USM Theatre Presents THE LOVE OF THE NIGHTINGALE Continuing Their Season Celebrating Women

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USM Theatre Presents THE LOVE OF THE NIGHTINGALE Continuing Their Season Celebrating Women

The University of Southern Maine Department of Theatre season dedicated to uplifting women and women's voices takes a raw and powerful turn with The Love of the Nightingale by Timberlake Wertenbaker. The play opens Friday, November 15, followed by an opening night reception and runs through Sunday, November 24. A special "talk back" event takes place on Thursday, November 21. All performances take place at the historic Russell Hall on the USM Gorham Campus.

The play tells the story of two sisters separated by an ocean and reunited through treachery and devastation. Procne, daughter to King Pandion of Athens, is reluctantly married to Tereus, King of Thrace, and taken to live among his people. Depressed and isolated, Procne asks Tereus to return to Athens and bring her spirited younger sister Philomele to Thrace, triggering a chilling chain of events. This striking adaptation of the classic Greek myth explores the disturbing cycle of violence and revenge. It is a story of human resilience, tracking a victim's ability to reclaim their voice and ultimately transform in the face of trauma.

For director Rachel Price Cooper, this ancient story reinvented with women as the central focus is perfect for our current socio-political climate, " I love that it's an adaptation of an ancient myth that repositions the generally underdeveloped victim as its central character. Philomele is no longer a secondary character in the all-too-familiar story of a powerful man's downfall. She is a fully developed person in her own right. It also blows apart a lot of common expectations of what ancient Greek Drama actually is. This is not a dusty, slow-moving play full of eternal choral dirges. It's irreverent, fast-paced, and full of movement.

"This play deals with violence. More specifically, gendered, sexual violence. It's an uncomfortable topic, but it's also one that we can't shut our eyes to. It's especially timely in the wake of the #Me-too movement and our current socio-political moment. I think that stories from the past are sometimes our most effective means of examining our present. I hope that we can provide audiences with a really dynamic live theatre experience that's full of spectacle, energy, and striking imagery.

For Bailey Hall, a junior theatre major from Portland, ME who plays the protagonist Philomele, the play is a chance to show a victim reclaiming her voice. "I love the character I portray, and the fact that she goes through all this trauma makes me sad, but it also motivates me to do her character justice. This play shows that you do not have to remain the victim. Even if you have been beaten down, you can still rise up and tell your story."

The Love of the Nightingale opens November 15th and runs through November 24th. All performances take place on the USM Gorham campus in historic Russell Hall.

This show contains depictions of violence and sexual assault and is best suited for mature audiences.

To purchase tickets, or for more information, visit USM Theatre online at, or call the USM Theatre Box Office at (207) 780-5151. For more information on USM's Department of Theatre events and programs, click here.

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