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The University of Texas at Dallas, P.O. Box 830688, Richardson, Texas 75083-0688

News Release


School of Arts & Humanities

News contact: Sadie Prater, UTD, (972) 883-2972, sprater@utdallas.edu

UTD To Present Beta Test,
A New Innovative Performance

Thomas Riccio, UTD's professor of performance studies RICHARDSON, Texas (Oct. 7, 2003) -- The University of Texas at Dallas (UTD) will present Beta Test: Performance Innovations on two successive weekends Friday, Oct. 17, through Sunday, Oct. 26, in the University Theatre on campus. Friday and Saturday performances will begin at 8 p.m. and Sunday matinees at 2:30 p.m.

Performance Innovations is a new annual program designed to introduce and develop innovative performance work and artists. The program was initiated and developed by UTD's new professor of performance studies, Thomas Riccio. The UTD production of Beta Test contains adult language and mature subject matter and is inappropriate for children.

"This year's performances are designed to embrace, coddle, conjure and conjoin the 21st Century's insatiable need for the sensational, ironic, sardonic and sometimes stupid. UTD is, at heart, a research institute, and the spirit of adventure, exploration and research is what Beta Test is all about," Riccio said. "The next step starts with the first step."

This year's presentation will be in three parts. The first will be "Cholos y Chulas" (Family and Neighborhood), a selection of new short pieces created by UTD students in collaboration with Cara Mia Theatre. Exploring themes of Latino identity, pop mythology and family life, the group will present workshop "Seeds" for performance development. The new work development is under the direction of UTD student and Cara Mia Artistic Director David Lozano. His ensemble includes Latino poets, playwrights and performers and actors and writers Justin Brumit, Fernando Contreras, Danny Daniels, Maria Durand, Kason Escobedo, Cesar Hernandez, Carmela Lamberti, Frances Mu'oz, Gabriel Ranit, and Brenda Solis.

The second part of this year's Beta Test will be the world-premiere presentation of two short plays by Jason Hodges, an award-winning playwright from Fairbanks, Alaska. Using the 10-minute play format as a restriction and metaphor for our time-stressed era, Hodges condenses and comments on the plight of a modern-day love in "10 Minute Love Affair." Within 10 minutes, a couple in a supermarket meet, fall in love, share their innermost feelings, plan a life together and break up. In "10 Minute Play," a man who has 10 minutes to live seeks a doctor's assistance for his existential angst.

UTD Ph.D. candidate Daniel Wolkow will direct both plays. The cast will include Kristi Humphreys, Ben Rosario, Clayton Farris and Michael Alleman.

The third and lengthiest part of this year's presentation will feature the work of Chicago's notorious "Neo-Futurists." Elizabeth Ware, UTD alumna and artistic director of Dallas' Core Manufactory Performance, will direct a group of 14 student actors in a selection from the Neo-futurist repertory, presenting "30 plays in 60 minutes" from "Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind." Inspired by the work of the Italian futurists of the 1920's, the Neo-Futurists create fast, searing, political and often absurd works that are one to five minutes long. Several of the pieces are interactive and will require the audience to determine the order of presentation.

The cast for the Neo-Futurist ensemble will include Benjamin Connons, Autumn Dawn Hill, Brittany Levroea, Clayton Farris, Letrecia Grant, Becky McDonald, Lenchi Roberts, Elizabeth Schalchlin, Jennie Stewart, Katie Taylor, Austin Tindel and Eric Van Brunt. Kristine Koury will coordinate sets and costumes, and UTD Technical Director Jeff Stover, who has won multiple awards including two Leon Rabin Awards, will be in charge of lighting design.

Tickets for Beta Test are $15 for adults, $10 for students and free at the door to UTD students with a valid identification. Performances will be on Oct. 17, 18, 19, 24, 25 and 26. UTD ticket office hours are from 2 to 5 p.m. Mondays to Fridays and at the door one hour prior to showtime. To purchase tickets using Visa, MasterCard or Discover, please call 972-883-2982.

For information about the many musical, arts, theatre, dance and other performances and exhibitions held throughout the year at UTD, please call 972-UTD-ARTS (972-883-2787), e-mail sprater@utdallas.edu or visit the School of Arts and Humanities' web site at http://ah.utdallas.edu/ . Persons with disabilities needing special accommodations may call 972-883-2982, Texas Relay Operator: 1-800-RELAYVV.

About UTD
The University of Texas at Dallas, located at the convergence of Richardson, Plano and Dallas in the heart of the complex of major multinational technology corporations known as the Telecom Corridor, enrolls more than 13,600 students. The school's freshman class traditionally stands at the forefront of Texas state universities in terms of average SAT scores. The university offers a broad assortment of bachelor's, master's and doctoral degree programs. For additional information about UTD, please visit the university's Web site at http://www.utdallas.edu/.


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