VERMILLION, S.D. – The University of South Dakota’s Department of Theatre opens its 2019-2020 season with a trip to Mississippi in the 1910s with Tennessee Williams’ "The Eccentricities of a Nightingale." This achingly beautiful play is Williams’ revised and definitive version of his earlier play "Summer and Smoke." Through blending humor and pathos, realism and poetry, hope and regret, this play offers its audiences the opportunity to think deeply about their own experiences.
“I was drawn to 'The Eccentricities of a Nightingale' because of Tennessee Williams’ beautiful poeticism and relatable themes," said Director Oliver Mayes, a M.F.A. directing student. "The focus of our production is to hone in on issues that existed in the 1910s but still exist to this day. Alma Winemiller, the repressed minister's daughter, speaks her mind and doesn’t stay in line with society’s expectations of a woman, so she is belittled and excluded. But when you take a closer look at her, she’s not much different from many of us. We want to address these underlying issues within the piece.”
Alyssa Elbert, a musical theatre major who plays the lead role of Alma, said everyone will be able to relate to the play.
“It has themes of forbidden love, madness (especially within the family) and societal pressures," Elbert said. "Alma is an eccentric of the town. She doesn’t care what others think of her, and it leads to her being despised by the majority of the town.”
"The Eccentricities of a Nightingale" performs Sept. 26-28 at 7:30 p.m. with a matinee performance on Sept. 29 at 2 p.m. in the Wayne S. Knutson Theatre on the USD campus. Tickets ($15 Adults, $12 Senior Citizen [62+], $10 K-12 & non-USD students with ID, and free for USD students with ID) can be purchased in the afternoons (12 – 5 p.m.) starting Sept. 19 at the USD Theatre Box Office or by calling (605)658-3484. Tickets can also be purchased now online at www.usd.edu/theatre.