“Family Furniture” was inspired by A.R. Gurney’s own life and the culture of the 1950’s when he was a young adult. The show focuses on a young adult brother and sister pair who must come to terms with traumatic events going on in their family. The potenti
ESU’s Theatre Department is set to
present their first production of the year, “Family Furniture”. The play’s
author A.R. Gurney—who passed away in June of this year—is an audience favorite
and ESU Theatre has produced several of
his works including “The Dining Room,” “Love Letters” and “Sylvia.”
“Family Furniture” was inspired by
Gurney’s own life and the culture of the 1950’s when he was a young adult. The
show focuses on a young adult brother and sister pair who must come to terms
with traumatic events going on in their family. The potential of a mother’s
infidelity and a father’s apathy threatens to divide a seemingly normal,
nuclear family in a society where keeping up with appearances can be more
important than honesty.
The play is under the direction of Professor
Theresa Mitchell. Mitchell is excited for audiences to see the unique story
that Gurney’s perspectives provide.
“Family Furniture is about a family
shifting perceptions and attitudes during the summer of 1951 at their summer
home on Lake Erie. Russell and Claire have two college age children, Peggy and
Nick, who are expanding their social connections and experiences. Claire wants
to let her children experience all that life offers, while Russell wants to
protect his children’s future by influencing their choices,” Mitchell said.
The production staff features Lighting
Designer Nancy Pontius. Technical Director Chris Lohkamp also designed the
play’s scenery. Costume Designer Amanda Dura is researching 1950s fashions to
give the play an authentic look. Student members of the production staff
include Dustin Bittel (Ellis), production stage manager, and assistant stage
manager Isabella Harvey (McPherson). Matt Mahr (Overland Park) will serve as
The cast of the play features Paige
Lundin (Wichita) as Claire, Drew Ashland Noss (Mound Valley) as Russell, Torin
Horvik (Fargo, North Dakota) as Peggy; Ryan Howerton (Haysville) as Nick and
Isabelle Nelson (Olathe) as Betsy.
The rest of the company includes
MacKenzie Needham (Andover) who will serve as Lightboard Operator, and Sean
McConville (Gardner) as Sound Board Operator. The set and props shift crew are
Emily Rayson (Ottawa) and Cameron Webb (Shawnee). Amber Gaffney (Kansas City,
Missouri) and Squid Monteith (Topeka) are the Scenery Construction Crew. Erin
Dublin (Olathe) will serve as Costume and Makeup Crew Chief, overseeing the
costume crew of Hannah Lingard (Topeka), Keegan Lawrence (Butler, Missouri),
Jeayun Im (Pohang, South Korea) and Alma Santibanez (Wichita).
“Family Furniture”will play in the Ronald Q. Frederickson
Theatre Ronald Q. Frederickson Theatre at 7:30 PM September 26 – 30 with an
additional matinee performance at 2:00 PM on September 30. Emporia State
University. Tickets will be available April 3 and can be reserved at the ESU
Memorial Union Ticket Office or by calling 620-341-6378.