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Theater standard opens tonight

Feb. 16, 2001



The theater department will present Michael Christofer's The Shadow Box in the Mabee Theater at the Hooper-Schaefer Fine Arts Center beginning tonight.

Scheduled curtain times are 7:30 p.m. Feb. 16 through 18 and Feb. 20 through 24, and a matinee performance will be at 2:30 p.m. Feb. 25.

The Shadow Box won the 1977 Tony Award for Best Play and the 1977 Pulitzer Prize for Dramatic Literature.

In the production, three terminal cancer patients live in three separate cottages on hospital grounds and are each faced with the nearness of death. The cancer patients, family and friends interact with each other to share their fears and anxieties about the final days.

Dr. Stan Denman, acting chairman of the department and the director of The Shadow Box, said the play hits close to home with him personally and the cast members.

Almost everyone in the cast has had someone who has been touched by a terminal illness or cancer.

'We want to dedicate this play to individuals who have survived cancer as well has to those who have lost their battle with a terminal illness. It really has a lot of funny parts and uplifting moments along with the sadness. It's about the value of living in the moment,' Denman said.

'My grandfather died of cancer and I was very close to him. I also have a cousin who went to the doctor recently and I was told she has only four months to live. When I went fishing with my grandfather he said a lot of things that I didn't understand at the time. My grandfather taught my about living while he was dying,' he said.

Lance Currie, a Paintrock senior plays the part of Joe. He said the characters in the play come to grips with the reality of death.

'The Shadow Box is a sad play about the relationship between the patients and the families and how they try to reason through death,' Currie said.

Erik Archilla, a Tyler sophomore who plays Steve's character, was affected by the play because he has not had anyone close to him pass away.

'I have had a blast working with th cast,' Arcilla said. 'I went home right after the first rehearsal to talk to my parents. We should cherish our loved ones.'

Additionally, the lobby outside the theater will display photographs and personal accounts sent by Central Texas residents that deal with terminal cancer and the possibility of death.

Justin Evans, a promoter for the production, said 'We want to drive home to the audience to savor the moments with loved ones.'

'The story is heartbreaking but it is also very inspiring at times. This is when we see people at their best. We can gain inspiration from this production,' Denman said

Tickets can be purchased for $8 at the theater box office.