posted September 8, 2009

Hope to Feature Donnie Mather in “A Show of Force”

The department of theatre at Hope College will host two free performances of "A Show of Force" by New York actor Donnie Mather on Thursday and Friday, Sept. 17-18, at 8 p.m. in the DeWitt Center main theatre.

With their focus on issues related to war and peace, the performances are supported in part by the college's A.J. Muste Lecture Committee, and are being presented in lieu of a separate Muste Lecture this year.

The public is invited.  Although admission is free, tickets will be required.

Is there such a thing as a "just" war?  When should the few die for the greater good?  Do we learn from the past?  These questions are wrestled with by performer Donnie Mather and Director Leon Ingulsrud in "A Show of Force," an Everyman's quest for uneasy answers.  Having fallen into the rabbit hole beset with these enduring questions, he examines all he has learned trying various answers on for size.

"I wanted to respond in an artistic way to what was happening in our country in our time," Mather said.  He also noted, "this is not a play about 9/11.  There is a larger focus here."

Mather developed the play over a number of years, constructing a script entirely of found texts of various political points of view: from the war poetry of Wilfred Owen to William Shakespeare; from the Bible to Mark Twain; from General Patton to Sun Tzu's "The Art of War."  Mather also conducted numerous interviews with a wide range of citizens including historian Howard Zinn, Congressman Barney Frank and others.

Michelle Bombe, director of theatre at Hope, arranged for the production of "A Show of Force" to visit campus after seeing a performance at Actor's Theatre in Louisville, Ky.  "This is a stunning piece of theatre which makes you think and question all our assumptions about war and humanity's history with war," she said.  "We are extremely excited to have a performer of Donnie's caliber on our campus."

Mather's professional experience includes being a SITI Company Associate from 2001 to 2007, as well as the International WOW Company and the Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey.

The free tickets for the performances are available at the ticket office in the main lobby of the DeVos Fieldhouse.  The ticket office is open weekdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and can be called at (616) 395-7890.

Ticket holders will be required to be seated 10 minutes prior to the performance.   Available seats will be given to stand-by patrons 10 minutes before the performance.

"A Show of Force" is made possible by support from the Jerome Foundation through SITI, where it was developed in 2005, and Hope's production is funded by the Patrons for the Arts in addition to the A. J. Muste Lecture Committee.  Additional information about the play may be obtained online by visiting www.ashowofforce.com

The Muste lecture series began in 1985 to commemorate the life and work of A.J. Muste, an alumnus of HopeCollege (1905) who became a tireless activist for the causes of peace and justice.  Jane Oolmans Robinson, Muste's biographer, presented the inaugural lecture, and subsequent lectures have been given by theologians, peace activists, labor organizers and prison reformers; many of the speakers have been HopeCollege alumni.

The DeWitt Center is located at 141 E. 12th St., facing Columbia Avenue at 12th Street.  The DeVos Fieldhouse is located at 222 Fairbanks Ave., between Ninth and 11th streets.