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November 21, 2008

UMBC Theatre Presents Interview

By Jean-Claude van Itallie, Directed by Colette Searls

December 3–7, 2008
UMBC Theatre

Contact: Thomas Moore
Director of Arts & Culture

Note: You may view or download this release as a pdf file.

Interview - Photo by Rich RigginsThe UMBC Department of Theatre presents Interview by Jean-Claude van Itallie, directed by Colette Searls, from December 3 through 7 in the UMBC Theatre.

Interview premiered in 1966 as part of the America Hurrah trilogy, widely hailed as the watershed play of the sixties. This short play, or "fugue for eight actors," is at turns absurd, hilarious, and unsettling. In what one critic calls a "Hurricane of Horror," four jobseekers are ricocheted through ludicrous job interviews, chilly urban parties, and coffin-like subways as they search for human compassion. Interview's stark reflection on modern technology, bureaucracy, social institutions, and war in the 1960s proves eerily relevant fifty years later.

The production features techno square-dance choreography by Carol Hess, new electronic music by Ferdinand Maisel, set design by Matt Wolfe, costume design by Celestine Ranny-Howes, and lighting and sound design by Terry Cobb.

About the Playwright, Jean-Claude van Itallie
Jean-Claude van Itallie was born in Brussels, Belgium on May 25, 1936, was raised in Great Neck, Long Island, and graduated from Harvard University in 1958. His trilogy of one-act plays, America Hurrah, was hailed as the watershed off-Broadway play of the sixties. Van Itallie was one of Ellen Stewart's original "LaMama playwrights." He was principal playwright of Joe Chaikin's Open Theater, and for that group wrote what has been called "the classic ensemble play," The Serpent. In the seventies, van Itallie wrote his frequently-produced new English versions of the four major plays of Chekhov, published by Applause Books, New York City: Chekhov, the Major Plays. Van Itallie's book on play writing, The Playwright's Workbook, was published in 1997 by Applause Books, NYC. Van Itallie has taught play writing and performance at Princeton; NYU; Harvard; Yale School of Drama; Amherst; Columbia; University of Colorado, Boulder; Naropa Institute and many other colleges. He now teaches workshops in writing and creativity at Shantigar in Massachusetts, in Los Angeles and in New York City.

About the Director, Colette Searls
Since joining the UMBC faculty in 2002, Colette Searls has directed a mixture of classical and contemporary works, and created three original mixed-media puppet plays: Fanto…a Mysterious Vaudeville, Victor Frankenstein, and BURIED (National Finalist, Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival). She has directed several adult-oriented puppet productions around the country including Lunatique Fantastique's Fixed Boundary ("Best of the San Francisco Fringe Festival" 2003), and recently served as puppet consultant for professional theatre companies. Other recent directing credits include Vigils at The Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company and Maria Irene Fornés's musical Promenade and Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream at the University of California at Irvine. Performance credits include the premiere of Women Behind the Walls, co-created with incarcerated California women, and Vaudevillo!, an original vaudeville of clowns, masked characters and puppets at Madrid's La Sala Mirador Theatre. She holds a B.A. in English, University of California, Berkeley, and an M.F.A. in Directing, University of California, Irvine.

Wednesday, December 3, 8 pm (preview)
Thursday, December 4, 4 pm (free to the UMBC campus community)
Friday, December 5, 8 pm (opening night)
Saturday, December 6, 8 pm
Sunday, December 7, 4 pm

$10 general admission; $5 students and seniors; $3 for the preview.
The performance on Thursday, December 4th is free for the UMBC campus community.
Information and reservations: 410-455-2476 or

Public Information
UMBC Arts website:

Media Resources
Online News Releases:
High resolution images:
Photos by Rich Riggins.

-- From Baltimore and points north, proceed south on I-95 to exit 47B. Take Route 166 toward Catonsville and then follow signs to the Theatre.
-- From I-695, take Exit 12C (Wilkens Avenue) and continue one-half mile to the entrance of UMBC at the roundabout intersection of Wilkens Avenue and Hilltop Road. Turn left and follow signs to the Theatre.
-- From Washington and points south, proceed north on I-95 to Exit 47B. Take Route 166 toward Catonsville and then follow signs to the Theatre.
-- Visitor parking is available in the Commons Garage. Visitor parking regulations are enforced on all University calendar days. Hilltop Circle and all campus roadways require a parking permit unless otherwise marked.
Online campus map:

Interview - Photo by Rich Riggins

Posted by tmoore at November 21, 2008 10:53 AM