Theatre to stage locally penned ‘Burning Times’

Photo of a man and woman at oddsWith a sardonic viewpoint on everything from religion and politics to art and education, the comedic play, “Burning Times,” opens Thursday, Feb. 28, at the Northern Illinois University School of Theatre and Dance.

The play is the fifth production in the school’s 2012-2013 Studio Series.

Written by playwright and NIU faculty member Luke Krueger and directed by Anthony Perrella, Jr., “Burning Times” is set in the small fictional town of Wertzberg, Ohio, where men and women are separated at all social functions, go to different bible studies and are even separated at the town’s swimming pool.

The play’s central character is the new school superintendent, Becky Uphoff, played by BFA in acting junior Christie Coran, who tries to reform the failing school system. She becomes immersed in the town’s politics, which seem to revolve around a cult.

When rapper Jonas Satan arrives, the politics become even more complicated.

“I’m interested in seeing how people will respond to the hilarious exploits of the citizens of Wertsburg,” Coran said.

Although “Burning Times” is a comedy, Kaitlyn Finkelstein, a junior theatre major who plays Spanky Slaughter, said it also has meaning.

Finkelstein said, “It’s really great to be in a comedy that not only is really fun but also makes people think about what is going on in society today.”

Krueger said he hopes the audience wrestles with the ideas and issues in the play and comes to their own conclusions.

“I hope the audience leaves terrified,” Krueger said. “I hope they laugh and walk out terrified. They should!”

Burning Times runs Thursday, Feb. 28, through Sunday, March 3. Weeknight and Saturday performances begin at 8:30 p.m. with a Sunday matinee at 3 p.m. in the Stevens Building Corner Theatre, located behind the McDonald’s restaurant on west Lincoln Highway.

Tickets cost $6 and only available at the door one hour prior to show. For more information, call (815) 753-1600.

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