The Illinois State University School of Theatre and Dance presents the 2017–2018 production season. Performances will be held on the campus of Illinois State University, with location, dates, and times listed for each show below.

Fall 2017

A Lie of the Mind
Written by Sam Shepard
Directed by Lori Adams
September 27 through 30 at 7:30 p.m.
September 30 and October 1 at 2 p.m.
Illinois State University, Center for the Performing Arts Theatre

Recently deceased Pulitzer-Prize winning playwright Sam Shepard wrote a body of work that spans over half a century. “One of the most important and influential writers of his generation, specialized in capturing the darker side of American family life” (New York Times critic, Ben Brantley).

A Lie of the Mind involves two desperate families connected by the marriage of the son of one to the daughter of the other. As the play progresses, the tensions between the two families grow increasingly disturbing and dangerous. By play’s end, “the family’s buried secrets eventually surface to demand confrontation; the truth of our experience collides with the lies of our minds” (Scholar, Lynda Hart).

Adapted by Ellen McLaughlin from the Sophocles original
Directed by Kristen Schoenback
October 13, 17, 19, 21, and 25 at 7:30 p.m.
October 14, 22, and 28 at 2 p.m.
Illinois State University, Westhoff Theatre

All’s Well That Ends Well
Written by William Shakespeare

Directed by Enrico Spada
October 14, 18, 20, 24, 26, and 28 at 7:30 p.m.
October 15 and 21 at 2 p.m.
Illinois State University, Westhoff Theatre

The School of Theatre and Dance presents two plays in rotating repertory in Westhoff Theatre from October 13 through October 28. Tickets are required for each production.

Ellen McLaughlin’s Oedipus, adapted from the Sophocles original, depicts a city in inexplicable crisis as Thebes is seized by plague, war, and famine. Desperate to save his people, Oedipus sends a messenger to the Oracle at Delphi. He discovers that their salvation rests solely on finding the murderer of the former king, Laius, who was brutally slain by a stranger at the crossroads years ago. As Oedipus searches for the truth and begins to unravel the mystery of the stranger’s identity, he unknowingly sets in motion the wheels of his own destruction.

William Shakespeare’s All’s Well That Ends Well is a bittersweet comedy of love, faith, and coming of age. The plot revolves around the young orphan Helen who seeks the love of her friend Bertram. Bertram hopes to make a name for himself in the wars—out of his late father’s shadow. Their paths diverge and intersect as they adventure from the French court to the Italian wars to win their desires—while avoiding the influence of the cowardly braggart, Parolles, who is not the man he pretends to be.

She Kills Monsters
Written by Qui Nguyen

Directed by Paul Dennhardt
October 27 through 28 at 7:30 p.m.
October 29 at 2 p.m.
October 31 through November 3 at 7:30 p.m.
November 4 at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
Illinois State University, Center for the Performing Arts Theatre

She Kills Monsters is the story of Agnes Evans who, after the death of her teenage sister, Tilly, discovers Tilly’s Dungeons and Dragons (D&D) module, or map, for a Dungeons and Dragons adventure that Tilly created. Agnes decides to play the game and embarks on an epic, comedic journey of discovery and action-filled fantasy role playing in the imaginary story that Tilly created as a world of wish fulfillment.

The imaginary monsters Tilly battles in the D&D world are metaphors for the true monsters of her high school world: bigotry, bullying, gender and sexual orientation discrimination, fear, indifference, and intolerance. Through this journey, Agnes discovers the true soul of her sister as well as the geek and warrior within herself.

Fall Dance Concert
Directed by Sara Semonis

November 30 through December 2 at 7:30 p.m.
December 2 at 2 p.m.
Illinois State University, Center for the Performing Arts Theatre

The Fall Dance Concert will highlight new choreographic works by Illinois State University dance faculty and invited guest artists, and feature student performances by members of the Dance Theatre ensemble. The production will showcase several different genres of dance, from contemporary styles to classical ballet.

