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Playwright in residence this week

Rob Urbinati

“Death by Design,” a new play by Rob Urbinati, will have its first public reading at Linfield College Saturday at 4 p.m. in the Ford Hall lobby.

Commissioned by the Houston Family Arts Center and scheduled for its world premier in September of 2011, “Death By Design” asks the question: What happens when you mix Noel Coward and Agatha Christie in an English country manor in 1931? This mix of Coward’s style with Christie’s plot devices results in a hilarious murder mystery with multiple suspects.
 
Several Portland area actors will participate, including Elizabeth Rothan, Linfield class of ’85, professional actress, and guest director of “West Moon Street,” Tricia Ferguson, professional actress and former Linfield adjunct faculty member, and Jacob Rossman, Linfield class of ’04 and a regular performer with several Portland theatres and film ventures. Urbinati will direct the reading.
 
David Janoviak, Western Oregon University theatre professor who has performed with both national and international professional companies, and Raissa Fleming, a graduate of Willamette University with professional credits in theatre, film, and television add their talents to the ensemble. Joining them is Ian Armstrong, a University of Oregon theatre alum who performs throughout the metro area and who played the role of Lord Arthur Seville in the Lord Leebrick Theatre Company’s west coast premiere of Urbinati’s “West Moon Street.” Rounding out the cast are Paul Malone and McKenna Twedt, both Western Oregon University theatre alumni. Linfield first-year theatre major, Jennifer Layton will narrate the stage directions.

Audience members will have an opportunity to participate in an integral part of the play development process as they provide feedback to the playwright in a discussion following the reading.
 
This event is free and open to the public. Seating is limited and is first-come, first-served. The doors will open at 3:30 p.m.
 
In March, the Linfield Theatre program will present Dr. Urbinati’s play “West Moon Street,” an adaptation of Oscar Wilde’s short story “Lord Arthur Savile’s Crime.” He has been in residence at Linfield this week, working with the director and cast of the play, visiting classes, and participating in other public events.
 
Rob Urbinati received an M.A. from the University of Nebraska and a Ph.D. from the University of Oregon. In 1995, he received a fellowship from The Drama League. He has directed over forty plays at theaters across the country. His writing credits include “Hazelwood Jr. High,” “Karaoke Night at the Suicide Shack” and the musical “Shangri La,” which is based on the sixties girl group. His play, “West Moon Street,” has been produced by theaters both in the U.S. and England. Rob is currently the Director of New Play Development at Queen’s Theatre in the Park, where he curates the Immigrant’s Voices Project.
 
Dr. Urbinati’s visit is sponsored by the Department of Theatre & Communication Arts, the Dean’s Speakers Fund, and the Linfield Arts Fund.
 
For more information, call 503.883.2802.