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10/27/2006 Linfield students stage

McMINNVILLE -- Linfield College theatre students will explore courage, survival and the nature of war in the upcoming production of "Mother Courage and Her Children" by Bertolt Brecht and recently adapted by British playwright David Hare.

The play will run Nov. 9-12 and 16-18 at the Marshall Theatre in Ford Hall. All performances are at 8 p.m., except for the Nov. 12 show, which is at 2 p.m. Audience members can also participate in Talk Back sessions immediately following two performances, on Nov. 10 and 17.

Originally written to provoke intellectual discussion about the social and political implications of war, the play tells the story of Mother Courage, a mother of three played by Linfield junior Katie Dolph, who travels the periphery of the regiments during the war and makes her living selling goods to soldiers. She views herself as a business woman and frequently bounces between both sides of the war.

Though the play was written in the late 1930s and originally set in the 1600s, the Linfield production is set in the 1920s, illustrating the timeless nature of the subject, according to Kate Hawkes, adjunct professor of theatre arts and the show's director.

"I think Brecht is saying, 'War is war is war is war,'" Hawkes said. "The play deals with issues surrounding war. What happens to compassion and pity?"

Hawkes has been at Linfield 19 years, acting in and directing a variety of Linfield productions. In 2004, she directed "Antigone," another political show about war and power.

"Theatre should shake us up in some way," she said. "Because this is a liberal arts college, I like to choose plays that will provoke discussion and debate. They shouldn't be intellectually easy or morally simple."

With a score composed by Gina Leishman, the play is interspersed with songs. The actors and musicians create all sound effects, and remain on stage throughout the show. When actors leave a scene, they sit on the side and watch.

Students are active behind the scenes as well, taking leadership roles in every aspect of the production. Senior Laurel Schultz, an art major and theater minor, designed the costumes; senior Trish Everett, a double major in theatre and political science, designed the makeup; and sophomores Brenna Crocker, stage manager; Stephanie Malone, lighting assistant; and James Welch, music director, are also part of the crew.

Hawkes praised the students' work, noting they put in long hours and have high standards. She said the opportunity gives student actors experience and a level by which to measure future work.

"These students are focused, quiet and a joy," she said. "They're thrown in the deep end with a lot of support. I tend to forget they're students because they work so well here."

Tickets are $9 for adults and $7 for students and seniors (62+), with a $2 discount on opening night. Tickets may be purchased at the Marshall Theatre box office Monday through Friday from 3 to 5 p.m., with expanded hours on performance days. The box office is located just inside the lobby of Ford Hall. Tickets may also be reserved by phone, 503-883-2292, or e-mail, theatre@linfield.edu.

To reach Ford Hall from 99W, turn east on Keck Drive at the McMinnville Market Center in south McMinnville. Turn right on Lever Street and right again on Ford Drive. Ford Hall is located at the west end of the parking lot.