The Sandbox and The Death of Bessie Smith

October 2, 2003

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PLATTEVILLE - The UW-Platteville Theatre Department is delighted to announce the kick-off to the sensational theatrical season with two plays in one night! "The Sandbox" and "The Death of Bessie Smith" will be performed Oct. 8-11 at 7:30 p.m. and Oct.12 at noon. in the Center for the Arts Theatre.

The performance consists of two separate plays by the same playwright and live musical performances. Both deal with the theme of cultural displacement. "The Sandbox" is about a middle-aged couple that decided to "retire" grandma to the sandbox to die. She screams, she yells, it makes no difference. The play is rather absurd, funny and disturbing. "The Death of Bessie Smith" is about the people who are around Smith the night that she dies. Bessie Smith was one of the most popular entertainers in the United Stated in the 1920s and early 1930s. She is hailed as the "Empress of the Blues." She was self-made, talented, rich and outspoken. The music that starts off the night and is interjected between the plays are songs that Bessie Smith sang and made famous. Many are songs that she wrote herself.

A huge cast of students from a variety of majors at the UWP campus are involved in the performance.

"People will see good theatre if they attend this performance, which by definition will make them think about the characters, the community, themselves and the relationships between all of the above. It will be entertaining, but it will probably touch many in the audience on a personal level," said McCaslin-Doyle.

Both plays are written by Edward Albee, One of the nation's best and honored playwrights. He is also the author of "Who is Afraid of Virginia Woolfe," "The Zoo Story," "Three Tall Women" and "The Goat Who is Sylvia. Chicago's Goodman Theatre who is producing many of his plays all year round, is honoring Albee this year. This is a rare chance to see two of Albee's first plays.

"The Sandbox" and "The Death of Bessie Smith" will be performed in the Center for the Arts Theatre on Oct. 8-11 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are available at the university box office or by calling (608) 342-1298. Ticket prices are as follows: general admission $6, UWP faculty and staff $5, UWP students $3, and children under the age of 18 $5.

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