|
|
|
Morning Sun
  • Improv play 'The History of Laundry' to be performed at PSU

  • “The History of Laundry” is an original work conceived and directed by Cynthia Allan of the Pittsburg State University community faculty. It’s also a piece created anew each night by its student cast.

    • email print
  • “The History of Laundry” is an original work conceived and directed by Cynthia Allan of the Pittsburg State University community faculty. It’s also a piece created anew each night by its student cast.
    The play, which presents aspects of American family life through the cycles of laundry, will be presented by the PSU Advanced Performer Ensemble at 8 p.m. Thursday through Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday in the Grubbs Studio Theatre.
    Allan said she got the idea for the piece many years ago, did a workshop production of it in 1998 in South Carolina and was asked to do it again in 1999 at Allegheny College when she was an artist in residence there.
    “I’ve always premiered new work here at PSU, but decided it was time to see if ‘The  History of Laundry’ still had the same magic as the first, early productions,” she said.
    Well, it does, with the help of an accomplished student cast who are occasionally winging it on-stage. Though Allan sets the basic structure of each scene, the actors create it  in  the moment.
    The show starts and ends with a cave woman dressed in animal skins who starts banging her dirty laundry between two rocks.
    What follows are scenes, all set in a laundry room/laundromat,  with children running loose in the laundry while Mom and Dad are elsewhere, an adult son trying to persuade his elderly mother to  post a Facebook profile, a single father trying to teach his highly disinterested 13-year-old daughter how to fold laundry, a mother trying to persuade a friend to sign her effeminate boy up for football so he won’t turn gay, a woman revealing to her sisters that she’s about to marry another woman, even a theater costume mistress arguing with a colleague who really wants to be on stage, not washing costumes.
    Perhaps one of the most poignant has a little girl wearing a princess crown with a toy iron and ironing board.  She talks of marrying a boy as handsome as Prince Charming, going on picnics with him and having 12 cute babies. Standing by her is an exhausted wife ironing for real while talking about her out-of-work husband who isn’t even trying to find a job and her three lazy children who don’t even pick up after themselves.
    Members of the acting ensemble, who play multiple roles, include Caitlin Almond, Morgan Beach, Angella Curran, Jesse Gregory, Jacob Hacker, Lara Ismert, Jeanine Kunshek, Taylor Patterson, Megan Westhoff and Robert Wilson.
    The technical crew also works in an improvised manner, with everyone filling a variety of tasks. Included are Elle Walker, Annie Beggs and C.J. Baccus. Costumes were provided by Lisa Quinteros, with sets and lighting by Doug Bennett. Choreography has been provided by Kaye Lewis, director of the Midwest Regional Ballet.
    Page 2 of 2 - Allan has often included a community service component in her productions, and this one is no exception. All of the clothing collected for the show will be carefully folded and given to charity after the show closes.
    Tickets will be $10 for the general public, $6 for those under 17 or over 65 and free for those with a valid PSU photo ID. Tickets are available through the PSU Ticket Office at 235-4796 or at the door 30 minutes prior to the show.

        calendar