An original drama by a student playwright, a fantasy based on a children's classic and a multidisciplinary performance piece involving both movement and dialogue are opening this week in Salt Lake City. Also, a dinner-theater production of "Arms and the Man" is being presented at Utah Valley Community College in Orem.
-JAN NYSTROM'S first work as a playwright, "Sunrise Over the San Rafael Swell," will be presented Thursday through Sunday, May 10-13, in the Lab Theatre of the Performing Arts Building on the University of Utah campus.An MFA graduate student in creative writing and a native Utahn, Nystrom's work has been published in the Carolina Quarterly, Indiana Review and the North American Review.
"Sunrise Over the San Rafael Swell" represents a year-long collaboration between Nystrom, supervisor David Kranes, Utah playwright, and director Robin Wilkes.
The play is about two lovers, Jo and Nick (Andee L. Mason and Jason R. Novak), who become lost in the canyons of San Rafael during a weekend hiking trip together. Against the backdrop of a surrealistic environment, Jo attempts to salvage a seven-year relationship with Nick, who wants to leave her, but is guilt-ridden with memories of the other women in his life, including his mother, an aunt and an ex-wife.
The latter roles are played by Linda Littell, Lisa Reynolds and Milea Leding.
A silent chorus creates real and surreal images.
Wilkes believes that this play examines the way people treat each other and how the past influences change in such a way that we have to accept that change - no matter how difficult - and move on with our lives.
Curtain is 8 p.m. Thursday through Saturday and 7 p.m. on Sunday. There will also be a matinee on Friday at 5 p.m.
Tickets are available at the Pioneer Memorial Theatre building box office. The Performing Arts Building is adjacent to the campus bookstore.
For ticket information, call 581-6961.
-DANCE THEATRE COALITION will present "White Episodes" on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, May 11-13 and 18-20, at 8 p.m. at Another Language Performance Studio, 345 W. Pierpont Ave.
The work, described as a skewed look at domestic desires, has been created and is being performed by Carolyn Wood, Victoria M. Panella, Valerie Kittel and Marina Harris. The artists weave a dreamlike journey, interpreting the interior landscape of the home.
Wood, founding member of DTC, is a choreographer and actress and co-creator of Weirdstuff. She also writes and performs comedy for Desertaire, a KRCL Radio program, and was recently seen in TheatreWorks West's production of "Seascape."
Panella is also a founding member of DTC. She is managing director of Salt Lake Acting Company and has choreographed for Repertory Dance Theatre's summer dance workshops. She has served as movement consultant for several SLAC productions.
Harris has choreographed many works for RDT and other dance companies. She received two dance fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and has been a costumer for 16 years, designing for Bill T. Jones, RDT, Ririe-Woodbury and other companies.
Tickets, available at the door, are $7 for adults and $5 for students and senior citizens.
The Salt Lake Arts Council, Utah Arts Council and National Endowment for the Arts are co-sponsoring the performance.
-"THE VELVETEEN RABBIT," a children's classic by British author Margery Williams, will open Saturday, May 12, on City Reps's Jester Stage (upstairs), where it will continue for six weeks through June 23.
Written in 1922, the story centers on a stuffed toy rabbit and its young owner, James. The book was the author's first effort at writing for children and was a direct result of her own experiences as a young mother.
Directed by City Rep Artistic Director Joanne M. Parker, the cast includes Toni Davis in the title role; Jensen Rapp as James and Sherri Fox as Nana, and Stuart Mitchell as the Skin Horse, who gently teaches the rabbit what it means to become "real."
Others in the cast are Rosi Hayes, Annie Kleczkowski, Lloyd Mulvey, Heather Angles, Jaron Moore, Sara Moulton, Rob Pyper, Bonnie Bird and Amy Woolf.
Live accompaniment will be provided by Jon and Nancy Bush of the City Rep orchestra.
City Rep is in the Utah Theatre, 148 S. Main. Performance dates are May 12, 14, 19-21, 25-26 and June 8, 11, 16 and 22-23 at 7:30 p.m., with Saturday matinees at 2 p.m. on May 19 and June 2 and 9.
City Rep will also take the production to Orem for three benefit performances at the Ashton residence on June 11, 12 and 13 for the Orem City Public Library. Two weekday performances especially for schools have also been scheduled at the Utah Theatre.
Tickets are $6.50 for adults and $4.75 for children 16 and under. All seats are reserved. Call 532-6000 for advance reservations.
-UTAH VALLEY COMMUNITY COLLEGE will open "Arms and the Man" in a dinner theater performance Thursday, followed by 8 p.m. performances Friday, Saturday, and Monday, May 14, in the ballroom on the Orem Campus.
Director Kim I. Brewster said the play by George Bernard Shaw is referred to as "the first of his pleasant comedies." Robert Manning is cast as a Swiss mercenary soldier who seeks refuge in the bedroom of a young Bulgarian woman, played by Misti White. To complicate matters, she is engaged to the leader of the Bulgarian forces who is searching for the Swiss officer.
Others in the cast are Steven Briggs, Janie Bennett, Jane Williams, Bill Brown, and Mike Robinson.
Tickets for the dinner theater are $5 for students and $10 for non-students and must be purchased in advance from the student center.
Dinner begins at 6:30 p.m. For the regular performances at 8 p.m., tickets are $3 for students and $4 general admission and may be purchased at the door.