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Volume 23, No. 7       November 13, 2000

Ithaca College Theatre to Present ‘Lily Dale’

Horton Foote’s moving drama Lily Dale will be the third production in Ithaca College Theatre’s 2000–2001 season. Performances in the Clark Theatre in the Dillingham Center for the Performing Arts will run November 30–December 2 and December 5–9, with a preview on Wednesday, November 29. Performance times will be 8:00 p.m., with a Saturday matinee on December 9 at 2:00 p.m.

Tickets go on sale Monday, November 27, with prices ranging from $3.50 to $9.00. The box office is open from noon to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, in the Dillingham Center lobby. For tickets and information, call 274-3224. Discounts for groups of 15 or more can be purchased by calling 274-3796.

Lily Dale takes place over a period of three weeks in the early 1900s. Nineteen-year-old Horace Robedaux has been invited by his mother, Corella Davenport, to visit her and his younger sister, Lily Dale. His alcoholic father had died when Horace was 12, and Corella married Pete Davenport, who agreed to take Lily Dale into the family but refused to accept Horace. Foote portrays the tensions that surface during Horace’s visit and their consequences with the subtle, understated style that has become the signature of his work.

Lily Dale is one of nine works in Foote’s dramatic series The Orphan’s Home, which follows several generations of the Robedaux family, depicting their hardships amid the decline of the plantation aristocracy in southern Texas. As demonstrated throughout The Orphan’s Home, Foote has a special gift for communicating his message to the audience through subtext rather than directly stating it in dialogue.

"In the . . . plays that I especially like," the playwright has said, "the effects are often arrived at through suggestion rather than through statement. If the play is well done, it transcends boundaries and forms and reaches many people — whether it’s expressionism or realism or naturalism or futurism or whatever the ‘ism.’ That’s only the outer shell. The life of the thing is much more mysterious than that."

The Young Man from Atlanta, the most recent play in the series, earned the Pulitzer Prize for drama in 1995. Foote’s screenplays have also received high honors. In 1962 he won an Academy Award for his screen adaptation of Harper Lee’s novel To Kill a Mockingbird, and he earned a second Oscar in 1993 for his original screenplay Tender Mercies. Foote’s screenplay for The Trip to Bountiful was nominated for an Oscar in 1988.

"What seems remarkable about Foote’s career," wrote Charles Champlin in the Los Angeles Times, "is that across all the media and amid all the conflicts of art versus commerce, in which art is always the long-odds underdog, he has produced a coherent body of work. . . . It is most often an intimate, loving, perceptive exploration of ordinary people and their often extraordinary resilience, courage, persistence, and wisdom in the face of trials, disappointments, and dreams that have had to be deferred or abandoned."

The Ithaca College Theatre production of Lily Dale is directed by Arno Selco, a professor of theater arts in his 18th year at the College. He has received a Dana Teaching Fellowship for excellence in teaching and the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts gold medallion for excellence in service to the American College Theater Festival. He has appeared in Broadway and stock productions, on network television shows, and in feature films. He has directed at Pennsylvania State University, Case Western Reserve University, Oberlin College, and Indiana University.

The cast for Lily Dale includes Dustin Sullivan ’02 as Horace, Laurel Beversdorf ’03 as Lily Dale, Meredith Yund ’01 as Corella, Jerad Bortz ’01 as Pete, Nicholas Farco ’03 as Will Kidder, Lenelle N. Moise ’02 as Mrs. Coons, and J. P. Misselwitz ’02 as Albert Thornton.

In addition to Selco, the artistic team includes stage manager Jennifer Noterman ’02, costume designer Greg Robbins, scenic designer Vicki R. Davis, sound designer John Bracewell, and lighting designer Daniel Meeker.


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Andrejs Ozolins, Ithaca College Office of Publications. 9. Nov. 2000