WMU News

Controversial production 'Eden' staged in Shaw Theatre

Feb. 19, 2003

KALAMAZOO -- University Theatre presents "Eden," a controversial play by Steve Carter, for seven performances between Feb. 20 and March 1 in Laura V. Shaw Theatre at Western Michigan University.

Six evening performances, all beginning at 8 p.m., are scheduled for Thursday through Saturday, Feb. 20-22 and Feb. 27-March 1. A Sunday, Feb.23, matinee begins at 2 p.m. An opening night reception sponsored by TCBY follows the Feb. 20 performance. A post-show discussion with the cast and production team follows the Feb. 23 matinee.

"Eden" explores the lives of two families in 1920s New York during the political upheaval of Marcus Garvey's protest of black discrimination. A father struggles to keep his West Indian traditions alive, while his children desire to become more "Americanized."

Directing "Eden" for the second time is Von Washington, professor of theatre and director of multicultural theatre.

"When choosing a production, especially one like this with such a strong topic, you have to consider the talent pool you are working with," says Washington. "In this case, I knew that the department held many bright, talented African-American students that could bring great things to this show.

"It becomes more and more apparent that the younger culture now is losing the roots of development of their ethnic groups. The problems our country faced when it was younger are less
important to them. This play contains the African-American experience, but more than that it contains the human experience. The problems we all face with generation gaps, human sexuality, parental problems are all examined here. It is a very universal play," says Washington.

The cast of Eden includes senior Jarek Kahn; juniors Sylvia Beasley, Ron Cheek, and Dayna Dantzler; sophomores Cynthia Barker and Nylda Mark; and freshman Joe Johnson and Te'koa Coleman. The production team includes Associate Professor Matt Knewtson, lighting designer; scenic designer, Jeffrey Rogers; costume designer, Christina Killmar; sound designer, Chris Ericson; technical director, Brendan Bernacki; stage manager, Allison Adams; properties assistant, Linda Ward; and production assistant/understudy, Rob Gardner.

General admission is $16. Senior citizens and WMU faculty and staff may purchase tickets for $12, and tickets for all students are $7. Ticketsmay be purchased by calling the Gilmore Theatre Complex Box Office at (269) 387-6222. Office hours are Monday through Friday, noon to 5 p.m., and two hours prior to performances. Tickets can also be purchased at the Epic Center Box Office in downtown Kalamazoo or by phone at (269) 387-0402.

Media contact: Shauna Thieman, 269 387-6222, shauna.thieman@wmich.edu

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