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UW Theatre and Dance Presents Kushner’s ‘A Bright Room Called Day’ Feb. 6-10

January 31, 2018
woman and man on a small couch on stage
Bailey Patterson and William Read rehearse a scene in the UW Department of Theatre and Dance’s production of “A Bright Room Called Day.” The play will be staged Feb. 6-10 in the Buchanan Center for the Performing Arts Thrust Theater. (Don Turner Photo)

Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Tony Kushner’s “A Bright Room Called Day,” a portrayal of regular citizens during the rise of the Nazi Party in 1930s Germany, will be staged Feb. 6-10 at the University of Wyoming.

The production opens the UW Department of Theatre and Dance’s 2018 spring season. Performances are at 7:30 p.m. nightly in the Buchanan Center for the Performing Arts Thrust Theatre.

Tickets cost $14 for the public; $11 for faculty, staff and senior citizens; and $7 for students. Tickets are available at the Performing Arts box office and the Wyoming Union information desk, by calling (307) 766-6666 or going online at www.uwyo.edu/finearts.

Kushner, who won the Pulitzer Prize for “Angels in America,” has written a play that is different from most stories involving Nazis, says Director Kevin Inouye, UW Department of Theatre and Dance assistant professor.

“Unlike many stories involving Nazis, ‘A Bright Room Called Day’ isn’t a tale of war, of heroes or villains, or even anyone particularly notable -- it’s about people like you and me,” Inouye says.

“A Bright Room Called Day” is set in 1932 Berlin in the twilight of the Weimar Republic. A ragtag group of artists, activists and expatriates gathers in the apartment of a struggling actress. They trade stories and drown their fears as their country surrenders to the seduction of fascism and the Nazi regime.

As their fellow citizens begin to embrace authoritarian rule as a response to Germany’s post-World War I struggles, the friends naively assume that they can stop Hitler’s juggernaut through art and political action. But, as the short-lived and unstable Weimar Republic breaks apart and the Nazi Party begins its meteoric rise, they realize the time for action is short.

The friends struggle with the responsibility of making moral choices in a world that is unraveling. Juxtaposed against the Berlin timescape is an American woman and self-confessed paranoiac living in Reagan-era New York, who has a mounting sense of dread at the state of American politics and society. Her struggles offer a pointed comparison between the past and present.

“This show is having a national resurgence, thanks to the political debates of our time,” Inouye says. “It reminds us that Hitler comparisons and conspiracy theories are nothing new, and shows us a time when socialism and fascism were not tired labels, but new revolutions in thought and in the streets. And, as theater can do so poignantly, it begs the question: What would you do?”

Hailed by the Chicago Tribune as “unabashedly political, thought-provoking, a little scary and frequently a good deal of theatrical fun, ‘A Bright Room Called Day’ poses questions about citizenship, resistance and complicity.”

Among Kushner’s many awards are a Pulitzer Prize for drama, an Emmy Award, two Tony Awards and three Obie Awards. In 2012, he wrote the screenplay for Steven Spielberg’s movie “Lincoln.” His screenplay was nominated for an Academy Award and won the New York Film Critics Circle Award, Boston Society of Film Critics Award, Chicago Film Critics Award and other writing awards.

He has written several books and has received countless awards from around the world.

For more information, call Kathy Kirkaldie, UW Fine Arts coordinator, at (307) 766-2160 or email kirisk@uwyo.edu.


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