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UW Theatre and Dance Opens Fall Season with ‘Other Desert Cities’

October 5, 2017
people on a stage set made to look like a living room
UW students rehearse a scene from “Other Desert Cities,” the UW Department of Theatre and Dance’s opening fall production. The play will run Oct. 10-14 at 7:30 p.m. and Oct. 15 at 2 p.m. in the Buchanan Center for the Performing Arts Thrust Theatre. (Jason Banks Photo)

The University of Wyoming Department of Theatre and Dance will open its 2017-18 production season with “Other Desert Cities,” a dark comic family drama.

Directed by Patrick Konesko, UW Department of Theatre and Dance assistant professor, “Other Desert Cities” runs Tuesday-Saturday, Oct. 10-14, at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, Oct. 15, at 2 p.m. in the Buchanan Center for the Performing Arts Thrust Theatre.

Tickets cost $14 for the public, $11 for seniors and $7 for students. Tickets are available at the Wyoming Union information desk and the Performing Arts box office, by calling (307) 766-6666 or going online at

The play, by Jon Robin Baitz, was a finalist for the 2012 Pulitzer Prize for Drama. Baitz, a playwright, screenwriter and television producer, is known for creating ABC TV’s drama “Brothers & Sisters.”

“‘Other Desert Cities’ is a play about our relationship to the past, our attempts to escape those events and decisions that haunt us, and our inability to appreciate the choices and politics of those in the opposition,” Konesko says.

The play follows Brooke, a New York magazine writer, who returns home to Palm Springs after a six-year absence to celebrate the holidays with her politically influential family. After revealing her plan to publish a memoir regarding a past, tragic event in the family’s history, hostility arises.

In their attempts at escape, the family members rely on their own techniques for dealing with grief and regrets: polite facades, isolation, drinking, reality TV and, in Brooke’s case, a one-sided tell-all that lays the blame at her parents’ feet. The family’s failed attempts at evading their shared history reveal the danger in blocking out meaningful discussion and debate.

“One of the strengths of this script is the fact that it sets up both sides as strawmen -- each one has elements of the extreme,” Konesko says. “It turns out, however, that neither side has the whole story, and that the truth is subjective and contingent. Once family members stop pursuing their own ‘divergent truths,’ they have a chance for real connection and understanding, and healing can begin.”

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

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