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    University Players to Present Three Classic One Acts in One Sitting

    October 20, 2021

    The University of Scranton Players will return to live performances in the Royal Theatre with a bill of three classic one-act plays that celebrate the nature of theatre: Catastrophe by Samuel Beckett, Edward Albee’s The Zoo Story, and The Actor’s Nightmare by Christopher Durang. The evening will last around one hour and a half with an intermission. Performances will be held on Oct. 22, 23 & 24 and Oct. 29, 30, and 31. Performance times are at 8 p.m. on Friday and Saturday and Sunday at 2 p.m. All performances will be in person in the Royal Theatre on the campus of The University of Scranton. Actors will be unmasked while on stage. Reservations are required. There are no walk-up tickets that will be sold. The production will be directed by Michael O’Steen.

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    Catastrophe is written by Samuel Beckett, widely recognized as one of the greatest dramatists of the 20th century. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1969. Mr. Beckett is most renowned for his play Waiting for Godot. Like no other dramatist before him, Mr. Beckett’s works capture the pathos and ironies of modern life yet still maintain his faith in man’s capacity for compassion and survival, no matter how absurd his environment may have become.

    Edward Albee’s The Zoo Story was a theatrical phenomenon when it first appeared in the 1950s. In it, a man sits peacefully reading in the sunlight in Central Park. There enters a second man. He is a young, unkempt and undisciplined vagrant where the first is neat, ordered, well-to-do and conventional. The vagrant is a soul in torture and rebellion. He longs to communicate so fiercely that he frightens and repels his listener. He is a man drained of all hope who, in his passion for company, seeks to drain his companion. With provocative humor and unrelenting suspense, the young savage slowly, but relentlessly, brings his victim down to his own atavistic level as he relates a story about his visit to the zoo.

    The Actor’s Nightmare is a comedic romp through the world of theatre by the acclaimed comic playwright Christopher Durang. Having casually wandered onstage, George is informed that one of the actors, Eddie, has been in an auto accident and he must replace him immediately. Apparently, no one is sure of what play is being performed but George (costumed as Hamlet) seems to find himself in the middle of a scene from Private Lives, surrounded by such luminaries as Sarah Siddons, Dame Ellen Terry and Henry Irving. As he fumbles through one missed cue after another the other actors shift to Hamlet, then a play by Samuel Beckett, and then a climactic scene from what might well be A Man for All Seasons—by which time the disconcerted George has lost all sense of contact with his fellow performers. Yet, in the closing moments of the play, he rises to the occasion and finally says the right lines, whereupon make-believe suddenly gives way to reality as the executioner’s axe (meant for Sir Thomas Moore) instead sends poor George to oblivion—denying him a well-earned curtain call.

    The company of 3 for One-Act features: Keenan Beveridge, Katherine Carter, Geoff Pizzuto, Neely Rice, Wilmarr Saint Surin, Andrew Vizzard, and Grace Washney.

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    The University of Scranton Players is an academic theatre program that brings exceptional theatre to Northeastern Pennsylvania every season. The Players’ productions feature University of Scranton students in a mix of classical and contemporary works under the direction and mentorship of award-winning faculty and guest artists.

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