Four local and regional colleges welcome December with an eclectic mix of productions.
The Adrian College theater department presents The Insanity of Mary Girard, a drama by Lanie Robertson, through Saturday.
Based on a true story, Robertson's chilling tale is set in Philadelphia in 1790, when men have absolute power over their wives. One of those men is Stephan Girard, who commits his wife, Mary, into an insane asylum when she becomes pregnant by another man.
Mary maintains that she is not insane, but as she suffers the horrors of the asylum, her fellow inmates are transformed in her imagination to people from her past. As more facts are revealed, the play considers whether Mary is actually insane or whether people believe she is simply because her husband says so.
The production features Amy VanBecelaree of St. Clair Shores, Mich., as Mary and Ryan Chalou of Clarkston, Mich., as Stephen.
Also in the cast are Michigan residents Justin Kulman of Port Huron, Amanda Mayberry of Hudson, Bridget Leary of Bloomfield Hills, Jordan Barkey of Flushing, Laura Shank of Caledonia, and Cynthia Ferguson of Romulus; Pam Wilkinson of San Antonio, Texas, and Casey Short of Archbold.
Each night after the performance, a "talk back" has been scheduled with faculty members from the history, English, and religion departments. Women's issues in the 1790s as well as contemporary times and other issues raised in the play will be discussed, according to Michael Allen, chairman of the Adrian department of theater.
"It's the kind of thing colleges should do but don't do enough of," he said.
"The Insanity of Mary Girard" is scheduled at 8 p.m. today-Saturday in Dawson Auditorium off Madison Street on the Adrian College campus. Tickets are $7 for the public and $5 for students, seniors, and Adrian College staff. Information: 517-265-5161.
At Lourdes College in Sylvania, the Theater Vision program presents The Plant that Ate Dirty Socks.
Based on the popular series of children's books by Nancy McArthur, Socks is about two brothers who share a bedroom. Norman's side is always tidy, while Michael's is disaster central, complete with litter and piles of dirty clothes. It's a never-ending struggle for Norman to keep Michael's mess from encroaching on his side. One day, Michael receives some seeds in the mail, and he and Norman plant them. Pretty soon, plants shoot out of their pots, plants that have an amazing talent for disaster and a ravenous hunger for dirty socks.
Presented by TheatreworksUSA, a professional children's theater troupe based in New York City, Socks is the final show of the year for the Theater Vision program, which is geared to school field trips but welcomes the public is space is available. The one-hour show is aimed at students in grades 2-5 and is linked to language arts and music curricula.
The program will start the new year with Walk On: The Story of Rosa Parks on Jan. 21.
"The Plant That Ate Dirty Socks" is scheduled at 10 a.m. and 12:15 p.m. today in the Franciscan Theatre & Conference Center of Lourdes College, 6832 Convent Blvd., Sylvania. Tickets are $8. Information: 419-824-3986 or franciscancenter.org.
At the University of Toledo department of theater and film, students are getting ready for a very long night.
Beginning tomorrow evening, six teams will be formed by random drawings, and each will have until Saturday evening to write a play, rehearse it, costume the cast, figure out the technical needs, and present it to the public, ready or not.
In a press release, Orene Colcord, a visiting assistant professor of theater, says that the fourth annual event is both terrific fun and a great opportunity for students to "shine at their creative best."
"The 24-Hour Plays" will be presented at 7:30 p.m. Saturday in the Studio Theatre in UT's Center for Performing Arts. Tickets are $3 each and will be sold only at the door the night of the performance. Information: 419-530-2202.
Beloved by many, Jane Austen's novel Pride and Prejudice comes to life in a University of Michigan production beginning tonight.
The tale revolves around the two eldest of five Bennet sisters, urged to find wealthy husbands by their middle-class parents. But in the restrictive atmosphere of Regency England, the sisters' lack of dowry and lower social standing may be a detriment, especially in the eyes of Mr. Darcy, a cynical snob - or is he? - visiting a friend who has taken up residence in the Bennets' neighborhood.
Visiting director Timothy Douglas, who has worked with the Actors Theatre of Louisville, the Guthrie Theatre in Minneapolis, and the American Conservatory Theatre, has shifted the play's setting to 1968, maintaining that the issues in Austen's work are relevant to contemporary times. The large cast includes Julia Albain of Cincinnati, Corey Dorris of Ypsilanti, Mich., Mckean Scheu of Lawton, Mich., Meredith Stepien of Pinckney, Mich, Lee Tyler of Kalamazoo, Mich., and Torrey Wigfield of Painsville, Ohio.
"Pride and Prejudice" is scheduled at 7:30 tonight, 8 p.m. tomorrow and Saturday, and 2 p.m. Sunday in the Power Center for the Performing Arts, 121 North Fletcher St., Ann Arbor. Tickets are $18 and $24 for the public, $9 for UM students with IDs. Information: 734-764-2538.