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UConn Advance

Plays deal with Nazi Germany, Othello Sequel
(February 28, 1997)

A Bright Room Called Day, presented by the Connecticut Repertory Theatre, opens tonight in the Harriet S. Jorgensen Theatre. The drama, by Tony Award-winning playwright Tony Kushner, runs through March 9.

The show is directed by Eric Hill, who last season directed CRT's highly acclaimed production of The Grapes of Wrath.

A Bright Room Called Day follows a circle of friends living in Berlin during the rise of the Nazi party in the 1930s. As they watch the horrors unfold around them, they feel powerless, and are unable to take effective action against the rising tide of evil.

The play sheds a new light on the modern world's most devastating example of what happens when otherwise good-minded people become fearful and alienated, Hill said.

Hill has worked as a professional actor and director for more than 16 years. He is artistic director of the Blue Hill Performance Ensemble, where he recently directed Medea. He was artistic director of Stage West in Springfield, Mass., and recently joined the acting faculty at UConn.

Performances of A Bright Room Called Day are at 8 p.m. today; 8 p.m. March 1; 7 p.m. March 5; 8 p.m. March 6-8; and 2 p.m. matinees March 8-9. For ticket information call 486-3969.

Fortunes of the Moor, a new play by Barbara and Carlton Molette, will run March 2-5 in the Mobius Theatre in the Drama/Music Building. Curtain is at 2 p.m. March 2, and at 8 p.m. March 4 and 5. Admission is free.

Directed by Allie Woods Jr., Fortunes of the Moor continues the story of Shakespeare's Othello, focusing on the struggle for custody of an infant born secretly to Othello and Desdemona. The newly orphaned child stands to inherit Othellos ' wealth, and rival claims for the boy arise between Desdemona's father and Othello's family. The struggles to overcome racial divisions and greed offer a parallel to contemporary society.

CRT has been involved in a developmental workshop for Fortunes of the Moor for about six weeks. The emphasis is on the development of the text, rather than on the creation of a finished production, said Gary M. English, CRT's artistic director. During the workshop period, the Molettes work closely with the director and actors, refining the script, writing new scenes and reworking or cutting others, English said. The process provides an opportunity for playwrights to bring their play to fruition and for students to work with professional artists in the process of developing a new play.

"The actors have been really devoted to this process" said Carlton Molette.

He is a professor of dramatic arts and senior fellow of the Institute for African-American Studies at UConn. Barbara Molette is a professor of English at Eastern Connecticut State University. The couple has collaborated on scholarly papers, workshops, articles, plays and a book, Black Theatre: Premise and Presentation.

Earlier versions of Fortunes of the Moor were presented at Western Michigan University, and in 1995 in an Equity Showcase at the Frank Silvera Writers' Workshop in New York, for which it received a 1995-96 Audelco Writers'/Directors' Award.

The director, Woods, has worked internationally as a director, producer, actor and playwright on more than 100 productions for stage and film.


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