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Newbery winner "The Giver" comes to BYU's Pardoe Stage May 27-June 13

Stars Barta Heiner in the title role

Brigham Young University’s Department of Theatre and Media Arts presents “The Giver,” based on the Newbery Medal-winning novel, Wednesday, May 27 through Saturday, June 13, at 7:30 p.m. in the Pardoe Theatre, Harris Fine Arts Center.

Dress rehearsals will be May 27 and 28, and matinees will be presented on June 4, 6, 12 and 13 at 2 p.m. There will be no performances Sundays or Mondays.

Tickets are $13 or $8 on weeknights and $9 on weekends with a BYU or student ID. Dress rehearsal and matinee tickets are $7. For tickets, call the Fine Arts Ticket Office at (801) 422-4322 or visit byuarts.com.

Eric Coble’s stage adaptation of Lois Lowry’s award-winning, young adult novel will explore the importance of choice. Set in a future society where the freedom of choice has been removed, young Jonas becomes the “Receiver of Memory” and realizes through memories that it is unfair to deprive people of making their own choices.

“Freedom of choice and the power of knowledge have long fascinated mankind and have inspired countless dialogues and analysis for many generations,” said director Jeff Martin. “What a fascinatingly simple observation — and one that is most likely taken for granted by all of us who enjoy the freedom to choose everything from what color of socks to put on in the morning to what to eat for lunch in the afternoon.”

The characters in the play are denied agency in order to prevent its possible and inevitable side effects — sadness, pain, war, heartache and dysfunction. What the community fails to realize in the process of trying to create a utopian society is that the other consequences of agency would also be abolished, namely love, hope, passion, discovery and compassion. The production will show that the end result is dystopian rather than ideal.

In the BYU production, the Giver will be played by Barta Heiner, Jonas by Stephen Holder, Lily by Chloe Fullmer, Asher by Trevor Elzey, Fiona by Hayley Walker, Mother by Bergen Goesch and Father by Chad Whatcott. The cast will also feature actors Cooper Fullmer, Christie Clark, Audrey Nelson and Clotile Bonner.

Directed by Jeff Martin, the production team includes Emily Ray, dramaturg; David Mortensen, production stage manager; Danniey Wright, scenic designer; Sharah Meservy, costume, makeup and hair designer; Marianne Ohran, lighting designer; and Troy Streeter, sound designer.

Audience members are welcome to join the cast and crew for a “Lunch ‘n’ Learn” activity 90 minutes before each of the four matinee performances. Theatre professors will lead discussion and activities to prepare patrons for the show. Patrons can bring a sack lunch or purchase a lunch for $6. For more information or to register, visit byuarts.com.

“I would really like everyone to read the book before they come to the performance,” Martin said. “It will enhance their experience as they study and talk about it beforehand — of course, we’ll welcome those who come without reading it, too.”

Writer: Angela Fischer

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