Theater department performs encore of play before departing to Ireland

October 9 2007

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. - Indiana State University’s theater department will present an encore performance of “The Dreaming Dust” Sunday (Oct. 14) before heading off to a performance in Dublin’s famed St. Patrick’s Cathedral.

Performed by students from the ISU Department of Theater and directed by theater professor and Irish drama expert Chris Berchild, the play was originally written in 1940 by Irish playwright Denis Johnston and concerns the engaging life of Jonathan Swift-author of such works as “Gulliver’s Travels” and “A Modest Proposal.”

Johnston, one of Swift’s most notable biographers, weaves a captivating tale about the life, loves, and beliefs of this complex and conflicted man. Merging history, historical speculation, and his keen dramatic sensibility, Johnston created this work as a laboratory for his most challenging ideas about the famous satirist, poet, and Very Reverend Dean of Saint Patrick's Cathedral, the most significant Anglican Church in all of Ireland.

Before leaving Terre Haute, the Department of Theater will present an open “going away” rehearsal in Dreiser Theater at 1 p.m. Sunday. This will be a bare-bones performance, as the set for the production is already in Ireland. Admission for this final rehearsal is free and open to the public.

Berchild, assistant theater professor, has brought this production to life, largely in part to a grant he received as one of the university's first round of Promising Scholars.

The Promising Scholars grant, supported by the Lilly Endowment, allows for travel and lodging for the 10 theater students involved in the production as well as for some important production costs.

“Without the support of this generous grant, the tour to Ireland would, quite simply, not have been possible. An opportunity like this is a once-in-a-lifetime chance for our students to not only travel to Ireland, but to perform in one of Europe's most beautiful cathedrals--the same church where Handel premiered his “Messiah," Berchild said.

Invited as part of the Sixth Dublin Symposium on Jonathan Swift, this performance marks the first time that the play, written to take place in the Cathedral, will be performed there. First produced in April 2007 at Terre Haute’s St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church, this production has been modified and restaged for the Cathedral. The production will play twice at the Cathedral at 8 p.m. Oct. 19 and 20.

“This is a fantastic opportunity for us,” Berchild said, “We are honored to be a part of a major milestone for this play -- returning it to the place for which it was written.”

Taking the stage will be students Dominic Abbenante, New Smyrna Beach, Fla.; Ashley Dillard, Highland; Michael Finchum, Merrillville; Christopher Hansen, Williamsport; Clair Hummel, Terre Haute; Nolan Mihail, Merrillville; Angela Miller, Kokomo; Brianna Oldenburg, Baraboo, Wis.; Eric Wilburn, Rosedale; and graduate student Susan Monts-Bologna, Terre Haute.

For additional information on the production, please contact Berchild or visit the website of St. Patrick’s Cathedral at www.stpatrickscathedral.ie.

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CONTACT: Christopher Berchild, ISU Department of Theater, (812) 237-3332 or cberchild@isugw.indstate.edu

WRITER: Paula Meyer, ISU Communications & Marketing, (812) 237-3783 or pmeyer4@isugw.indstate.edu

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Indiana State University’s theater department will present an encore performance of “The Dreaming Dust” Sunday (Oct. 14) before heading off to a performance in Dublin’s famed St. Patrick’s Cathedral.

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