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 SRU Play 'Dark North' Triumphs in Scotland; Campus Performance Set for Aug. 29 



Aug. 22, 2006

Contact: Gordon Ovenshine: 724-738-4854;



SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. -- After presenting the play to five-star reviews at the 60th Edinburgh Festival Fringe in Scotland, Slippery Rock University theater majors will present the supernatural horror “Dark North” at 7:30 p.m. Aug. 29 in Miller Auditorium. SRU’s David Skeele, professor of theater, wrote the play, which reviewers described as “mesmerizing.”

 “Dark North had the hairs on the back of my neck standing up as I was sucked into its terrifying and nightmarish world,” wrote Britain’s Three Weeks, a journal covering the festival. “The cast of seven, working with minimal props and a nearly bare set, created an intense and unnerving atmosphere with a delivery of mesmerizing and gruesome characters. David Skeele’s script is superbly handled by this talented young ensemble from the wonderfully named Slippery Rock University, in Pennsylvania. This is one of the most gripping and original pieces of theater I've ever seen, and it deserves a packed house every night.”

SRU students earlier this month presented seven productions of “Dark North” at the festival, the largest international arts festival in the world. The festival included 400 theater companies from around world performing in the Edinburgh area, with an audience of 1.3 million, according to the festival Web site.

           Old Saint Paul’s Church Hall in Edinburgh agreed to sponsor SRU after Laura Smiley, assistant professor of theater, visited last summer to discuss sponsorship. Smiley directed the play in Scotland and will direct the local version.

Admission at SRU is $1, which will go toward future performance trips.

 “Dark North” revolves around television psychic Daniel Dark North, who makes a lucrative career out of communing with the dead, but one afternoon, in the bowels of a crumbling Connecticut mansion, he discovers sometimes the dead really ought to stay that way.

In addition to the Three Weeks, audience members reviewed the play and posted impressions on the festival Web site.

“I love disturbing theater, and this is just what the doctor called for. Tense and chilling, it’s a good night of psychological suspense,” wrote Bob Merckel.

“The student playing Daniel (Matt McNear of Beaver) is destined for a great career as a thespian if he so desires,” another Web poster wrote.

           Students participating: Mark Blackstock of Monroeville; Braden Blauser of Parker; Stephanie Brauner of Palm; Deanna Brookens of Slippery Rock; Katie Erskine of Tarentum, Jeffrey Feola of New Castle; Randi Gartner of Pulaski; Lydia Giese and Rikki Stupka, both of Butler; Casey Hughes of Roseland, N.J.; Kelly Mcbane of McKees Rocks; Matthew McNear of Beaver; Nicholas Quinn of Pittsburgh, and Bethany Vahabzadeh of Pittsburgh.

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