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College of Liberal Arts

University of Mississippi

UM Theater Department Ready to Break a Leg for 2011 Spring Semester

The University of Mississippi theater department has big plans for performances this semester, with students not only acting but also taking on more roles behind the scenes.


“This is the first time we’ve been able to showcase students’ directing and writing work, and I think it’ll be great,” Carey Hanson, interim chair of the theater department, said.

“The Uganda Project: Come & See — Go & Tell,” created by two UM instructors, is based on their missionary work with the people of Uganda.

Dance professor Jennifer Mizenko and assistant professor of art Brooke White have combined their photography and choreography to capture their experiences in Uganda. Their goal is to communicate their experiences through the performance of UM’s Mississippi: The Dance Company.

The students will perform Mizenko’s choreography in Ugandan attire in front of a projection of the photography to tell a story of the Ugandan people.

“For me, there are two main goals for this production: One, the Bishop asked me to ‘Come’ to Uganda and then ‘Go’ back to Mississippi and ‘Tell’ what I saw — thus the name of the production,” Mizenko said.

“Two, I am fusing modern dance with physical theater principles and photography, creating a fusion of different art forms. It’s the first time I’ve attempted this on a large scale, and I am very excited to see how it all comes together into one piece of art.”

“The Uganda Project” will be shown at 8 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 17 through Saturday, Feb. 19., in Fulton Chapel. A matinee performance will be held at 2 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 20.

The next event planned, “Two New One Acts,” will consist of two separate plays. The first play, “Dollhouse,” was written by UM alumnus Derek Van Barham and will be directed by UM theater student Sam Damare.

“’Dollhouse’ is a short one-act play about an artistically-driven couple, Mark and David, and their journey to try to adopt a child,” Damare said. “Mark, the writer of the two, is writing the play, as the audience watches, to convince his partner David, the singer, that they would be good parents for a child.”

“This is a wonderful show about a couple who is trying to save their relationship while humanizing an otherwise alternative lifestyle,” Damare said.

The second play, “Young Blood,” created and directed by Anna Donnell, will be based on the ups and downs of modern student life.

“I began working on my one-act this summer in Chicago,” Donnell said. “I was working on my honors college thesis by observing and interviewing a collaborative Latina theater group called ‘Teatro Luna.’

“These women used their personal stories to write and create a show that was unique and relevant. After observing their process, I decided to bring the process they used to put together a show at Ole Miss.”

“Two New One Acts” will be performed Tuesday, March 29 through Sunday, April 3 at 8 p.m. and Saturday, April 2 through Sunday, April 3 at 2 p.m. in the Meek Hall auditorium.

In the first annual “An Evening of Cinema,” The University of Mississippi Cinema Competition will present the work of its winners, Jordan Berger and Houston Settle, with their short film “The Ninth Floor.”

The event will also show work from the competition’s runners-up, with Lauryn DuValle and Alla Jeanae Frank’s “Pickett” and Britt Allen’s “Circulation.”

Award-winning short film “Silent Radio,” by professor Alan Arrivee, will also be shown.

“An Evening of Cinema” will take place in Fulton Chapel at 7 p.m. on Thursday, April 7 through Saturday, April 9.

The final event of the semester will be Rachel Sheinkin’s Tony Award-winning musical comedy “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee.” Directed by assistant professor Rory Ledbetter, the show tells the story of a middle school spelling bee.

“The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee” will show at 8 p.m. Thursday, May 5 through Saturday, May 7, and at 2 p.m. Saturday, May 7 through Sunday, May 8 in Fulton Chapel.

Tickets are available at the UM Box Office in the Student Union which can be reached at 662-915-7411. For more information, contact Carey Hanson in the main office of Isom.