Linfield College theatre students will explore the disillusionment of the Vietnam War as experienced by the Talley family with their production of Fifth of July, written by the late Lanford Wilson. This brilliant, enthralling play has been hailed as a major work by one of theatre's most important and celebrated writers. Alternately funny and moving, it deals with a group of former student activists and the changes in their lives and attitudes in the years since leaving college.
The production will be performed November 3-5 and 10-12 at 7:30 p.m. and November 6 at 2 p.m. in the Marshall Theatre in Ford Hall. This play contains mature language and adult content.
Tickets are $9 for full price; $7 for seniors (62+) and Linfield faculty and staff (two tickets per ID); and $5 for students (any age, any school, one ticket per ID); with a $2 discount on all tickets on opening night. Seating is reserved. Tickets are available at http://www.linfield.edu/culture, by phone, or at the Marshall Theatre Box Office. Located just inside the lobby of Ford Hall, the box office is open Tuesday through Friday from 3 to 5 p.m., and until 7:30 p.m. on performance days. The box office will also be open Nov. 5 and 12 from 3 to 7:30 p.m. and from noon to 2 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 6. The box office is closed Mondays. For more information, call 503-883-2292.
A post-show discussion, "Veterans' Perspectives on War," featuring Bob Ferguson, a Vietnam veteran and 1965 Linfield alumnus, will follow the performance on Friday, Nov. 11. Ferguson and Daniel Belderrain, Linfield ’73 (Vietnam), James Duckworth, Linfield ’07 (Gulf War II), Linfield professors Eric Shuck (Gulf War II) and Michael Jones (Vietnam), and Jim Ragsdale (WWII) will discuss their perspectives on their war experiences and the challenges of returning to civilian life. Proceeds from this performance will be donated to the Disabled American Veterans Auxiliary of Yamhill County.
Set in 1977, the scene is a sprawling farmhouse in rural Missouri, which is home to Ken Tally, Jr., a paraplegic Vietnam vet, and his boyfriend, Jed. They are visited by Ken's sister and her teenage daughter, and by Gwen and John--the former a hard-drinking, pill-popping heiress who aspires to be a rock star, the latter her wary-eyed husband and manager. All are old college friends who came of age in the 60s and hoped to change the world with their protests, sit-ins, and love-ins from their days in Berkley, California. Ken offers to sell the farm to John, who is considering converting it to a recording studio for Gwen. Ken's Aunt Sally has come to the family homestead to scatter the ashes of her late husband and a "bidding war" for the house transpires between John and Aunt Sally.
Director Janet Gupton, associate professor of theatre arts, said Fifth of July has themes that college students can relate to now in wartime. Our students will make the connection between the Vietnam War and the Iraq War," said Gupton. "Trying to understand what it was and is like for veterans to come home is difficult. It will be powerful and thought provoking."
"Fifth of July" premiered on Broadway in 1980 and starred William Hurt. Of the 1980 production, a reviewer for the New York Daily News wrote: "This is one of the most incredibly well-written, beautifully acted, profound and moving and often hilarious plays it has ever been my privilege to see in the American theater." The Hollywood Reporter raved: "The characters are mostly flamboyant, their dialogue crackles with laugh-inducing lines and we find ourselves dazzled by Wilson's virtuoso writing." Fifth of July is the last play in Wilson's trilogy about the Talley family. The other two are Talley and Son and Talley's Folly.Lanford Wilson, one of the most distinguished writers of the 20th century and a Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright, died in March 2011 and this production honors his contributions to the American theatre. Wilson's playwriting has been compared to Tennessee Williams and Anton Chekhov.
Wilson, one of the most distinguished writers of the 20th century and a
Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright, died in March 2011 and this
production honors his contributions to the American theatre. Wilson's
playwriting has been compared to Tennessee Williams and Anton Chekhov.
"Wilson really has a way with words and he understands people," said Gupton, who calls Wilson's characters fascinating and witty. "He can truly portray how real-life controversies can affect people."
The cast includes first-year students Nicholas Granato, Jeremy Odden, Kristin Miller, Rhianna Bennett and Daniel Bradley. Veteran cast members include sophomores Jenny Layton and Gabrielle Leif, and junior Chris Forrer. The cast is supported by scenic and lighting designer Ty Marshall; costume designer Alethia Moore-Del Monaco; technical director Rob Vaughn; and two Linfield seniors, sound designer Chloe Wandler and stage manager Kanon Havens.
To reach Ford Hall from Highway 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. Click here for a campus map. Ford Hall is number 58B on the map.
The Marshall Theatre is fully accessible and assisted listening devices are
available at each performance.