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September 17, 2008
Contact: Press & Media Relations Coordinator (703-993-8794)

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Presents a Staged Reading of


By Alan Bennett

Directed by Kevin Murray

Tuesday, Sept. 23, 2008 at 7:30 p.m.

Old Town Village in the City of Fairfax

Sponsored by Fall for the Book


FAIRFAX, Va., Sept. 16, 2008Theater of the First Amendment, George Mason University’s professional theater company, presents a staged reading of Alan Bennett’s hilarious farce "Habeas Corpus" at the Old Town Village Gallery on Tuesday, Sept. 23 at 7:30 p.m. Directed by Kevin Murray, the reading is a part of the Fall for the Book festival, an annual literary festival organized by the University and the City of Fairfax.

"Habeas Corpus" (for those unfamiliar with English Common Law, the term is Latin for “you should have the body”) highlights the sexual excesses of the British middle classes in the 1960s. Britannia may have once ruled the waves, but now it’s the early 1970s, and the Empire is forced to look in the mirror. It’s not a pretty sight; its old duds are either a little tight at the crotch, bursting at the seams, or out of style. So what else is there to do then but start dropping your knickers? The Guardian called the play "a gorgeously vulgar … densely plotted farce that is a celebration of sex and the human body … a combination of hurtling action with verbal brilliance.”

Alan Bennett – author of "The Uncommon Reader," this year’s “All Fairfax Reads” selection – has been a household name in British theater ever since he starred and co-authored the satirical review "Beyond the Fringe" with Dudley Moore, Peter Cooke and Jonathan Miller in 1960 at the Edinburgh Festival. Later the same show played to packed houses in London’s West End and in New York. With such works to his credit as "The Madness of George III" and "History Boys," he is now regarded by many as the premiere English dramatist of his generation.


There will be a brief intermission.

The THEATER OF THE FIRST AMENDMENT’S staged reading of "HABEAS CORPUS" is FREE. The Old Town Village Gallery is located at North Street and Chain Bridge Road in downtown Fairfax. Free parking is available in the parking garage on University Drive. Old Town Village provides many opportunities to enjoy food and beverage before or after the performance, or during intermission.

For complete information about the 2008 Fall for the Book festival, please visit

Theater of the First Amendment

In celebration of truly free speech, TFA’s mission is to provide playwrights the resources to explore and create new work, and to provide audiences the opportunity to experience thought-provoking plays. Our motto is “We entertain ideas.” TFA was founded in 1990 as the resident professional theater for George Mason University. To date, TFA has produced 40 plays (most of which have been world premieres) and 5 play festivals. The Helen Hayes Awards have nominated TFA’s work 36 times and have bestowed 12 awards on our work.

About Fall for the Book

Fall for the Book, Northern Virginia’s oldest and largest celebration of the literary arts, is presented by the Fairfax County Public Library Northern Virginia Electric Cooperative, and George Mason University’s College of Humanities and Social Sciences and Office of University Life, in partnership with WJLA-TV ABC 7, the Association of Writers and Writing Programs, The Fairfax County Public Library Foundation, the City of Fairfax, ExxonMobil, the Friends of the Fairfax City Regional Library, Friends of the George Mason Library, Friends of the Reston Regional Library, Provident Bank, the Alexandria Library, the Claude Moore Foundation, CompuTech, Dominion Virginia Power, Harper Wealth Management, Hunton & Williams, Northern Virginia Magazine, the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, Potomac Bank of Virginia, the Writer’s Center and the George Mason University Business Alliance.

About George Mason University

George Mason University, located in the heart of Northern Virginia’s technology corridor near Washington, D.C., is an innovative, entrepreneurial institution with national distinction in a range of academic fields. With strong undergraduate and graduate degree programs in engineering, information technology, biotechnology and health care, Mason prepares its students to succeed in the work force and meet the needs of the region and the world. Mason professors conduct groundbreaking research in areas such as cancer, climate change, information technology and the biosciences, and Mason’s Center for the Arts brings world-renowned artists, musicians and actors to its stage. Its School of Law is recognized by U.S. News & World Report as one of the top 35 law schools in the United States.