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Theatre season features Shakespeare, Dickens, encore

MONMOUTH, Ill. – The 2018-19 Monmouth College theatre season offers something for everyone – Shakespeare, a musical, wolves in athletes’ clothing, a student-directed comedy and an encore performance.

The encore is a two-night performance of a production from last season, Philip Ridley’s The Pitchfork Disney. It will be restaged Oct. 30-31 in Wells Theater as a candidate for the 2019 Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival in Madison, Wis.

On the prior weekend of Oct. 25-28, new theatre faculty member Todd Quick will direct Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream at the College’s Fusion Theatre at 230 S. Main St. in downtown Monmouth.

Known as one The Bard’s “strangest and most delightful creations,” the comedy’s action takes place in a forest, where four lovers take refuge as a royal wedding approaches in Athens. They become pawns in the fervent battle between Oberon and Titania, the king and queen of the fairies. The antics of Oberon’s servant, Puck, take the audience on an adventure of magic, mistaken identities and love.

The fall portion of the season will conclude Nov. 15-18, when students in the College’s “Principles of Directing” class direct Almost, Maine by John Cariani.

Set in the remote, mythical almost-town called Almost, Maine, the romantic comedy explores themes of love and loss. The action transpires in nine short plays, bookended with a prologue and epilogue.

Theatre professor Doug Rankin will tackle the worlds of young adults and sports when he directs Sarah DeLappe’s The Wolves Feb. 21-24 in Wells Theater.

From the safety of their suburban stretch circle, a girls soccer team navigates big questions and wages tiny battles with all the vim and vigor of a pack of adolescent warriors – or wolves.

The season will conclude April 11-14 in Wells Theater with Lionel Bart’s musical Oliver!, directed and choreographed by theatre professor Vanessa Campagna.

Set in Victorian England and based on Charles Dickens’s novel Oliver Twist, the production follows a malnourished orphan boy who escapes a workhouse and flees to London. In London, Oliver finds acceptance in Fagin’s gang of pickpockets, and later comes under the care of Mr. Brownlow. Throughout, Oliver yearns to discover the true love of family.

Oliver! will be co-produced by the Buchanan Center for the Arts and the College’s Department of Music.

Fusion Fest V, a 24-hour play festival, will open the season Sept. 8. Short productions will be written in less than 24 hours and performed at the Fusion Theatre.

Purchase tickets for a production or for the season (at a 20 percent discount).