In 'Dear Elizabeth' Theatre Alumni Bring Poetry to Life

ArkansasStaged will present a staged reading of Dear Elizabeth by Sarah Ruhl at 21c Museum-Hotel in Bentonville at 7 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 25. The reading is co-directed by Department of Theatre alumna Laura Shatkus and Debra Capps, and features alumni Justin Scheuer and Virginia Scheuer.

The performance is free and open to the public, with a suggested donation of $5. Seating is limited and reservations are necessary. RSVP by visiting the Arkansas Staged facebook page.

Dear Elizabeth is an innovative and moving play based on the 30-year friendship between two of the most celebrated poets of the 20th century: Elizabeth Bishop and Robert Lowell.

The pair were rarely in the same place at the same time, but from 1947 until Lowell's sudden death in 1977, the two exchanged more than 400 letters in which they narrate large and small events in their often-rocky paths through life, with topics including: work, travel, illnesses, romantic relationships and the deep affection they had for each other.

The talents of numerous Department of Theatre and J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences alumni will be on display in Dear Elizbeth. Virginia Scheuer and Justin Scheuer, as well as co-director and artistic director Laura Shatkus, are all graduates of the Department of Theatre's M.F.A. in acting program. Keefer Dean Roach, a recent graduate of the undergraduate program in theatre, will design the sound for the reading.

For Justin Scheuer, performing with his wife in this particular two-character reading is an unusual and exciting opportunity.

"She's one of the best actors I know," he said. "This is going to be a unique challenge for us because there aren't any traditional scenes where the characters are in the same room together. We only get to see those moments when they were apart. Ruhl finds really unusual and creative ways to bridge that distance with striking and surprising imagery and staging suggestions."

Contacts

Laura Shatkus, artistic and managing director
ArkansasStaged
773-216-4607, arkansasstaged@gmail.com

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