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Warren Gerds/Critic at Large: ‘Past, Present and Future’ season set in Oshkosh

Critic At Large

Season image. (UW-Oshkosh Theatre)

OSHKOSH, Wis. (WFRV) – Four productions are set for the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh Theatre 2021-2022 season that has the umbrella title of “Past, Present and Future.” Info: uwosh.edu/theatre/.

According to the patron information and the department’s website: The season theme “supports the 50 years of stories told in the Theatre Arts Center building. We celebrate our past honors, successes and productions, present newer plays and finally, look into the future and anticipate the possibilities that await us.”

New for the season, two weekends of performances will be offered for all four productions. Offered on the first Friday* will be post-show dialogues with the director, students and guest experts on content relevant to each production. 

The season, with snapshots from the department:

+ “A Moon for the Misbegotten”

By Eugene O’Neill, directed by Jane Purse-Wiedenhoeft: Oct. 7, 8*, 9, 15, 16 at 7:30 p.m.; Oct. 17 at 2 p.m.

One night on an Irish tenant farm in 1923 Connecticut, two lost souls are searching for love. In Nobel Laureate, Eugene O’Neill’s touching and heartbreaking play, Josie is a lively, misunderstood woman with a sarcastic wit that hides her low self-esteem. It’s been a hard and lonely life, working the farm with her bullying and shaming father. When the farm’s owner, James “Jamie” Tyrone Jr. returns to the farm to settle his mother’s estate, he opens his heart to Josie. She tries to claim him as her own, but the drunken Jamie is drowning in the depths of self-pity and remorse. When the morning dawns, Josie picks up the pieces.

+ “A Bear in Winter”

By Richard Kalinoski, directed by Richard Kalinoski: Nov. 11, 12*, 13, 19, 20 at 7:30 p.m.; Nov. 21 at 2 p.m.

A new play by Richard Kalinoski, “A Bear in Winter” explores the struggle of Pete Angelini, a small college football coach who loses his way after he is suddenly fired six years after a championship season. Pete’s mother, Katherine, an elderly woman and former athlete is a source of solace for Pete but over time Katherine is stricken with dementia and Pete is confronted with devastating solitude – mitigated by a vexing but charming interloper and later, an unlikely new friend. A two act play which leads quietly towards a story of love discovered and identity restored.

+ “Silent Sky”

By Lauren Gunderson, directed by Merlaine Angwall: March 3, 4*, 5, 11, 12 at 7:30 p.m.; March 13 at 2 p.m.

Inspired by the true-life events of a 19th century astronomer, Henrietta Swan Leavitt. She works as a human computer at the Harvard College Observatory where men belittle then covet her brilliance. Leavitt discovers music in the night sky and abides the earthly stars of family and love.
+ “She Kills Monsters”

By Qui Nguyen, directed by Jane Purse-Wiedenhoeft” April 28, 29*, 30, May 6, 7 at 7:30 p.m.; April 8 at 2 p.m.

When her younger teenage sister Tilly dies, Agnes Evans struggles with the knowledge that she didn’t really know much about her. When Agnes finds Tilly’s “Dungeons & Dragons” notebook, she sets out on a quest of discovery and action-packed adventure in the imaginary world that was Tilly’s refuge. This dramatic comedy offers a thrilling, heart-warming story about the geek and the warrior within us all. Agnes ultimately fulfills a journey that leads to love and understanding of her sister.

Additionally, the program will offer the 23rd Annual Student Playwriting Contest for students of all UW Oshkosh campuses, culminating in a public reading April 13.

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