CONTACT: Victoria Winkelman, 214-768-3785
Kami Duncan, 214-768-2788,

March 23, 2004


DALLAS (SMU) – The Division of Theatre at SMU’s Meadows School of the Arts celebrates the tenth anniversary of its annual spring playwriting festival, New Visions, New Voices, from March 30-April 3, 2004. Three innovative new plays written and directed by undergraduate theatre students will be presented in the Margo Jones Theatre in the Owen Arts Center, 6101 Bishop Blvd. on the SMU campus. Parking is available at Hillcrest and Binkley and in the garage beneath the Meadows Museum. Tickets are $12 for adults, $9 for seniors and $6 for students and SMU faculty and staff. For more information, please call the Meadows Ticket Office at 214.768.2787.

“Our playwriting students are recognized for their wonderful creativity and talent, and they enjoy significant benefits from their training at the Meadows School,” said Gretchen Elizabeth Smith, associate professor and producer/artistic director of New Visions, New Voices. “In the past year alone, they have had the opportunity to meet with major American playwrights Edward Albee, John Guare, Horton Foote and Terence McNally, who said they were impressed with the students’ energy and intelligence. It’s no surprise that our NVNV alumni have distinguished themselves in the professional theater world from New York to Los Angeles, from Dallas to Chicago.”

The three plays written for the tenth anniversary season include Missing Link, Restraining Arthur and The Carnal.

Missing Link, written by Allison Darby and directed by Avye Alexandres, is a comedy of manners on the evolution of the species. At a university somewhere in the southern Midwest, leading experts in paleoanthropology and their assistants meet to analyze two skulls found at an African dig the previous summer – skulls that pre-date modern man, but show a brain capacity twice that of modern homo sapiens. Instead of conducting a scientific analysis, however, the eight characters find themselves debating the difference between ancient and modern humans, men and women, love and sex, marriage and partnership --- and truth in the media. Missing Link will be performed Tuesday, March 30 at 8 p.m. and Friday, April 2 at 8 p.m. (Sexual content and situations.)

Restraining Arthur, written by Molly Matthews and directed by Chris Rutherford, is the story of Arthur and Hallie, a couple who were in love, successful, and envied by their friends, until Hallie began to notice that Arthur was changing, forgetting things, imagining things. Restraining Arthur is a drama about love and loss, and the complexities of the human brain and heart. It will be performed Wednesday, March 31 at 8 p.m. and Saturday, April 3 at 2 p. m.

The Carnal, written by Cort Hightower and directed by Brian Fredericks, is the story of Sam, a young man who is spending the summer of 1928 with his parents on Long Island before traveling to Paris to begin his dream teaching job; all is well until his cousin comes to visit. Sam falls in love with his cousin – and his family falls apart. Inspired by Dante’s canto from The Inferno about Francesca di Rimini and the inhabitants of Hell named “The Carnal,” this play tells the story of first love. The Carnal will be performed Thursday, April 1 at 8 p.m. and Saturday, April 3 at 8 p.m. (Smoking.)

Alumni of previous years’ festivals have gone on to study theatre at graduate schools around the country, have formed new theatre companies and have become writers, actors and directors in New York, Los Angeles and other major cities. For example, graduate David Schulner (B.F.A. ’96) has had original plays produced at such major regional theaters as the Cincinnati Playhouse and Connecticut’s Long Wharf Theatre, has written scripts for WB’s hit series Everwood, and is a story editor for NBC’s series Miss Match. The play I, Unseen by Marika Mashburn (B.F.A. ’01) premiered at New Visions, New Voices in 2001 and was later produced at the Off-Off-Broadway Oberon Theatre; she is now a member of Chicago’s House Theatre with other SMU playwrights. Aaron Ginsburg (B.F.A. ’96) is a co-founder of the acclaimed Meadows Basement theater company in Los Angeles; his plays have been produced both there and in Dallas at the Kitchen Dog Theater.

The theatre season at the Meadows School of the Arts is sponsored by The Dallas Morning News.