolds in real time under the disinterested eye of a security guard.
The cast features UT theatre students Brian Purdue and Chellsea Cutino as the newly engaged couple; Dr. Ben Pryor, UT dean of the College of Innovative Learning and assistant provost, and UT theatre alumna Jennifer Lake as the couple in mid-life; and Dave DeChristopher, UT assistant professor of theatre, and Pamela Tomassetti as the couple late in their marriage. James Ham, UT student services counselor in Learning Ventures, plays the security guard.
Cornel Gabara, UT assistant professor of theatre, is directing the production; Dr. Lee Heritage, UT associate professor of music, composed the music, which will be performed by Dr. Denise Ritter Bernardini, UT assistant professor of music; James S. Hill, UT professor and chair of theatre and film, designed the set and lighting; and Monsos, UT associate dean of the College of Visual and Performing Arts, designed the costumes.
“Exhibition” will open Friday, Jan. 27, at 8 p.m. in the Center for the Visual Arts Gallery on UT’s Toledo Museum of Art Campus. Performances will continue Saturday and Sunday, Jan. 28 and 29, and Friday through Sunday, Feb. 3-5. Friday and Saturday performances will be at 8 p.m., and Sunday performances will be at 2 pm. Doors open one half hour prior to curtain.
Tickets for the play are $20 and are available at glacity.tix.com or at the door. Seating is very limited. For the “pay what you can” matinee Sunday, Jan. 29, tickets will be available at the door only and payable by cash or check.
For more information, go to glacity.org.