Varsity Theater welcomes new stage play


Professor Fred Miller, played by Kim Curlee, has a dream during the opening scene of a “Miller and the Jabberwock” dress rehearsal Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2017, in Carbondale. Performances of “Miller and the Jabberwock” are Feb. 10 to 12 and Feb. 17 to 19 at the Varsity Center for the Arts. (Branda Mitchell | @branda_mitchell)

By Alex Howell

The Stage Company, a community theater group, is scheduled to unveil its latest spring stage play on Friday night.

Miller and the Jabberwock, a stage play written by a former SIU professor, will premiere at the Varsity Theater in Carbondale. The story follows the life of a college professor who has been charged with anti-semitism in his classroom by the descendant of a Holocaust survivor.

The play follows him through the course of his day as he reflects on his life and career, ultimately leading to a disciplinary hearing to decide if he should be removed from the class.


“The ten-person cast for this production draws from across the Carbondale community,” said Elise Pineau, the director of the play and a retired SIU communication studies professor.

Six of those in the cast are longtime members of the theater group and three are SIU students. Pineau said the actors as well as the design and technical staff share a  commitment to the performing arts and community-based theatre.

Professor Fred Miller, left, played by Kim Curlee, and the folksinger, played by Van Ikner, rehearse a scene from “Miller and the Jabberwock” on Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2017, at Varisty Center for the Arts in Carbondale. (Branda Mitchell | @branda_mitchell)

David Rush, the play’s writer, said the characters in the play include the professor, the student, and some of the professor’s friends and colleagues. Rush was previously the head of playwriting at SIU.

Miller and the Jabberwock was originally produced in Chicago, where it was nominated for a Jeff Award for Best New Play. Rush has previously had his work produced by theaters around the country.

Professor Fred Miller, played by Kim Curlee, bows his head in a sauna scene during dress rehearsal of “Miller and the Jabberwock” on Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2017, at the Varsity Center for the Arts. The play follows the professor through his day leading up to a hearing with a student who has accused him of being anti-Semitic. (Branda Mitchell | @branda_mitchell)

The play will be performed Saturday and Sunday and Feb. 17 through 19. Tickets are $15 for adults and $8 for students.

Staff writer Alex Howell can be reached at 618-536-3326, a[email protected] or on Twitter @ahowellde.

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