The Illinois State University School of Theatre and Dance and the Crossroads Project will present Ali Salem’s The Coffee Bar and Griselda Gambaro’s The Walls opening October 21, in the University’s Westhoff Theatre.

Performances of The Coffee Bar and The Walls will take place at 7:30 p.m. October 21-22 and October 25-29, and at 2 p.m. October 23.

Tickets are $12 for adults and $10 for students, seniors, and Illinois State faculty and staff. For tickets or additional information, contact the College of Fine Arts Box Office, located in the Illinois State University Center for the Performing Arts, open 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, at (309) 438-2535, or purchase tickets online by visiting

Directed by Janet Wilson and Bruce Burningham, these two one-act plays are set in two different parts of the world. The Coffee Bar is set in Cairo, Egypt, where an author and producer meet to discuss the potential production of the author’s play. The third character in this absurdist comedy is a coffee bar attendant who menacingly serves more than just coffee. The Walls is set in Buenos Aires, Argentina, where a young man is invited by a government functionary to remain a guest in a well-appointed room whose walls mysteriously move ever closer. The third character in this darkly surreal play is the usher who alternates between obsequiousness and hostility. These two one-act plays examine the eerily similar power dynamics between characters who are playing their prescribed roles within the “system.”

Wilson recalls, “When I read The Coffee Bar I was drawn to it. Then, when I read The Walls months later, it occurred to me that the two plays—though continents apart—would make a great pairing.” Agreeing wholeheartedly, Bruce Burningham added, “Not only am I thrilled to see a Latin American play produced as part of this season, but the connection with The Coffee Bar shows that the issues explored in The Walls are not particular to just one place or time.” Wilson continues, “The current political landscape in the United States makes both of these plays timely and thought-provoking.”