Our Country's Good
by Timberlake Wertenbaker
will play in the Clarence Brown
Theatre's Carousel Theatre October 3-20, 2014. Based on real events, this award-winning drama is an evocative look at a moment in history - the founding of a nation -and an inspiring tale about the transforming power of theatre. The production is sponsored by the Clayton Foundation. It contains brief nudity and strong language. A staged reading of The Recruiting Officer
immediately following the Friday, October 11 performance and a talk back with the director, dramaturg and cast immediately following the Sunday, October 13 matinee also are associated with this production.
In January 1788, the first of the British prison ships arrive at Botany Bay, Australia and settle the penal colony at Port Jackson, the site of current-day Sydney. Many of the prisoners have committed minor crimes and their wardens are military men who fought and lost the war against the American colonies. When hope and supplies run low, a lieutenant tries to increase morale by staging a comedy, The Recruiting Officer
by George Farquhar
, using the convicts as the cast.
In writing the play, which is based on the novel The Playmaker
by Thomas Keneally
(author of Schindler's List
), Wertenbaker wanted " to write about what it means to be brutalized, what it means to live without hope, and how theatre can be a humanizing force."
The production is directed by CBT Producing Artistic Director Calvin MacLean.
"Our Country's Good imagines a purpose for the Theater that is not often discussed, even among theater people. In this inhuman society, Wertenbaker champions the theater as an important agent in the process of forging a civil society. As the convicts rehearse their play, and as their jailers wrestle with its affect upon the life of the colony, we are reminded of the fact that from these origins a nation is built. And we are also reminded that in that first wretched year, someone thought it a good idea to "pass the time" by putting on a play - something to divert, to entertain, and as the play suggests, to prompt change," MacLean said.
Calvin MacLean (Director) is the Theatre Department Head and CBT Company Producing Artistic Director. CBT credits: A Flea in Her Ear
,The Life of Galileo
, The Secret Rapture
, A Streetcar Named Desire
(with Dale Dickey
(with the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra)Kiss Me, Kate
and Sweeney Todd
(with the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra and Dale Dickey
). Previously Head of Directing at Illinois State University, he also was the Artistic Director of the Illinois Shakespeare Festival for 11 seasons. Professionally active in Chicago, his productions - mostly at the Famous Door Theatre - earned several prestigious Joseph Jefferson
Awards for Outstanding Production and Outstanding Direction. Most notable was Joshua Sobol
, a production that ran for seven months and honored with four Jeff Awards including the Michael Maggio
Award for Outstanding Direction of a Play.
CBT artist in residence Neil Friedman
will play the role of Captain Arthur Phillips, among others. CBT credits: On the Razzle
, A Raisin in the Sun
, Kiss Me, Kate
, Fuddy Mears
, It's a Wonderful Life: A Radio Play
, Moonlight and Magnolias
, The Music Man
, The Merry Wives of Windsor
, Man of La Mancha
, Charley's Aunt
, Born Yesterday
, A Christmas Carol
, and The Triumph of Love
. Chicago area credits include: The Court Theatre, Steppenwolf, Chicago Shakespeare, Goodman Theatre
, Marriott Lincolnshire, and The Peninsula Players. Regional credits include: Utah Shakespeare Festival; Capitol Repertory, NY; The New Victory Theatre
, NY; Coconut Grove Playhouse, FL; Children's Theatre Company of Minneapolis; and, Austria's Vienna English Theatre. Neil is a proud recipient of Chicago's Joseph Jefferson
Actors from the UT Theatre MFA Acting program include: Micah-Shane Brewer (Captain David Collins
, Royal Marine/Robert Sideway);Andrew Drake (An Aboriginal Australian); Angela Graham
(Reverend Johnson/Duckling Smith); StuArt Matthews
(Midshipman Harry Brewer, Royal Navy); Kyle Maxwell (Captain Jemmy Campbell, Royal Marine/John Arscott); Jess Milewicz (Lieutenant George Johnston, Royal Marine/Liz Morden); Cory O'Brien
-Pniewski (Lieutenant RalpH Clark
, Royal Marine);Cynthia Anne Roser (Lieutenant William Faddy, Royal Marine/Mary Brenham); Steve Sherman (Major Robbie Ross, Royal Marine/Ketch Freeman); and Tramell Tillman(Captain Watkin Tench, Royal Marine/Black Caesar).
UT Theater undergraduate actors include: AnDrew Price
Carlile (Ensemble); Leo LaCamera (Ensemble); Heather Dickson (Ensemble);Nancy Duckles (Lieutenant Will Dawes, Royal Marine/Dabby Bryant/Meg Long); Mark Schelstrate (Ensemble); Sherridan Smee(Ensemble); and William Young
Designers for the production include: Josafeth Israel Reynoso Calvillo (Scenic Designer); Kyle Andrew Schellinger (Costume Designer); Kristen Geisler (Lighting Designer); Mike Ponder (Sound Designer); Misty G. Anderson (Dramaturg); Terry Weber (Voice & Dialect Coach); John Sipes (Movement Coach) and Alex Dearmin (Stage Manager).
With a dual mission to train the next generation of theatre artists and to provide top quality professional theatre, the Clarence Brown
Theatre at the University of Tennessee Knoxville is one of only 12 academic LORT (League of Resident Theatre) institutions in the nation. Under the artistic direction of Calvin MacLean, the CBT season runs from August through May and features eight productions ranging from musicals to drama. The 2013-2014 Season continues with: Ctrl+Alt+Delete
, A Christmas Carol, The Whipping Man, The Trip to Bountiful, Wrens
For more information or tickets, call the CBT Box Office at 865-974-5161
or visit us online atclarencebrowntheatre.com
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