Saturday, July 9, 2011

PhD Candidate Adam Pasen's Dissertation Play to be Staged at York Arena

The jazz age and the gilded age collide in Tea with Edie and Fitz by WMU PhD candidate Adam Pasen. The play is a historical account of the explosive meeting of expatriate literary icons Edith Wharton and F. Scott Fitzgerald in Paris in the 1920s. Scott's outrageous Southern wife Zelda Fitzgerald and the sardonic Ghost of Henry James are also featured. Tea coincides with a major resurgence in interest in F. Scott Fitzgerald within the last year; Scott and Zelda just appeared as characters in Woody Allen's latest film Midnight in Paris and an upcoming remake of The Great Gatby starring Leonardo DiCaprio is slated for next year. Even more exciting, the play marks a milestone in collaboration between the Theatre and English Departments at Western. At WMU playwriting is technically part of the English Department, making it unique among playwriting programs in the county for allowing students to pursue a PhD with a creative emphasis. Tea, however, will be the first creative dissertation at WMU to ever be staged in York Arena using theater department resources. Former chair of the department D. Terry Williams directs and the cast is comprised of Western actors and teachers alike, including Elizabeth Terrell, Chris Grazul, Chelsea Morgan, Susannah Parr, Mitch Voss, and G. William Zorn . Tackling such issues as gender, war, and the role of the artist and bursting with literary allusions and raucous Charlestons, the play has something for everybody. Both nostalgic and timely, Tea with Edie and Fitz is the living embodiment of Fitzgerald's famous quote: "so we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past." York Arena, July 15, 16 at 8:00 pm 17 at 2:00 pm.

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