The Illinois State University School of Theatre presents a diverse fall 2011 Mainstage Season that will include Shakespearean and Greek classics, an American absurdist comedy, a French farce and a modern tragedy inspired by a true story.

The season will open with Deborah Breevoort’s drama The Women of Lockerbie, running from Sept. 30 – Oct. 8 in the University’s Center for the Performing Arts. Breevoort, a renowned playwright whose work has been performed internationally to great acclaim, will visit campus for several lectures and participate in an audience talkback immediately following the Oct. 4 performance. This play was inspired by the fact that after the crash of Pam Am Flight 103 in Lockerbie, Scotland, the women of the town washed 11,000 articles of clothing from the plane’s wreckage and returned them to the victim’s families. Coinciding with the production, the School of Theatre will be holding a charitable clothing drive with a goal of collecting 11,000 articles of clothing, the same amount retrieved by the real Women of Lockerbie.

Running concurrently with The Women of Lockerbie will be Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice, playing Sept. 29 – Oct. 8 in Westhoff Theatre. A Venetian merchant, Antonio, willing to sacrifice anything for a dear friend, agrees to offer his own flesh as collateral in a deal with his bitter rival Shylock, a Jewish money lender. When the loan comes due, it falls to a young heiress named Portia, disguised as a male lawyer, to plead for Antonio’s life. Using the bustling pre-Depression era as a backdrop, this production will use Shakespeare’s classic to challenge prejudices and fears about religion, gender, ethnicity, and sexuality.

Up next will be a production of Euripedes’ classic, Electra, performed in the newly renovated intimate theatre located in Centennial West 207. Performances will run Oct. 13 – 22. In this work by the most psychological — and thus most modern — of the Greek tragic playwrights, a daughter laments the death of her father and conspires with her brother to bring down his killers — their own mother and her lover.

The month of November will bring two comedies to the Illinois State University stages. Christopher Durang’s absurdist comedy The Marriage of Bette and Boo, running in Westhoff Theatre from Nov. 3 – 12, gives the audience insight into the lives of one family as they struggle with marriage, pregnancies, addiction and illness. Admittedly autobiographical, the play expertly weaves comedy and tragedy in an award-winning work that has been hailed as Durang’s masterpiece.

Running Nov. 4 – 12 in the Center for Performing Arts will be A Flea in Her Ear, a comedy with an international flair by Georges Feydeau. Set in Paris at the turn of the century, this farce springs from a wife’s doubts about her husband’s fidelity and her scheme to entrap him.

The Fall Mainstage season will conclude with an end-of-semester tradition: a production by the School of Theatre’s Dance program Dec. 8 – 10. The student dancers will perform a range of modern and classical dance pieces choreographed by faculty and students, led by Artistic Director Sara Semonis.

Tickets for these productions can be purchased at the College of Fine Arts Box Office, located in the Center for the Performing Arts, open from 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. Monday through Thursday and noon. – 5 p.m. on Friday, or by calling (309) 438-2535. Tickets can also be ordered online at

For more information about the School of Theatre, visit their website at or connect with them on Facebook and Twitter.