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Summer Arts Festival 2008, Department of Theatre Arts present The Gin Game


   

Sue Ott Rowlands Sue Ott Rowlands

BLACKSBURG, Va., June 9, 2008 – Virginia Tech Department of Theatre Arts presents The Gin Game, directed by Department of Theatre Arts faculty Gregory Justice.

Performances are at 7 p.m. on June 21, 22, 26, 27, and 28 and on June 29 at 2 p.m. in the Squires Studio Theatre.

Recommended for mature audiences, The Gin Game was first produced on Broadway in October 1977 and starred Hume Cronyn and Jessica Tandy. The play is about a woman, Fonsia Dorsey, in her twilight years who enters a "home for the aged" and is, for a while, saved from melancholy by the crusty charm of Weller Martin. The sardonic Weller, portrayed by Department of Theatre Arts faculty David Johnson, cajoles Fonsia, portrayed by College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences dean Sue Ott Rowlands into playing a series of gin games on the home's sunlit porch. As they seemingly become close companions, much is revealed about their respective regret-filled lives – to the steady shuffling and playing of cards. Their mutual need for solace is momentarily satisfied, until Weller's pent-up rage, and Fonsia's subtle needling, builds to a terrible confrontation.

The Gin Game was playwright D. L. Coburn's first play, and in 1978, it garnered four Tony nominations and a Pulitzer Prize for Drama. Coburn, a Baltimore native, has written many other plays including Bluewater Cottage (1979), Guy (1983), Noble Adjustment (1985), Fear of Darkness (1995), and The Cause (1998). Additionally, he has written television pilots for CBS and ABC and several screenplays including Flights of Angels (1987), A Virgin Year (1991) and Legal Access (1994).

In addition to Virginia Tech, Ohio State University, and the University of Toledo, Rowlands has been on the faculties of university and professional training programs throughout the country including Circle-in-the-Square, New York University, The Actor's Space, The American Musical and Dramatic Academy in New York City, Western Maryland College, Webster University in St. Louis, and The Cleveland Play House.

Johnson has directed over thirty plays at Virginia Tech with the most recent production being the highly successful comedy Dr. Arlecchino, or the Imaginary Autopsy in fall 2007. His primary interest in the last few years has been international theatre. He has conducted theatre projects in Russia, Crete, Switzerland, and Italy, working with artists from those countries as well as from England and Bosnia.

Justice, who began teaching at Virginia Tech in 1983, has directed over 30 productions. He has acted in over 100 productions in Virginia, Pennsylvania, Utah, and Montana. Justice serves as undergraduate coordinator for the Department of Theatre Arts. Additionally, he offers workshops and executive coaching on "The Art of Business: Using Acting Techniques in Presentations, Sales and Corporate Communication" for businesses and business organizations throughout the state and region.

A gift of art, music, and theatre to the community, the 17th Annual Summer Arts Festival is a joint presentation by the Virginia Tech School of the Arts and the Town of Blacksburg. For more information on this and other events happening this summer, visit the Summer Arts Festival 2008 website call Jane Harrison at the Virginia Tech School of the Arts at (540) 231- 5921.