March 4, 2004

Contact: Charla Jenkins, University Theatre, (785) 864-2684.

KU Theatre to stage Wertenbaker drama 'Our Country's Good' in March

LAWRENCE -- The University of Kansas Department of Theatre and Film and the University Theatre will stage Timberlake Wertenbaker's play "Our Country's Good" in mid-March. Performances will be at 7:30 p.m. March 12 through 13 and 16 through 18, and at 2:30 p.m. March 14, all in Crafton-Preyer Theatre in Murphy Hall.

The production is directed by Delores Ringer, assistant professor of theatre and film, who also designed the sets, costumes and sound for the show. Nicholas C. Mosher, Lawrence junior, is lighting designer, and Paul Meier, professor of theatre and film, is voice and dialect coach.

"Our Country's Good" is a fictionalized depiction of the first penal colony in Australia in 1788-89. The play is based on actual journals and other written accounts from that settlement.

The play begins aboard ship as a convict is being flogged. An aborigine sees the ship sail into Botany Bay in January 1788 and he wonders what kind of dream he is having. When the penal colony's benevolent governor, who believes convicts can be rehabilitated, finds out that hangings are popular entertainment for the convicts, he suggests that a play might be a better way of entertaining them. Lt. Ralph Clark begins auditioning convicts, encountering bad actors, good actors, most with no experience, and many who cannot read.

"Our Country's Good" deals with adult subject matter and contains strong language and gunshots.

Prior to the opening performance, the University Theatre will hold FITT (Fridays in the Theatre) at 12:30 p.m. March 12 in Crafton-Preyer Theatre. Ringer and other faculty members will discuss the play.

Reserved seat tickets are on sale in the KU ticket offices: University Theatre, (785) 864-3982; Lied Center, (785) 864-ARTS; SUA Office, (785) 864-7469; and online at http://kutheatre.com. Tickets are $16 for the public, $10 for all students, $15 for senior citizens, and $14 for KU faculty and staff.

Members of the cast for the KU production include (listed by name, class, parents' names, high school alma mater and role):

COFFEY COUNTY
From Burlington
Katrina Alford, junior, daughter of Rocky and Debbie Alford and Joel and Rebecca Vannocker; Burlington High School graduate; Duckling Smith.

DICKINSON COUNTY
From Talmage
Jason Gibson, sophomore, son of Bill and Sandy Gibson; Chapman High School graduate; 2nd Lt. William Faddy and John Arscott.

DOUGLAS COUNTY
From Lawrence
Patrick C. Carriere, doctoral student, son of Mr. and Mrs. Donald Carriere; Bemidji (Minnesota) High School graduate; Midshipman Harry Brewer.
Dianne-Yvette Cook, junior, daughter of Harold and Muriel Cook; Lawrence Free State High School graduate; Dabby Bryant.

JOHNSON COUNTY
From Olathe
Eric F. Avery, sophomore, son of John and Vivian Avery and Mary Ann Avery; Highland Park High School (Topeka) graduate; Judge David Collins and Black Caesar.

From Shawnee
Niccole Thurman, junior, daughter of Amy Thurman; Shawnee Mission North High School graduate; Liz Morden and Lt. Will Dawes.
Ryan Tucker, freshman, son of Dan Tucker and Larien McCarthy; Shawnee Mission Northwest High School; John Wisehammer and Captain Watkin Tench.

LEAVENWORTH COUNTY
From Lansing
Lawrence P. Henderson, freshman, son of Lawrence Henderson and Terri Harris; Lansing High School graduate; Maj. Robbie Ross.

RILEY COUNTY
From Manhattan
Dale Buchheister, sophomore, son of James and Carol Buchheister; Manhattan High School graduate; Robert Sideway and Gov. Arthur Phillip.

SHAWNEE COUNTY
From Topeka
Elisabeth Ahrens, junior, daughter of Martin R. Ahrens and Marsha L. Anderson; Washburn Rural High School graduate; Mary Brenham.

WOODSON COUNTY
From Yates Center
Ian Stark, senior, son of Ronald and Judith Stark; Yates Center High School graduate; Lt. George Johnston and James "Ketch" Freeman.

MICHIGAN
From Concord
Michael Bradley, graduate student, son of Jeff and Debi Bradley; Concord High School graduate; 2nd Lt. Ralph Clark.

MISSOURI
From Kansas City
Patrick Craft, senior, son of Mary Ann Craft; Winnetonka High School graduate; Cap. Jemmy Campbell.

OKLAHOMA
From Okmulgee
Leslie Long, junior, daughter of Robert L. Miller and Robin Miller; Morris High School graduate; Meg Long and the Rev. Johnson.

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