Hope College Theatre will present "The Illusion," its second production of the season, on Thursday-Friday, Dec. 1-2, and Thursday-Saturday, Dec. 8-10, at 8 p.m. in the DeWitt Center main theatre.

"The Illusion" is a comedy in five acts written by 17th century French playwright Pierre Corneille and translated into English by Ranjit Bolt. The production is directed by Sean Dooley, visiting assistant professor of theatre.

A dominant figure in 17th-century French theater, Pierre Corneille created more than 30 dramatic works including "The Illusion," written in 1635. In "The Illusion," he fuses the role of the artist with that of the sorcerer and sparks a debate on the nature of the theater itself. Corneille once characterized the play as "a strange monster, bizarre and extravagant."

"The Illusion" begins with the classic tale of a broken father-son relationship. Pridamant, the father, once criticized his son harshly, causing his son to run away from home. Realizing his mistake, Pridamant wishes to make peace with his son, so he sets out to find him. He searches the world with no success. Out of sheer desperation, he is driven to consult a mighty sorcerer in the hope of gaining news of his son's welfare and whereabouts. Neither the past nor the present nor even the depths of men's minds are a secret to the famed sorcerer, who invites Pridamant into his cave to learn of his son. Inside the sorcerer's cave, Pridamant is shown what appears to be an illusion of his son's life. The father finally discovers that sometimes lives are illusions built on illusions.

Director Sean Dooley is teaching at Hope for the 2005-06 season as a sabbatical replacement. He comes to Hope from Minneapolis, Minn., where he has worked for the last five seasons at the Guthrie Theatre as an actor and educator. Concerning preparations for the college's production of "The Illusion," he noted, "We spend every night making each other laugh. It's been a lot of fun. I hope the audience finds it as humorous as we do."

Members of the production team include faculty members Perry Landes as lighting and sound designer and Richard Smith as scenic designer. Senior Abbey Youngerman of Royal Oak is the costume designer, and senior Mike Dominiak of Dearborn is the properties designer and fight captain. Other positions include: senior Elise Edwards of Elgin, Ill., as stage manager; senior Erica Hess of Howell as assistant stage manager; and sophomore Stephanie Lawson of Mount Vernon, Ohio, as assistant stage manager.

Cast members include: junior Adam Carpenter of Auburn Hills as Dorante/Geronte; senior Emily Casey of Wheaton, Ill., as Isabelle; junior Chad Coe of Birmingham as Matamore; junior Katherine Finkbeiner of Haslett as Lyse; senior Reginald D. Haney II of Harvey Ill., as Clindor; first-year student Lucas Leavenworth of Naperville, Ill., as Eraste/Gaoler; senior NoahDavid Lein of Kewadin as Pridamant; sophomore Samuel K. Mirto of Saugatuck as Adraste; senior Kat Ramsey of Kalamazoo as Alcandre; and first-year student Katie Terpstra of Zeeland as Page.

Tickets for "The Illusion" are $7 for regular admission, $5 for members of the college's faculty and staff, and $4 for students and senior citizens, and are available in the theatre lobby ticket office in the DeWitt Center. The ticket office is open weekdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and on performance nights until 8 p.m., but will be closed on Thursday and Friday, Nov. 24-25, because of the Thanksgiving holiday. The ticket office may be called at (616) 395-7890.

The DeWitt Center is located on Columbia Avenue at 12th Street.