Press Room

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GMU PLAYERS AND DEPARTMENT OF THEATER PRESENT TENNESSEE WILLIAMS' "ORPHEUS DESCENDING"

February 17, 2010
Contact: Press & Media Relations Coordinator (703-993-8794)

For general information about tickets, seating, parking, etc., for performances and events happening at the Center for the Arts, please contact the ticket office directly at 703-993-2787.

GMU PLAYERS AND THE DEPARTMENT OF THEATER

PRESENT

TENNESSEE WILLIAMS’ “ORPHEUS DESCENDING”

DIRECTED BY KRISTIN JOHNSEN-NESHATI

Free Preview: March 3 at 8 p.m.

March 4-6 at 8 p.m., March 6-7 at 2 p.m.

Post-performance discussion to follow the performance on March 6 at 2 p.m.

TheatreSpace

FAIRFAX, Va., Feb. 17, 2010 – GMU Players and George Mason University’s Department of Theater present Tennessee Williams’ 1957 American classic “Orpheus Descending” at TheatreSpace on Mason’s Fairfax Campus on March 4-6 at 8 p.m. and March 6-7 at 2 p.m. There will be a free preview of the performance on March 3 at 8 p.m., and a post-performance discussion following the performance on March 6 at 2 p.m.

“Orpheus Descending” is set in a small southern town, not far from Williams’ ancestral home of Clarksdale, Miss. The story tells the tale of Val, a young musician with a guitar, good looks and a questionable past, who wanders into a conventional small town and takes a job at a store run by a middle-aged woman named Lady, who has a past of her own and a loveless marriage with an elderly husband who is dying. Lady becomes entranced with Val and is tempted by the possibility of a new life that he seems to offer. Underscored by mountain music and Delta Blues, this retelling of the Greek legend of the musician and poet Orpheus and his bride Eurydice tests the endurance of art, love, truth and justice through a drifting musician’s chance arrival and a townswoman’s offer to take him in.

The legendary author of such works as “A Streetcar Named Desire,” “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof” and “The Glass Menagerie,” Tennessee Williams is among the most beloved and prolific playwrights in American history. He was the recipient of four Drama Critic Circle Awards, two Pulitzer Prizes and the Presidential Medal of Freedom. His plays have appeared on Broadway and many were made into major motion pictures, including “Orpheus Descending,” which was adapted into the film “The Fugitive Kind,” directed by Sidney Lumet in 1959.  A revival starring Vanessa Redgrave was also adapted as a television movie. While Williams’ plays earned him critical success and numerous honors, his life was plagued by depression and drug and alcohol abuse. He died on Feb. 24, 1983 at the Hotel Elysee in New York City.

The GMU Players ensemble is a dynamic faculty-directed, student organization within the theater department. The Mainstage Series provides students the opportunity to work directly with Mason theater faculty and guest artists, while the Studio Series is selected, directed and designed by students. The GMU Players produce eight productions each season. Director and professor Kristin Johnsen-Neshati has taught on the 
theater faculty of George Mason University since 1993. In addition to 
her work as a translator, director and writer, Johnsen-Neshati 
serves as dramaturg/artistic associate for Theater of the First Amendment, where she has worked on more than 30 productions and 
workshops. She is the recipient of the KC/ACTF Criticism Faculty Fellowship to the Critics Conference at the Eugene O'Neill Theater 
Center and Mason's Fenwick Fellowship. She holds a B.A. in 
Russian and theater from Swarthmore College, and M.F.A. and D.F.A. degrees in dramaturgy and dramatic criticism from the Yale School of Drama.


 

Tickets are $12. ($8 For students, seniors and GMU faculty/staff)

Limited free tickets available for GMU students.

All performances are in TheatreSpace. Free parking available in adjacent surface lots on weekends, paid parking available in the Mason Pond Parking Deck. Tickets may be purchased at the door one hour prior to the performance. To purchase tickets by phone, or for directions, please contact the Center for the Arts Box Office at (703) 993-8888.

For information on group sales, please call Kimberly Schall at (703) 993-8600

For Information on the GMU Theater Department or the GMU Players, please call (703)-993-1120. 

About Great Performances at Mason

Great Performances at Mason is a program of George Mason University's Center for the Arts, the professional presentation and production arm of the College of Visual and Performing Arts (CVPA). CVPA provides an academic environment in which the arts are explored as individual disciplines and interdisciplinary forms that strengthen one another. The college prepares students for careers as creators, performers, teachers, scholars, arts leaders and arts entrepreneurs. Understanding that an education in the arts is deepened by regular contact with the work of distinguished visiting artists, the Center for the Arts, the professional presentation and production arm of the college, welcomes a variety of professional and world-renowned artists, musicians and actors to its stage. Students have the opportunity to perform, create and exhibit their work in a wide variety of public venues including a 2,000-seat Concert Hall. CVPA is home to the Schools of Music, Dance and Art, the Department of Theater, as well as the Computer Game Design, Arts Management and Film and Video Studies programs.

About George Mason University

Named the #1 national university to watch in the 2009 rankings of U.S. News & World Report, George Mason University is an innovative, entrepreneurial institution with global distinction in a range of academic fields. Located in Northern Virginia near Washington, D.C., Mason provides students access to diverse cultural experiences and the most sought-after internships and employers in the country.  Mason offers strong undergraduate and graduate degree programs in engineering and information technology, organizational psychology, health care and visual and performing arts. With Mason professors conducting groundbreaking research in areas such as climate change, public policy and the biosciences, George Mason University is a leading example of the modern, public university.