The Brigham Young University Department of Theatre and Media Arts presents the premiere of a new work by faculty playwright Eric Samuelsen, "Family," in the Margetts Theatre March 2-19 at 7:30 p.m.
Preview performances are March 2-3 at 7:30 p.m. and a matinee is scheduled for Saturday, March 12, at 2 p.m. There will be no performances Sundays or Mondays.
Tickets are $12 for adults or $9 with a student ID. Seats for previews and matinee performances are $5. Tickets may be purchased by calling the Fine Arts Ticket Office at (801) 378-4322 or by visiting http://performances.byu.edu.
The play, "Family," directed by David Morgan, is a new comedy that follows the struggles of a generally loving and supportive Mormon family through one extremely bad day. Each of the four children comes home to seek comfort and answers. At a moment of crisis, love and laughter reveal the family's inner strength.
"Family is where you can't get away with anything," Samuelsen says. "Family is where the people know you so well that they see right through all your posturing and pretentiousness. But also, the family is a place where they respect you enough to allow you much needed privacy. The Hulls in my play aren't perfect, and they make mistakes. But they muddle through pretty effectively."
David Morgan, director of "Family," says the play is centered on a theme of unfinished or unrealized promises and commitments.
The children in the family are each coming home after failing to complete an important part of their lives. For one, it's a marriage commitment. For another, it is a graduate program. For another, it is a Church mission.
"They listen and fight and tease, and share the same stupid jokes and try to solve the puzzle - the most important puzzle of all: family," Morgan says.
Samuelsen says he did not want to write only a comedy or only a tragedy, but he wanted to write a play that would show a family dealing with the same things many families deal with today.
"We are afraid as Mormons to reinvent ourselves, and it holds us back," Samuelsen says. "We need to be constantly reborn. I think that is what repentance is. We can't ever settle - life won't let us. We have to rethink things, re-decide who we are and what we mean to each other."
Samuelsen joined the BYU faculty as a professor in theatre history, theory and criticism in 1992. His talent in playwriting led him to win the Association for Mormon Letters Best Play Award three times, for "Accomodations," "Gadianton" and "The Way We're Wired." After the third win he was declared ineligible to win any more.
He received his bachelor's degree in playwriting from BYU in 1982 and finished his doctorate in theatre history and dramatic literature from Indiana University in 1991.
The production team includes costume design by Carla Chemzova and lighting design by Monika Gray.
For information, call Eric Samuelsen at (801) 422-3305.
Writer: Devin Knighton