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'The Edge of Peace' July 28 to 30

Suzan Zeder’s final “Ware Trilogy” play for family members 8 to 88

July 1, 2011 | by Judy Moore

EVANSTON, Ill. --- “The Edge of Peace” -- a play by one of the nation’s leading playwrights for family audiences -- tackles many of the same issues families have been coping with for generations. The final installment of Suzan Zeder’s popular Ware Trilogy, “The Edge of Peace,” tells the story of a young boy’s struggle to make sense of a world at war and of life-changing events unfolding far away.  

Part of the Theatre and Interpretation Center (TIC) at Northwestern’s SummerStage 2011 productions, Zeder’s new family play will be performed at 8 p.m. Thursday, July 28; 8 p.m. Friday, July 29; and 2 p.m. Saturday, July 30, at Northwestern University’s Ethel M. Barber Theater, 30 Arts Circle Drive, on the University’s Evanston campus. The July 30 matinee performance will be sign-interpreted. (Note: there also will be a performance at 8 p.m. Saturday, July 30, which is part of the American Alliance for Theatre and Education’s national conference and is not open to the public.)

Directed by TIC Artistic Director Henry Godinez, “The Edge of Peace” is part of the trilogy also including “Mother Hicks” and “Taste of Sunrise.”

Zeder’s powerful work was commissioned and developed by Seattle Children’s Theatre. Northwestern’s production will be presented in conjunction with the American Alliance for Theatre and Education’s (AATE) national conference and sponsored by the Edward F. Harris Family Foundation. The conference for more than 400 theatre artists and educators from across the country will be held at the Renaissance Chicago Downtown Hotel (Marriott) in Chicago from July 26 to 31.

Set in the small southern Illinois town of Ware, “The Edge of Peace” examines how the community copes when the majority of its men are away at war and asks what it means to be a patriotic American.

“This play conveys to children and adults the idea that we shouldn’t be too quick to judge those who don’t fit our mold of American patriotism,” said Godinez. “It is the perfect summer play for kids, parents and their grandparents to come together and learn a little history and later talk about war and community and friendships and family.”

The production’s 11-member cast is a mix of professional and Northwestern student actors. Mother Hicks -- a marginalized woman known as “Nell” who lives in self-imposed isolation  -- will be played by Northwestern theater faculty member Mary Poole. School of Communication faculty member Rives Collins, who also is the president of AATE’s board of directors, will play shopkeeper and air raid warden Clovis P. Eudy. 

A hearing-impaired man called “Tuc” will be portrayed by award-winning Deaf Chicago actor Robert Schleifer. Young actor Will Higgins, who appeared in TIC’s November 2010 production of “The Secret Garden,” will portray Buddy -- a boy whose elder brother is “missing in action.”  

The often humorous “The Edge of Peace” is in two acts with a 15-minute intermission and a running time of less than two hours. Recommended for audiences aged 8 and older, Zeder’s play does include some violence and dark images. 

Single tickets are $15 for the general public; $12 for seniors, Northwestern faculty and staff and area educators and administrators; and $8 for full-time students with valid IDs. 

To order tickets, phone (847) 491-7282 or visit www.tic.northwestern.edu.

Topics: Campus Life