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UToledo Theatre Assistant Professor’s Work Plays in Chicago

An adaptation of Erich Maria Remarque’s classic novel, “All Quiet on the Western Front,” by Matt Foss, UToledo assistant professor of theatre, will receive its professional premiere in Chicago Friday, Aug. 16.

It will open the season of Red Tape Theatre and is a co-production between Red Tape, the Greenhouse Theatre Center, and The University of Toledo, and run through Saturday, Sept. 14.

The production represents a unique collaboration between a public university and professional theatre, allowing a showcasing of work incubated in Toledo to be shared with a larger audience.

Along with Chicago-based professional actors and designers, Stephen Sakowski, UToledo assistant professor, is serving as the production’s lighting designer, and recent UToledo graduates Austin Rambo and Bianca Caniglia round out the acting ensemble.

The story is centered on the experiences of 2nd Company on the German Front lines during the last year of World War I as they navigate the vicious cycle of tedium, boredom behind the lines, and constant terror when installed in the trenches at the font. The adaptation closely follows the events of the novel, as the central storyteller, Paul, speaks to the loss of friends, the deepening of human connections, and the growing realization of what is true and what is not in the face of war.

“It speaks to the cycles of history from which we are charged to learn, and our approach to the play seeks to gather the threads of this cycle — from the time of Remarque’s writing and to our immediate present,” Foss said.

The play was created with permission and in association with the Remarque estate and was initially produced at The University of Toledo on the 100th anniversary of the end of WWI last November. It featured a set design by student Kevin Upham, sound by student Ryan Peters-Hieber, and costumes by Lecturer Kelly McBane.

Red Tape Theatre is a free venue committed to the creation of new and experimental work through collaborations with ensembles, playwrights, musicians, dancers and visual artists.
All tickets are free to every performance and can be reserved through the Red Tape Theatre website.

Foss is no stranger to the Chicago theatre scene. His work as a director and adaptor there has received critical praise, and his own production of his adaptation of Upton Sinclair’s groundbreaking exposé novel about the working conditions in the meat-packing industry, “The Jungle,” received multiple Joseph Jefferson Award nominations for best production, best director and received the city’s top theatre prize for best new adaptation.

“The Jungle” will open UToledo’s Theatre season in November.

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