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Juniata Theatre Production Celebrates Poetry and its Creation

(Posted February 9, 2004)

HUNTINGDON, Pa. -- Juniata College theatre students have taken inspiration from a series of essays on poetry by poet Jane Hirshfield to create a new production, ?Nine Gates,? which will run at 7 p.m., from Thursday, Feb. 19 through Saturday, Feb. 21 t Rosenberger Auditorium in Oller Hall on the Juniata campus.

Tickets for all performances are available at the information desk in the Ellis College Center lobby or at the door before each night's performances. Tickets are $5 for general admission and $3 for students. For tickets, please call (814) 641-3333.

The production will feature staged dramatizations of poems written by Hirshfield and other contemporary poets, complemented by vivid movement and dance sequences scored to the music of jazz guitarist Bill Frisell and other musicians.

The production, conceived and created by Andrew Belser, associate professor of theatre, will premiere at Juniata and will possibly tour to other colleges and universities after its initial run at Juniata.

?You don?t have to love poetry to enjoy this show,? Belser says. ?We are trying to give the audience a look at the experience of creation, to let them see the art of creating a poem.?
The production features mostly contemporary American poets, although several sequences will feature Hirshfield?s translations of traditional Japanese poetry.
?After the show on each night of the production, we will have a discussion period after the show to talk about poetry and the play,? Belser says.

The ?Nine Gates? production will feature five guest artists. The stage designs will be created by Rudy Ward, a professional stage designer who works at Virginia Tech University. Professional choreographer Stephanie Skura created the movement sequences in collaboration with Belser. Craig Young and Heather Rae Miller, both instructors at the theater department of Florida International University, will create the show?s lighting design and costumes, respectively. Luke Boulton, a freelance television journalist, will provide sound production and act in the ensemble.

The play is inspired by Hirshfield?s book ?Nine Gates: Entering the Mind of Poetry.? The structure of the production features theatrical vignettes focused on individual poems.
Juniata students in the cast are: Raina Miller, a senior from Millington, Md.; Taro Shibuya, a senior from Tokyo; Sean Waddle, a senior from Huntingdon, Pa.; Beth Reiter, a senior from Eden, N.Y., and Kari Calaway, a senior from Austin, Texas. Luke Boulton. also is a member of the cast.

Contact John Wall at wallj@juniata.edu or (814) 641-3132 for more information.