April 28, 2001
UW-RF University to Stage Oleanna
The UW-River Falls University Theatre will present David Mametıs "Oleanna" Thursday through Saturday, May 3-5 and May 10-12, in the Syse Theater of the Kleinpell Fine Arts Building. All performances are scheduled for 8 p.m.
Oleanna is lively and thought-provoking, addressing the roles of both students and teachers and issues such as abuse of power and the role of education in todayıs society.
The two characters in the play, John and his student, Carol, are played by UW-RF sophomore Sarah Martin, an English major from Mounds View, Minn., and freshman Daniel Ritchey, a social science major from St. Louis, Mo.
Carol is failing Johnıs class, and she absolutely cannot accept a failing grade. John is seemingly insensitive to her problem. Carol brings charges of sexual harassment against the professor, and he stands to lose some things he absolutely cannot accept losing.
Members of the audience are left to decide for themselves whether this is a tale of academic insensitivity and abuse of professorial power or a modern-day witch hunt initiated by a vengeful student.
The play may be named for a folk story about how a man named Ole and his wife, Anna, bought acres of swamp land, then sold it as farm land to those who were willing to invest their life savings. Once the money had been collected, the pair vanished and the buyers were left with worthless property.
This became known as the "Oleanna swindle." For Mamet, higher education may be todayıs Oleanna swindle.
The public is invited to stay for post-show discussions with UW-RF faculty, administrators and students on May 4, 10 and 11. Tickets can be reserved through the University Theater box office on campus, or by phoning the box office at 715/425-3114.
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