GMU Players, Department of Theater Present ‘TempODYSSEY’

Posted: February 4, 2010 at 1:03 am, Last Updated: February 3, 2010 at 4:45 pm

GMU Players and the Department of Theater present Dan Dietz’s hilarious, wacky and strangely touching dark comedy “tempODYSSEY” at the Black Box Theater in the Performing Arts Building on Mason’s Fairfax Campus. Performances are scheduled for Feb. 11, 12 and 13 at 8 p.m.; and Feb. 13 and 14 at 2 p.m. A preview will be held on Wednesday, Feb. 10, at 8 p.m.

“TempODYSSEY” follows a young temporary office worker named Genny through her first and only day in a new office.

Genny is a girl from the Georgia countryside who is convinced that she is the “goddess of death.” As a young child on her parents’ poultry farm, she possessed a rare talent for choking chickens without their feeling a thing, and since then, all the people with whom she forges a close bond end up dying.

Determined to leave her past behind, Genny escapes to the West Coast and accepts a temp job in a Seattle office, only to find out that the company’s business is making bombs, which causes her to obsess over black holes and the concept of scientists creating them, given that she is constantly running from her own “black hole.”

The story jumps back and forth in time as Genny encounters the fellow immortals and ghosts from her past on her journey home. This funny and poignant comedy touches upon themes of work, family, the virtual reality of the Internet, and our relationships to death, time, mythology and the market economy.

A resident of Austin, Texas, Dietz has written several other plays, including “Dirigible,” “Blind Horses,” “Tilt Angel” and “Americanmisfit.”

He has been honored with a James A. Michener Fellowship, a Josephine Bay Paul Fellowship and an Austin Critics Table Award for Best New Play. He is a two-time finalist for the Princess Grace Award, and a nominee for the Oppenheimer Award, the Osborn Award and the ATCA/Steinberg Award.

Dietz’s work has been developed at CENTERSTAGE (Baltimore), Annex Theatre (Seattle), Horizon Theatre (Atlanta), The Playwrights’ Center (Minneapolis), Salvage Vanguard Theater (Austin) and the Millay Colony for the Arts in Austerlitz, N.Y.

His work has been published by Samuel French; Heinemann, Smith & Kraus; and Stage & Screen.

He received his BA in theater from Kennesaw State University in 1995, and his MFA in playwriting from the University of Texas at Austin in 1999. Dietz has been a resident company member of Salvage Vanguard Theater and a core member of the Playwrights’ Center.

“TempODYSSEY” received critical acclaim for its premiere from the National New Play Network at the Curious Theatre in Denver in 2006-07, and it was also presented at the Studio Theatre (Washington, D.C.), Phoenix Theatre (Indianapolis) and New Jersey Rep (Long Branch)

Joshua McCreary, director, is directing for the first time at Mason. In his time with the GMU Players he has performed in 12 productions, as well as filling the shoes of props designer and master electrician. He has performed in two staged readings of new plays as a part of Theater of the First Amendment’s First Light Discovery Program, and he also teaches for Acting for Young People’s after-school theater program and summer camp.

The GMU Players ensemble is a dynamic faculty-directed, student organization within the theater department. The Mainstage Series provides students the opportunity to work directly with Mason theater faculty and guest artists, while the Studio Series is selected, directed and designed by students. The GMU Players produce eight productions each season.

Tickets are $6 ($3 for students, seniors and Mason faculty and staff). Limited free tickets are available for Mason students.

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