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March 26, 2019

SVSU student to direct campus production of Tony Award-winning play


Joseph GreenA Saginaw Valley State University initiative designed to give students more experience producing plays soon will place one theatre major in the director's chair for a production of a Tony Award-winning and Pulitzer Prize finalist black comedy.


Joseph Green, a theatre major from Shelby Township, will direct "The Goat, or Who Is Sylvia?" from celebrated American playwright Edward Albee. The play will be a 2-night affair — Friday and Saturday, March 29-30, at 7:30 p.m. — in SVSU's Black Box Studio, located in Curtiss 180 in Curtiss Hall.


Tickets are $13 for the public and $10 for students or seniors 60 and older. Because of strong language and adult situations, it is recommended only for audiences 17 or older.


The production is part of the SVSU theatre department's Studio X.P. Program, in which students propose a production of their choice, then cast and direct the play. Green both suggested the play and will direct it under the supervision of Tommy Wedge, assistant professor of theatre.


“SVSU theatre puts their name on the play, but essentially, the department doesn't really touch the show,” Green said of his opportunity. “They are trusting the students to put on a quality production. Having full agency over your own show as a student is very rare, especially for a university of our size.”


Wedge said Green's vision for “The Goat, or Who Is Sylvia?” is a strong interpretation of its source material written by the playwright known for modern theatrical classics such as “Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?”


“It's about society's shifting views on love and sex, and how those ideas mix with what is acceptable within culture and society,” Wedge said.


The black comedy follows a white-picket family with a marriage that falls apart when a man in that family falls in love with a goat.


“There's quite a bit of profanity in the show,” Wedge warned, “but there's quite a bit of profanity in life too. It's a really well-written play.”


Aubree Harrell, a communication and theatre major from Essexville who plays the wife of the man who falls in love with the goat, said the bizarre situations that unfold in the play hold a deeper meaning.


“We all can relate to this story in some way,” she said. “It may seem like an outrageous scenario, but if we take out maybe one element, we can see ourselves in this play.”


Tickets can be purchased online or at the SVSU Box Office.