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Theatre professor to direct upcoming Actors' Group play

Theatre professor to direct upcoming Actors' Group play

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Lycoming College associate professor of theatre Dr. N.J. Stanley will direct the play, "A Number," by Caryl Churchill, the 16th production of the Actors' Group. The play will run for five nights, June 20-22 and 27-28, at 7:30 p.m. at the Public Art Academy, 217 W. Fourth St., Williamsport.

“A Number” was written in 2002 when the possibility of cloning had become a reality. As the play begins, a daughter confronts her father with the shocking information that she has genetically identical counterparts and is merely one of "a number" of clones. But cloning is only the play's backdrop; Churchill is much more interested in a penetrating, timeless inquiry into the nature of identity, the age-old debate between nature versus nurture, and the very substance of love.

The play quickly becomes a mystery in which the main character, Salter, muddles together truth and lies about the past while his cloned daughters try to piece together what really happened as the result of some doctor's experiment. During the course of the play’s action, Salter confronts his first child and two of her clones. In a theatrically interesting twist, the playwright requires the same actor to play all three daughters.

Local performers Tom Ryersbach plays Salter and Amy Rene Byrne performs as Salter’s three daughters.

Stanley, who teaches acting, directing, theatre history and dramatic literature, has directed more than 50 productions across the U.S. She earned an M.F.A. in directing from Florida State University and a Ph.D. in theatre and drama from Indiana University. She first worked with the Actors’ Group in 2009 when she directed Harold Pinter’s “Old Times,” which included Ryersbach in the cast. She also directed Ryersbach in “Ages of the Moon” for the Actors’ Group in 2010 and he performed as Mr. Peachum in her production of “The Threepenny Opera” last fall at the College.

“A Number” is performed in five scenes without intermission and is intended for mature audiences. Tickets are $10 at the door. Call 322-0587 for more information.

Lycoming College is a four-year, residential liberal arts and sciences school dedicated to the undergraduate education of 1,400 students. Its rigorous academic program, vibrant residential community and supportive faculty foster successful student outcomes. Lycoming offers 36 academic majors and is recognized as a Tier 1 institution by U.S. News & World Report. Founded in 1812 and located near the banks of the Susquehanna River in Williamsport, Pa., Lycoming is one of the 50 oldest colleges in the nation. For more information, visit 

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