Department of Theatre and Dance to Present Friedrich Dürrenmatt's "The Visit" and Stephen Sondheim's "Assassins"

By Kelli Bocock-Natale

Release Date: November 9, 2000 This content is archived.


BUFFALO, N.Y. -- The UB Department of Theatre and Dance will present Friedrich Dürrenmatt's "The Visit" Nov. 9-12 and 16-19 in the Drama Theatre and Stephen Sondheim's "Assassins" Nov. 15-19 in the Black Box Theatre. Both venues are located in the Center for the Arts on the UB North Campus.

Adapted by Maurice Valency from the original by Friedrich Dürrenmatt, "The Visit" is the story of a wealthy woman who returns to her debt-ridden hometown and offers to help out the people there with a sum of money greater than they have every imagined. But there is a condition: she wants the life of a villager who years ago had caused her to be expelled from the town in disgrace.

Born on Jan. 5, 1921, in Konolfingen, Switzerland, Friedrich Dürrenmatt was the grandson of a well-known satirist and political poet, who encouraged in the young boy a questioning spirit that would inspired Dürrenmatt and his works throughout his career. He later would write, "My grandfather once was sent to prison for 10 days because of a poem he wrote. I haven't been honored in that way yet. Maybe it's my fault, or maybe the world has gone so far to the dogs that it doesn't even feel insulted anymore if it's criticized severely."

"The Visit," directed by Kazimierz Braun, will be a fully mounted production and will feature an all-student cast. Performance times are at 8 p.m. Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays and 2 p.m. Sundays.

"Assassins" with music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, is based on the book by John Weidman. Times and places collide on stage as assassins tackle the dark side of American politics, American culture and the American Dream. The inner motives of nine people who tried (some successfully) to kill the United States President are revealed using American musical styles from Civil War ballad to contemporary pop songs.

Composer and lyricist Stephen Joshua Sondheim, born March 22, 1930, has been writing for the American musical theatre for the past four decades and his breakthrough musical company revolutionized the genre. He is considered to be the finest living composer of our time, writing scores that include "Passion," "Into the Woods," "Sunday In The Park With George," "Merrily We Roll Along," "Sweeney Todd," "Pacific Overtures," "The Frogs," "A Little Night Music," "Company," "Anyone Can Whistle" and "A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum," as well as the lyrics for "Gypsy" and "West Side Story." Anthologies of his work as a composer include "Side By Side By Sondheim," "You're Gonna Love Tomorrow" and "Putting It Together."

"Assassins" will be directed by Gerald Finnegan, with choreography by Lynne Kurdziel-Formato and musical direction by Michael Hake. Performance times are 8 p.m. Wednesday-Saturday and 2 p.m. Saturday and 6 p.m. Sunday.

Tickets for "The Visit are $12 general admission and $5 for students. Tickets for "Assassins" are $5. Tickets may be purchased at the Center Box Office (noon to 6 p.m. Tuesday-Friday) and all Ticketmaster locations, including Kaufmann's and Movies Plus. To charge tickets, call 852-5000 (in Canada, 416-870-8000). For group sales, call 645-6771. For general information, call 645-ARTS.