 Spring 2018

Mr. Burns, a Post-Electric Play
Written by Anne Washburn

Directed by Kristin Schoenback
February 16, 17, and 20 through 24, 7:30 p.m.
February 17 and 18 at 2 p.m.
Illinois State University, Westhoff Theatre

The first act takes place shortly after an unspecified apocalyptic event. A group of survivors gather together and attempt to recount the episode “Cape Feare” from the television show The Simpsons. The second act picks up seven years later with the same group, who have now formed a theatrical troupe that specializes in performing Simpsons episodes, with commercials and all. The final act is set 75 years in the future. The same episode of The Simpsons, now a familiar myth, has been reworked into a musical pageant, with the story, characters, and morals repurposed to fit the artistic and dramatic needs of a culture still reeling from destruction of civilization and the near-extinction of humanity decades earlier.

Così fan tutte, ossia La scuola degli amanti, K. 588 (1790)
(Thus Do They All, or The School for Lovers)
Sung in Italian and English

Music by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Libretto by Lorenzo Da Ponte
Directed by Joe McDonnell
March 2, 3, and 6 through 9 at 7:30 p.m.
March 4 at 2 p.m.
Illinois State University, Center for the Performing Arts Theatre

The opera begins with a wily, old cynic and experimental philosopher, Don Alfonso, who determines to overturn the perfect, formulaic worlds of two young men, named Ferrando and Gugliemo. He bets them that their respective fiancées would not stay faithful if put to the test, and the challenge is accepted. Before long, fiancees (and sisters) Fiordiligi and Dorabella discover that their lovers are leaving to “go to war,” and two handsome strangers (Ferrando and Gugliemo, in disguise) arrive on a mission of seduction. With the help of the cunning Despina, Don Alfonso ups the ante and throws increasingly extreme situations at all four lovers. As they begin to react emotionally, each character cannot help but reveal—and discover—who they really are. With certainty a distant memory, who knows how the story will end?

Cosi fan tutte is a co-production between the School of Music and the School of Theatre and Dance.

The Illusion
Written by Pierre Corneille and adapted by Tony Kushner

Directed by Enrico Spada
March 30 and 31, and April 3 through 7 at 7:30 p.m.
March 31 at 2 p.m.
Illinois State University, Westhoff Theatre

In Tony Kushner’s modern-verse adaptation of Pierre Corneille’s L’Illusion Comique, romantic heroes, rivals, lovers, and sidekicks learn vital truths about love, life, and the illusions we hold dear. The story revolves around a rigid and withholding father who seeks the help of the magician, Alcandre, to discover the fate of his long-lost son. Alcandre complies, and after several false starts, passionate re-enactments, comic delusions and confusions, the truth is finally revealed.

Balm in Gilead
Written by Lanford Wilson

Directed by John Tovar
April 13, 14, 17 through 21 at 7:30 p.m.
April 15 at 2 p.m.
Illinois State University, Center for the Performing Arts Theatre

Illinois State alumnus John Malkovich received an Obie Award and an Outer Critics Circle Award for the 1985 revival of this Lanford Wilson play. Laurie Metcalf, also an Illinois State alum, won the 1985 Obie Award for her performance in this gritty drama. Set in 1965 in an all-night greasy spoon cafe in New York City’s upper Broadway neighborhood, the characters are the riff-raff, the bums, the petty thieves, and the lost. At the play’s center are Joe, a cynical drug dealer, and Darlene, a naïve new arrival to the big city.

Spring Dance Concert
Directed by Darby Wilde
April 26 through 29 at 7:30 p.m.
April 28 at 2 p.m.
Illinois State University, Westhoff Theatre

An eclectic collection of dances choreographed by Illinois State University dance faculty and invited guest artists, the Spring Dance Concert promises to keep you at the edge of your seat. Witness the athletic virtuosity of the dancers in an intimate, thrust space.

For tickets or information, contact the College of Fine Arts Box Office, located in the Illinois State University Center for the Performing Arts, open from 11 a.m.–5 p.m., Monday through Friday, at (309) 438-2535, or purchase tickets online by visiting Inquire with the box office staff for special ticket rates for students, seniors, and Illinois State University faculty and staff. Performance parking is available for free in spots 250 and above at the School Street Parking Deck, located at 400 West Beaufort Street in Normal.