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 SRU to Stage 8 Performances of 'Tales of the Last Formicans' 




Contact: K.E. Schwab  -- 724-738-2199;  e-mail:


           SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. – Constance Congdon’s two-act play “Tales of the Lost Formicans” is a travel guide of middle America as interpreted by aliens who are studying 20th-century American customs by immersing themselves in its social culture which will be presented in eight performances by Slippery Rock University students.

Curtains in Miller Auditorium are set for 8 p.m. Oct. 1-5 and Oct. 7-8 with a 3 p.m. matinee set for Oct. 4. Tickets are $3 for SRU students with ID, and $5 for the general public.

Laura Smiley, guest director and professor of theatre, explains the department has used creativity in staging its fall semester plays due to repairs under way in the building. She says the building’s loading dock will provide the background for the current production, adding, the traditional performance schedule has been expanded because of limited seating.  The work is intended for mature audiences.

The work focuses on the McKissicks, a typical middleclass American family worthy of study. The story revolves around Jim, played as the family’s patriarch by Marc Epstein, a theater major from Beaver Falls, his wife, Evelyn, (Desilee Smith, a theater major from Freedom), their recently divorced daughter Cathy, (played by Desiree Woidill, a theater major from Elizabethtown, and grandson Eric (Ryan Dawley, a sports management major from Wattsburg), as they try to deal with three generations of stress.

The aliens’ efforts to find out just what makes humans tick add a dimension of craziness and humor to the search these characters embark on to understand their own lives.

The cast also includes Mark von Vital, a cytotechnology major from Pittsburgh, Bret Hockenberry, an elementary education/special education major from Harrisville, and Latreece Hilly, a theater major from Farrell.

Smiley is also artistic and executive director of the Unseam’d Shakespeare Company in Pittsburgh. She previously guest directed SRU productions of “Hay Fever” and “Good Night Desdemona, (Good Morning Juliet).”

Gordon R. Phetteplace, associate professor of theater, is serving as lighting and scenic designer, with Rebecca Morrice, assistant professor of theater handling costume design.




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