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Mid-Pacific School of the Arts Presents ‘The Illusion’

Mid-Pacific School of the Arts Presents ‘The Illusion’

Shemya Dang as The Amanuensis in The Illusion. PC: Alex Monti Fox.

Shemya Dang as The Amanuensis in The Illusion. PC: Alex Monti Fox.

TONY KUSHNER ARRIVES IN HONOLULU!

Mid-Pacific School of the Arts (MPSA) is proud to present the Hawai’i premiere of Pierre Corneille’s The Illusion, freely adapted by Tony Kushner, Pulitzer Prize and Tony award-winning playwright of Angels in America. The production is directed by award-winning actor and MPSA Theatre teacher Alex Monti Fox, and will run at Mid-Pacific’s Kawaiiha’o Recital Hall from April 28th to May 7th, 2017. Featuring an incredible cast of MPSA Theatre/Film Certificate program student-actors, The Illusion charms audiences of all ages with humor, song and dance in this action-packed tale. 

The Time: 17th century France  

The Place: The Cave of the Magician, Alcandre 

The Story: Facing death, an aging father, Pridamant of Avignon, seeks his estranged son by engaging the services of the powerful sorceress, Alcandre. The sorceress conjures three installments of the orphaned son’s life. In each, the boy is ensnared in a life and death spectacle of romance and rivalry. A love story one minute and a tragedy the next; the father soon learns the fate of his lost son, as well as his own, though not before Alcandre teaches him an important lesson about the nature of magic, art, life, and love.

On the playwrights:

Tony Kushner(born July 16, 1956, New York, New York, U.S.), American dramatist who became one of the most highly acclaimed playwrights of his generation after the debut of his two-part play Angels in America (1990, 1991).

Kushner grew up in Lake Charles, Louisiana, and attended Columbia University and New York University. His early plays include La Fin de la Baleine: An Opera for the Apocalypse (1983), A Bright Room Called Day (1985), Yes, Yes, No, No (1985), and Stella (1987). His major work, Angels in America: A Gay Fantasia on National Themes, consists of two lengthy plays that deal with political issues and the AIDSepidemic in the 1980s while meditating on change and loss—two prominent themes throughout Kushner’s oeuvre. The first part, Millennium Approaches (1990), won a Pulitzer Prize and a Tony Award for best play; the second, Perestroika (1991), also won a Tony Award for best play. Angels in America proved to be extremely popular for a work of its imposing length (the two parts run seven hours in total), and it was adapted for an Emmy Award-winning television film that aired in 2003.

Kushner’s subsequent plays include Slavs! (1994); A Dybbuk; or, Between Two Worlds (1995), an adaptation of S. Ansky’s Yiddish classic Der DibekHenry Box Brown; or, The Mirror of Slavery (1998); and Homebody/Kabul (1999), which addresses the relationship between Afghanistan and the West. He also wrote the book for the musical Caroline, or Change (1999). 

In addition to his work for the stage, Kushner contributed screenplays to Steven Spielberg’s films Munich (2005; cowritten with Eric Roth) and Lincoln (2012). Kushner also authored the children’s book Brundibar (2003; illustrated by Maurice Sendak). He received the National Medal of Arts in 2013.

Pierre Corneille(born June 6, 1606, Rouen, France—died Oct. 1, 1684, Paris), French poet and dramatist, considered the creator of French classical tragedy; his contribution to the rise of comedy has, in comparison, often been overlooked. His chief works include L’Illusion Comique (1635) (upon which Kushner's The Illusion is loosely based), Le Cid (1637), Horace (1640), Cinna (1641), and Polyeucte (1643). A predecessor of Moliere and Racine, Corneille’s influence on French, and thus, world drama is far-reaching, and cannot be overstated.

On the director:

Alex Monti Fox

Alex is happy to be making his MPSA directorial debut with The Illusion. Locally, Alex recently appeared as Jerry in TAG’s award-winning revival of Edward Albee’s The Zoo Story (2016 Po’okela Best Overall Play).  On the mainland, Alex appeared in the west coast premiere productions of Eric Bogosian’s Suburbia, Mac Wellman’s Hypatia: The Divine Algebra, Mark Ravenhill’s Faust (Faust Is Dead), Joanna Laurens’ The Three Birds, and Mikhail Bulgakov's Black Snow. Other selected stage credits include Julius Caesar (New American Theatre), Five Beauties: Tennessee Williams (New American Theatre), The Elephant Man (El Centro Theatre), The Illusion (The Actors’ Gang), Soon My Work (International Wow Co.), Mother Courage and Her Children (Jones Playhouse) and Cue To Cue (Acme Comedy Theatre). Alex's first full-length solo play, Back To One, premiered in 2010 at The Lex Theatre in Hollywood. Additionally, Alex co-created, co-produced and co-directed a series of underground cult sketch musical variety shows called Another Showcase Showdown, which ran for a decade in Los Angeles, and were an official selection of the 2002 U.S. Comedy Arts Festival in Aspen, Colorado. Alex also has written a handful of children’s plays for Stone Soup Theatre in Seattle, and most recently, wrote a short film entitled Never Gladly Beyond, which was produced by graduate students at the University of London. Alex’s screen acting credits include the indie films Dirty, Treading Water, Debaser, and Frank’s Book. TV & Web credits include: The After Work Special (VH1), I Hate My 30s (VH1), XYZ  (ABC Family), The Iceman Chronicles (Fox TV Studios), Keller & Sullivan (Funny Or Die), Mr. Robinson’s Driving School (MSN), and numerous commercials. Alex has an MFA in Acting from the University of Washington PATP and a BA from USC. He currently teaches Acting, IB Theatre, and English at Mid-Pacific.

On MPSA & The Theatre Arts Certificate Program:

http://www.midpac.edu/arts/

http://www.midpac.edu/arts/theatre.php

Under the leadership of Linda Johnson, the Mid-Pacific Institute School of the Arts Theatre-Film Certificate program is modeled after nationally successful performing and visual arts high schools that offer conservatory arts training.  Students with strong talent and interest in the arts study with professional teachers/artists in a disciplined, professional environment.  Emphasis is placed upon the student’s individual growth and increasing technique, with a careful balance between classroom work and public performances/exhibitions.  Students who have enrolled in the School of the Arts Certificate programs want to stretch their abilities, knowledge and methodology in the arts and are interested in long-term academic/artistic benefits of arts study.

The Mid-Pacific School of the Arts (MPSA) Theatre/Film Certificate Program is open to students in grades 8-12.  The Certificate program is a pre-professional arts training program that ensures that students are studying an intensive prescribed arts curriculum. This curriculum is recognized nationally by arts organizations as standard, professional arts training necessary for a graduate to enter the professional arts world or to attend an arts conservatory (B.F.A. program) at any recognized university across the country. 

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