4/21/2009 Linfield theatre welcomes guest director for next play
McMINNVILLE – The Linfield College theatre combines a talented guest director and award-winning play to present “Book of Days,” a story of death and a search for justice.
Under the direction of Ellyn Gersh Lerner, a visiting director from Los Angeles, Calif., the play will be presented May 7-10 and 14-16 at the Marshall Theatre in Ford Hall. It is written by Lanford Wilson.
“Book of Days” is set in early summer in a small town in the Ozarks of southern Missouri dominated by a cheese plant, a fundamentalist church and a community theatre. When the owner of the cheese plant, the most prominent citizen of the town, dies mysteriously in a hunting accident, Ruth Hoch, his bookkeeper, suspects murder. Cast as Joan of Arc in a local production of George Bernard Shaw's “St. Joan,” Ruth takes on the attributes of her character and launches into a one-woman campaign to seek justice.
“This play takes on a number of themes related to power, conscience, religion and the corruption of values,” Lerner said. “Its fragmented scenes and direct address of the audience evoke a style that offers actors, designers and the rest of the staff an opportunity to tackle a play that is immediately relevant, evocative and thought-provoking.”
Lerner, who has a Ph.D. in theatre arts, has more than 25 years experience in teaching and directing. She has directed over 30 plays in a variety of theatres from schools to churches to off-Broadway. She teaches theatre for young audiences, theatre history, acting, directing and playwriting, among others. She has also participated in the prestigious Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival in teacher-training programs and professional conferences as a guest speaker and panelist.
As an undergraduate student Lerner designed a set for Wilson’s play, “The Rimers of Eldritch,” and is excited to work with another of his plays.
“I’m especially drawn to the way he elaborately crafts his plays, weaving delicate bits of seemingly unimportant information about his characters into scenes,” Lerner said. “Only later, as audience members, do we realize the importance of some of the seeds he has planted.”
Lerner is excited to get the chance to work in McMinnville and with the Linfield community.
“The campus is beautiful, McMinnville strikes me as the perfect size, the surrounding area is breathtaking and my greatest pleasure has been the students,” she said. “Every time one directs a play, the project is a journey. I have a feeling that this is one that will end much too soon.”
Performances will be May 7-9 and 14-16 at 8 p.m., and May 10 at 2 p.m. Tickets go on sale Tuesday, April 28. Prices are $9 for full price and $7 for students and seniors (62+), with a $2 discount on opening night. On Mother’s Day, May 10, tickets are just $5 for mothers. Tickets are available at www.linfield.edu/culture. A small service charge will apply for web orders. Tickets may also be purchased at the Marshall Theatre Box Office or ordered by phone. Located just inside the lobby of Ford Hall, the box office is open Tuesday through Friday from 3-5 p.m., with extended hours on performance days. The Marshall Theatre is fully accessible. Contact the box office directly if you require accessible seating. For more information, call 503-883-2292.