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Fresno State's student-run newspaper

The Collegian

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The fall mainstage theater season closes with ‘Seminar’

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Jacqueline Carrillo/The Collegian
Paris Richards (left) and Lindsay Anton (right) will be playing the roles of Izzy and Kate for the Kerouac cast of “Seminar.”

University Theatre gears up to present Theresa Rebeck’s acclaimed play, “Seminar.” This production aims to be a hilarious exploration of the complexities that lie beneath the surface of creative pursuits.

“Seminar” is a visual representation of artistic ambition that involves sexual politics and self-sacrifice.

Director Brad Myers leads a double-cast, meaning two casts of student actors will switch around every other day. Dec. 1, 3, 6 and 8 performances will feature Lindsay Anton, Jimmy Haynie, Quincy Maxwell, Paris Richards and Terry Lewis. The Dec. 2, 5, 7 and 9 performances will have Grant Hill, Marikah Christine Leal, Paulina Marin-Contreras, Carlos Sanchez, Terry Lewis and Chase Stubblefield.

“Seminar” unfolds with four aspiring young writers who knew each other before signing up for a class with a highly regarded international writing figure named Leonard. Leonard teaches brilliantly, but in a very odd manner that causes the students to reflect upon more than just the merits of their writing to hone their skills, as relationships are strained between the students throughout this play. Sex is used as a weapon and emotions are toyed with, so characters navigate their own vendettas, tensions and interpersonal dramas through the means of a writing seminar.

“Seminar keeps the laughs marching forward like a series of well-drilled military troops, and it never jams up or sags,” said Ben Brantley of the New York Times, who reviewed the play in 2011.

The creation of art is especially hard to depict on stage according to Brantley.

Brantley said it felt like for the first time, this play reminded him of the exhilaration and rush of experiencing the authenticity in theater as an art, and that it was less about landing lines and more about what lies beneath them.

According to Myers, this play is at the top of his must-direct list because he connected with a lot of the themes and experiences personally.

The way he critiques student work has been affected by the play’s thought-provoking themes and how honest he should be with them; seeing personal conflict within ambition of trying to find a path forward.

“As an artist, student and teacher, I identify with all of the characters; I remember times in grad school when I thought a teacher’s brutal honesty was abusive only to realize years later that the painful truth pushed me forward as an actor and director. And now that I’m a professor, I often am considering how honest I should be in critiquing a student‘s work,” Myers said in a press release.
Fresno State University Theatre department will host the shows at 7:30 p.m. on Dec.1-9 with no showtime on Monday, Dec. 4.

The matinee show will be on Sunday, Dec. 3 starting at 2 p.m. in the John W. Wright Theatre.

Tickets are $17 for general admission, $15 for staff and alumni and $12 for students. Children under 12 are not allowed to see the show. The box office will be open an hour before each performance to sell tickets and at 4 p.m. on weekdays.

Doors will open 30 minutes before the showing and latecomers will not be allowed into the theater past the scheduled showtime.

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