Feb 8, 2013

USD Theatre takes a trip back in time with ‘Silent Laughter’

VERMILLION, S.D. -- The University of South Dakota Department of Theatre presents the comedy “Silent Laughter,” Feb. 20-24, at the Wayne S. Knutson Theatre of the Warren M. Lee Center for the Fine Arts.

Inspired by Charlie Chaplin and the legends of pre-talky films, “Silent Laughter” is the culminating M.F.A. project for graduate students Fred Liebfried of Anson, Maine, director, and Tiffany Lent of Henderson, Nevada, costume designer. It features Brian Muldoon of Sioux Falls, S.D. as the hero, Billy, and Billy’s Pal, played by Tim Huggenberger of Sioux City, Iowa, as two men who are down on their luck until they meet Ruth, played by Emily Dorsett of Sioux City. For Billy, it’s love at first sight as Ruth provides a job for both Billy and Billy’s Pal at her father’s factory, Thickwad’s Screw Factory. It’s at the factory where Billy develops an idea to increase productivity but Lionel Drippinwithit, played by Steve Schaeffer of Sioux Falls, has other ideas. Determined to steal both Billy’s idea and his love, Lionel pushes his way into Ruth’s life and the audience is left wondering if Billy can save the woman he loves.

Student designers for the production include Lucas Granholm of Morris, Minn. (lighting); Gabe Gomez of Fargo, N.D. (projections); and Jenna Manley of Grand Island, Neb. (scenic design). Anthony Pellecchia, assistant professor of theatre, is sound designer. Similar to 1920s silent films, “Silent Laughter” includes pantomimed action and physical humor, and the action unfolds with title cards projected over the actors’ heads. Live organ accompaniment provided by graduate student Chris Larson of Vermillion includes music common to silent film classics and his own compositions.

Performances of “Silent Laughter” are at 7:30 p.m., Feb. 20-23, with a 2 p.m. matinee on Feb. 24. Tickets are $15 for adults, $12 for senior citizens (62+), $10 for K-12 and non-USD students and $5 for USD students with ID. Tickets can be purchased online at www.usd.edu/theatre or by calling (605) 677-5400 between noon and 5 p.m. starting Feb. 13.


About The University of South Dakota
Founded in 1862, The University of South Dakota is designated as the only public liberal arts university in the state and is home to a comprehensive College of Arts and Sciences, School of Education, School of Health Sciences, the state's only School of Law, School of Medicine, the accredited Beacom School of Business and the College of Fine Arts. USD has an enrollment of more than 10,000 students taught by more than 400 faculty members. More information is available at www.usd.edu/press/news.

This material is available in an alternate format upon request. Please contact University Relations at 605-677-5759. If you are a person with a disability and need a special accommodation to fully participate in any university activity or event, please contact Disability Services at 605-677-6389 as soon as possible, but no later than 48 hours before the event, so that appropriate arrangements may be made.


Peter Carrels
The University of South Dakota
(605) 216-1233
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