Henderson to direct 'Lennon'

Published February 21, 2013

The Department of Theatre & Dance will present “Forgiving John Lennon” Feb. 27 through March 3, in the Black Box Theatre in the Center for the Arts, North Campus.

Performances are at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday and at 2 p.m. on Sunday.

Directed by faculty member Stephen McKinley Henderson and written by William Missouri Downs, “Forgiving John Lennon” is best described as a serious comedy written as an homage to Somali-Dutch feminist activist and writer Ayaan Hirsi Ali, who in 2005 was named among the “Most Influential People in the World” by Time magazine. It shows how our attempts at tolerance and inclusion often can appear comic to those whose very lives depend on these issues.

The play is about Joseph and Katie, two progressive professors at a small liberal arts college. The president of the college has mandated that all professors do more to promote cultural diversity. It soon becomes a competition between rival departments to see who can invite to campus the most diverse artist or speaker. 

Joseph and Katie’s guest artist is a female African poet from Somalia. When she arrives, they go out of their way to show her that they are open-minded about all cultures. Soon, their progressive agenda is called into question. Are they really understanding, progressive thinkers or academic conformists who are willing to do anything to win tenure? They find that the road to a world where we can “imagine” no countries and “nothing to kill or die for” won’t be as easy as they thought. 

The cast of “Forgiving John Lennon” includes UB students Ashley Wurtz, Catherine Espinal, Mike Dempsey and Giancarlo Gioia.

Tickets for Forgiving John Lennon are $20 for general admission and $10 for students and seniors. Tickets are available at the CFA box office and through tickets.com.