Actresses Interpret American Culture

August 13, 2004

IT may not be the musical theater itwas billed, but a performance by two U.S.actresses today at 7:30 p.m. at EugeneO’Neill Theater promise lots of music anddancing nonetheless.Though there will be no singing duringthis installment of the Promising Artists ofthe 21st Century series,advertised by the theateras a night of Broadwayhits, theatergoers will notbe disappointed. TheresaMitchell and KelleyDavis, of Emporia StateUniversity in Emporia,Kansas, will entertain thecrowd with a highbrowtake on pop U.S. culture,interpreting everything from Elvis toMcDonald’s.Mitchell said the pair will perform twodance medleys, the first inspired by U.S.television shows such as“Cheers” and “HappyDays.” The second is adance to music by rock‘n’ roll legend ElvisPresley.“We’ll be tapping andclogging to Elvis,” saidMitchell, a professor oftheater and dance atEmporia, with a laugh.“It really cracks me upbecause that leads into a one-act playcalled ‘Graceland.’ ‘Graceland’ takes placeoutside, the day that it opens in 1982. It’sabout two women vying to get in.”THE play’s title is better known asElvis Presley’s mansion, located Memphis,Tenn.Mitchell and Davis, who is in her lastyear studying theater and education atEmporia State, will then perform scenesfrom “Talking With,” by James Martin.“There’s three separate monologues,”Mitchell said. “The first one is called‘Auditions,’ and that’s about a middle agedwoman who is auditioning for a role,and she’s desperate to get the part.“There’s one (scene) called ‘FrenchFries’ and it’s about a bag lady. It’s herdream to live in a McDonald’s. That’s herideal existence, because (she thinks) noone ever dies at McDonald’s.“The last one is called ‘Lamps’ andthat’s about an older woman who is enthusiasticabout light and radiance and whatlight has done for her, so she’s sharing herpassion for lamps with those who are listening.It’s about the idea of growing olderalone, and she finds some comfort inlamps,” Mitchell explained, adding, “Ithink it’s a nice program, a nice combination.”PROMISING Artists of the 21stCentury is an intercultural exchange inwhich American music students visit toperform and teach the public, as well aslearn more about Costa Rica. Visitingartists stay with host families and travelaround the country during their stay,according to the theater’s Cultural DirectorManuel Arce.“I love Costa Rica!” said Mitchell,who, along with Davis, participated in theprogram last year. “We asked this year ifwe could stay on a few extra days.“The people really seem to appreciatewhat we do,” Mitchell added. “They’revery interested in American culture.”The actresses also led workshops conductedin English. On Aug. 10, Davis leda jazz and musical theater dance class forall levels, and Mitchell taught an actingclass.The Eugene O’Neill Theater is in theCosta Rican-North American CulturalCenter in Los Yoses. Call the theater fortickets and info at 207-7555. Generaladmission tickets cost ¢2,000 ($4.60),¢1,000 ($2.30) for students and senior citizens.

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