WMU News

University Theatre season opens with 'God's Country'

Sept. 17, 2004

KALAMAZOO--"God's Country," a play that examines hate crimes and domestic terrorism, opens Sept. 23 for seven performances in York Arena Theatre at Western Michigan University.

Shows begin at 8 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, Sept. 23-25 and Sept. 30-Oct. 2, and at 2 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 26. An opening night reception sponsored by Galley Subs takes place following the Sept. 23 performance, and a post-show discussion with the director and cast is scheduled for Sept. 30.

In 1983, a group of men formed an association to foment white revolution in the American Northwest. They called themselves "The Order," and developed a program of fraud, theft, and murder to overthrow American government in favor of building an Aryan homeland. "God's Country" is the story of their crimes, their trial, and their motives.

Playwright Steven Dietz wrote "God's Country" in the late 1980's on commission for A Contemporary Theatre in Seattle, and uses a courtroom setting and witness testimony to dissect the white supremacy movement in America. The play focuses on the events surrounding the murder of The Order's best known victim, Denver radio personality Alan Berg. Despite containing unsettling ideas and adult language, "God's Country" is a timely exploration of violence commited the name of religion and cultural identity.

"God's Country" is directed by Mark Liermann, assistant professor of theatre, who resided in Colorado during the heyday of The Order. The cast includes WMU seniors Michael Bowlin and Kurt Pickelman; juniors Jessica Cerutti, George Frye, Kathryn Hribar and Dayna Woodhams; and sophomores Paul Culos, Evan Lipkin, Seth Miller and Michael Todd, Jr.

Tickets for God's Country may be purchased by calling the University Theatre Ticket Office at (269) 387-6222, open weekdays noon to 5 p.m. All seating is general admission and tickets are $16. WMU faculty, staff and students receive discounts on tickets to all University Theatre productions. Tickets are also available through the box offices at Miller Auditorium and the Epic Center in downtown Kalamazoo.

The 2004-05 University Theatre season is made possible through a partnership with Millennium Restaurant Group.

Media contact: Patrick Donnelly, 269 387-6222, patrick.donnelly@wmich.edu

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