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The department of theatre at Hope College will present “bobrauschenbergamerica,” by Charles L. Mee, on Friday and Saturday, Feb. 15-16, and Wednesday-Saturday, Feb. 20-23, at 8 p.m. in the DeWitt Center main theatre.
“bobrauschenbergamerica” is a melting pot of shared cultural history inspired by the 20th-century visual artist Robert Rauschenberg, best known for his vibrant collage works. Likewise, playwright Charles L. Mee weaves a theatrical landscape of American iconography with music, dance, and a variety of original and existing texts. The result is a dizzying journey led by a quirky ensemble of characters that peers into the recent past with humor and affection to discover the promises of the 21st century.
The play is directed by guest artist, Donnie Mather. A New York theatre artist who last appeared at Hope in 2009 in his one-man play “A Show of Force,” Mather is a former associate artist at SITI Company and founder of The Adaptations Project.
“Charles Mee breaks the rules of traditional playwriting,” said Mather, who has worked with the playwright twice before. “Ultimately, Mee celebrates the pluralism of America, with all its beauty, its ugliness, its simplicity, its vastness, its music, its geography, and its potential.”
The cast includes sophomore Brittany Bernardi of Ventura, Calif.; sophomore Dylan Connor of Tallahassee, Fla.; junior Lauren Ezzo of Haslett; sophomore John Haga of Rochester; sophomore Josh McCammon of Ann Arbor, freshman Mollie Murk of Huntley, Ill.; freshman Cameron Pratt of Zeeland; freshman Nick Richardson of Ann Arbor; senior Jesse Swatling-Holcomb of Oakland, Calif.; and freshman Theodora Zucker of Lake Orion.
The production team includes faculty members Michelle Bombe, costume designer; Richard Smith, scenic designer; and Perry Landes, lighting designer. Staff members Paul Anderson is technical director, and staff member Darlene Veenstra costume shop manager. Mather is also providing choreography and sound design.
Joining the faculty and staff on the team are sophomore Emily Svendson of Crystal Lake, Ill., as stage manager, junior Aaron Haecker of Winchester, Va., as assistant lighting designer, freshman Tomas Brvenik of London, United Kingdom, as assistant sound designer, junior Andrea Lindsay of Pheonix, Ariz., as properties designer, and sophomore Molly McNair of Belleville, Wis., as assistant costume designer. Freshman Kristen Brown of Broken Arrow, Okla., and sophomore Alexandra Leppek of Bay City are assistant stage managing.
Tickets for “bobrauschenbergamerica” are $10 for regular admission, $7 for senior citizens and Hope College faculty and staff, $5 for children 18 and under, and free for Hope students, and are available at the ticket office in the main lobby of the DeVos Fieldhouse. The ticket office is open weekdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and can be called at (616) 395-7890. Tickets are also available online at tickets.hope.edu/ticketing/
The DeVos Fieldhouse is located at 222 Fairbanks Ave., between 9th and 11th streets. The DeWitt Center is located at 141 E. 12th St., on Columbia Avenue at 12th Street.