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'Spinning Into Butter'

Rebecca Gilman’s play examines race, identity and contemporary values in America

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January 27, 2011 | by Judy Moore
Rebecca Gilman's play "Spinning Into Butter" will  be performed from Jan. 28 through Feb. 6 at the Josephine Louis Theater. Part of TIC’s 30th anniversary mainstage season, the production will be directed by Joseph Jefferson Award-winning guest artist Derrick Sanders.
EVANSTON, Ill. --- Set on a fictitious college campus, School of Communication faculty member Rebecca Gilman’s award-winning play “Spinning Into Butter” explores race, racism and political correctness in a profound and, at times, amusing way.

This winter, the Theatre and Interpretation Center (TIC) at Northwestern University will present Gilman’s thought-provoking play at the Josephine Louis Theater, 20 Arts Circle Drive, Evanston campus.

Public performances of “Spinning Into Butter” will take place at 8 p.m. Friday, Jan. 28; 8 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 29; 2 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 30, 8 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 3; 8 p.m. Friday, Feb. 4; 8 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 5; and 2 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 6. Post-show discussions with the creative team and Northwestern student cast members will follow the Jan. 30 and Feb. 3 performances. A special opening night discussion with the playwright, director and cast members will follow the Jan. 28 performance.

Part of TIC’s 30th anniversary mainstage season, the production will be directed by Joseph Jefferson Award-winning guest artist Derrick Sanders, founding artistic director of Congo Square Theatre Company and artistic director of the University of Illinois at Chicago’s department of performing arts. Named by Time magazine as one of the best plays of 2000, “Spinning Into Butter” follows a saga of racially motivated vandalism on a quiet Vermont campus. It falls to Sarah Daniels, the dean of students, to resolve the unprecedented situation or, perhaps, just to quiet the hype.

“Rebecca Gilman’s ruthlessly honest play holds a mirror up to modern America with a truth and honesty that few writers have ever dared to attempt,” said TIC Artistic Director Henry Godinez. “Under the insightful direction of Derrick Sanders, the gauntlet challenging all of us to look at how we personally deal with race is thrown down.”

“Spinning Into Butter” will feature 13 Northwestern undergraduate student cast members. Graduate students Mekey Guberinic designed the costumes, Courtney O’Neill designed the set and Will Kirkham designed the lighting.

“I’m thrilled to be working with Derrick and the students of Northwestern,” said Gilman. “They bring a fresh perspective and openness to the play that’s very exciting.”

Gilman is associate professor of radio/television and film at Northwestern. Her other plays include “Boy Gets Girl,” “The Crowd You’re In With,” “Dollhouse,” “A True History of the Johnstown Flood,” “The Heart is a Lonely Hunter,” “Blue Surge” and “The Glory of Living.”

Tickets for “Spinning Into Butter” are $20 for the general public; $18 for seniors 65 and older, Northwestern faculty and staff and area teachers; and $10 for full-time students. Discounted rates for groups of 15 more also are available. Tickets may be purchased through the TIC Box Office at (847) 491-7282 or www.tic.northwestern.edu.