SOU Department of Performing Arts Presents Tony Kushner’s adaptation of “The Illusion”

(Ashland, Ore.) – The Theatre Arts program of the Department of Performing Arts at Southern Oregon University presents “The Illusion,” adapted loosely by award-winning playwright Tony Kushner from  the 1936 “L’Illusion Comique” play written by Pierre Corneille. Performances are at 8 p.m. on Thursday-Saturday, May 23-25 and May 30-June 1 and at 2 p.m. on Saturday, June 1 and Sunday, June 2.

“I came across ‘The Illusion’ in the early 90s and found it to be a delightful and clever adaptation,” said SOU emeritus faculty and director Dennis Smith. “Its sense of theatricality drew me to it and is probably the same thing that drew Tony Kushner to the play.” Lush layers of illusion cloak this tale of a father seeking the help of a magician in his search for his long-banished son.

“The play focuses on magic, theatricality, reality and truth,” said Smith. “We don’t always prefer the one we should and sometimes prefer the illusion because we couldn’t live with the truth. The play is also about the search for redemption and forgiveness and a commitment to try to find reconciliation in a relationship – seeking to forgive and be forgiven. At its heart are multiple, complex love stories.” The play is filled with conjured visions, unlikely transformations and unexpected twists of time and fate.

Smith noted that the play shows Kushner developing his relationship as playwright and creative artist with the audience. “Kushner is saying that the playwright’s role is to communicate the human condition,” said Smith, “and validate theatre and the pursuit of creativity as a means of uplifting the human spirit.”

The cast includes Delaney Kentzell, Tyler Kubat, Ginger Lockhart, Sarah Mitchell, Zlato Rizziolli, Aria Shahghasemi, Henry Steelhammer, Danny Walker, Samuel Wick, Grace Wolcott.

Scenic design is by Sean O’Skea, costumes are designed by Brandon McCowan, lighting design is by Steven Coney and sound design is by Neil Peterson. Patrick Ramirez-King is the assistant director and Sam Callahan is the stage manager.

Tickets are $21 regular, $18 senior, and $6 for students. The Performing Arts Box Office is located in the Theatre Arts Building lobby. Box office hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and two hours prior to each performance. Tickets can be purchased with a credit card over the phone by calling 541-552-6348 or online at sou.edu/performingarts. For more information, visit sou.edu/theatre.

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