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1918

   

By Horton Foote

Directed by Mark Madama

Illustration by Bill Burgard

 

October 6 -16, 2005

Trueblood Theatre

UM School of Music

Department of Theatre & Drama

 

 

Overview     Press Release    Photos

 

Overview

Surrounded by family and the close-knit community of Harrison, Texas, Horace Robedaux, his wife, and their infant daughter plan for a bright future in their new home. However, an unexpected and devastating scourge – influenza -- threatens the town. It is a threat more deadly than the Great War overseas killing off the town’s young men. "1918" weaves a poignant character study of family and community in which grim and extraordinary times are dramatized through the relentless pattern of everyday life.

Winner of Academy awards for his screenplays of "To Kill a Mockingbird" and "Tender Mercies," as well as a nomination for "The Trip to Bountiful," the works of Horton Foote are better known than the playwright himself. During his six-decade career in stage, film, and television, Foote has been awarded the William Inge Award for Lifetime Achievement, a Pulitzer Prize for his play "The Young Man from Atlanta," and membership in the American Academy of Arts and Letters. He received the National Medal of Arts in 2000. His nine-play cycle "The Orphans' Home" chronicles the life of Horace Robedaux, and is loosely based on his father and his hometown of Wharton, Texas. "1918," the seventh play of the cycle, is a genteel look at an era of innocence and community forever altered by cataclysmic events.

Press Release

Horton Foote’s 1918—a story of ordinary lives set against extraordinary events

ANN ARBOR — The U-M School of Music Department of Theatre and Drama presents 1918 by Horton Foote. A poignant tale of a young family facing WWI and an equally deadly disease at home, 1918 plays Oct. 6 & 13 at 7:30 PM, Oct. 7, 8 & 14, 15 at 8 PM, and Oct. 9 & 16 at 2 PM at the Trueblood Theatre on the U-M campus. Mark Madama, assistant professor in the Department of Musical Theatre, directs.

Horton Foote is considered one of America’s most prolific and honored writers. He has won a Pulitzer Prize, two Oscars, an Emmy and the National Medal of Arts for works like Tender Mercies, A Trip To Bountiful, and the screenplay to Lee Harper’s To Kill a Mockingbird.

Foote writes quiet plays about everyday small town life, deftly exploring his characters emotions and relationships with a deep compassion for the minute details that shape a lifetime. His themes of belonging and longing for home have resonated with audiences for over sixty years.


“Foote writes truly American stories about family and the human spirit,” Madama said. “The stories are not carried by the events, but by the characters’ interactions with each other as a result of them.”


When Foote’s first play, Only the Heart, opened in 1944 he received better reviews for the script than for his acting. And so, the die was cast.


Throughout the 1940s, Foote continued to write for the theatre, with many of his plays appearing on Broadway. He expanded to television in the 1950s and quickly became a mainstay in the Golden Age of television drama.


By the 1960s, he had returned to Hollywood where he experienced a downturn in his career. His film, The Chase, starring Marlon Brando (in what many considered to be Brando’s finest performance ever) was a box-office disaster and roundly panned by the critics.  In 1972 he made Tomorrow with Robert Duvall, beginning a decades long collaboration. The success of Tomorrow re-started Foote’s career.


In the mid-1970s he began his nine-play Orphans’ Home Cycle which is loosely based on the lives of Foote’s parents and, set in the fictional small town of Harrison, Texas, a stand-in for his real-life hometown of Wharton, Texas.


1918
is the seventh play in the cycle and tells the story of Horace and Elizabeth Robedaux, their family, and friends.

In the year 1918 America was on a frenzied high. War fever had gripped the nation. Thousands of men were enlisting to fight “Over There” against the evil empire of Kaiser Wilhelm.


In the midst of the greatest conflict the world had ever known, an influenza epidemic struck, indiscriminately killing people by the hundreds of thousands in only a few short months.  Before Horace is forced to enlist, the members of the Robedaux family are stricken by the flu in rapid succession. After spending weeks in fevered delirium, Horace awakes to find his family and the world forever altered.


Now Horace and Elizabeth must come to grips with the heavy price the war and flu have levied on the town and its people.

Mark Madama (Director) is an asst. professor in the Musical Theatre Department whose UM credits include City of Angels, Guys and Dolls, Children of Eden, Nine, Good News!, Assassins. His work has been seen throughout the United States as well as England, Ireland, Poland, Czechoslovakia, Mexico and Canada. Madama is also the resident director at the Music Theatre of Wichita in Wichita, Kansas, for the past fourteen years.


Joining Madama on the artistic team is faculty member Christianne Myers (Costume Designer) an asst. professor in the Dept. of Theatre and Drama, whose UM credits include Tartuffe, Hansel and Gretel, A Chorus Line, Don Giovanni, and The Nutcracker.  Edward T. Morris (Scenic Designer) is a senior design and production student in the Dept. of Theatre and Drama whose UM credits include assistant designer: Tartuffe; technical director: An Arthur Miller Celebration; assistant technical director: The Diary of a Scoundrel, Oklahoma!.  Stephen Siercks (Lighting Designer) is a junior in the design & production program studying lighting design and stage management whose UM credits include A Midsummer Nights Dream, lighting designer; A Chorus Line, asst. master electrician; Jesus Christ Superstar, first assistant stage manager; and Guys and Dolls, Assistant Stage Manager.

 

Photos

 

David Abed as Horace Robedaux
Sharif Nasr as Sam Goldman
David Abed as Horace Robedaux
Sharif Nasr as Sam Goldman
Katie Johnston as Bessie
Erin Farrell as Elizabeth Robedaux and Zoe Palko as Mrs Vaughn
Katie Johnston as Bessie
Erin Farrell as Elizabeth Robedaux and Zoe Palko as Mrs Vaughn
Zoe Palko
Chris Allen as Brother
Zoe Palko
Chris Allen as Brother
erin farrell and David Abed
Erin Farrell and david Abed
Erin Farrell and David Abed
Erin Farrell and David Abed
Erin Farrell and David Abed
Erin Farrell and David Abed and Daniel Strauss as Dr.Greene
Erin Farrell and David Abed
Erin Farrell, David Abed, and Daniel Strauss as Dr.Greene
De'Lon Grant as Mr. Vaughn
Erin Farrell and David Abed
De'Lon Grant as Mr. Vaughn
Erin Farrell and David Abed
Zoe Palko and De'Lon Grant
Daniel Strauss
Zoe Palko and De'Lon Grant
Daniel Strauss
Erin Farrell
erin farrell
Erin Farrell
Shayna Markowitz as Ima Sue and Lauren Lopez as Gladys Maude
Chris Allen
katie Johnston and erin Farrell
Chris Allen
Katie Johnston and Erin Farrell
katie johnston
David Abed and Sharif Nasr
Katie Johnston
David Abed and Sharif Nasr
Mikala Bierma as Mrs Boone
cast
Mikala Bierma as Mrs. Boone and Corey Garff as the Boy
Cast
cast
Zoe Palko and De'Lon Grant
De'lon Grant, David Abed, Erin Farrell and Zoe Palko
Zoe Palko and De'lon Grant

 

 

 

 

 

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Photography Credits:

U-M Photo Services

Joe Welsh

Peter Smith

David Smith

Glen Behring

Tom Bower

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