The Virginia Tech Department of Theatre Arts presents Maria Irene Fornes' poetically written script, Abingdon Square.

The production will be in in the Squires Studio Salon located in Squires Student Center on College Ave. adjacent to downtown Blacksburg. Showtimes are as follows:

  • 7:30 p.m. Feb. 15-16,
  • 2 p.m. Feb. 17,
  • 7:30 p.m. Feb. 19-23,
  • 2 p.m. Feb. 24, and
  • 7:30 p.m. Feb. 26-28.

Directed by Virginia Tech Theatre Arts faculty Bob Leonard, Abingdon Square explores themes of freedom and limitation through the journey of a young woman from the age of 15 to 24 during the early 1900s.

This two-act play is set in New York City’s Greenwich Village, which was a mix of established Victorian New Yorkers, free thinkers from New England and around the country, and the new eastern European immigrants. The impact of the new Bohemians – who brought with them the radical worker’s rights and women’s suffrage movements along with the idea of free love influenced by Sigmund Freud’s work – surrounds Marion, the young and impressionable main character of the play who seeks personal truth and strength amidst deceit and denial.

Marion—played by Meghann Garmany of Christiansburg, Va., a third-year student majoring in theatre arts in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences—takes the audience through a range of raw and moving emotions as she finds comfort in her marriage with a man 35 years her senior and a secret lover her own age. Add to this plot an explosive encounter that dramatically changes her life forever and Fornes’ play, known as her most elegant, becomes an extraordinary theatre experience that won the prestigious Obie for Best New American Play in 1988.

Born in Havana, Cuba, Fornes immigrated to the United States in 1945 with her mother and a sister following her father's sudden death. Arriving in Manhattan as a Spanish speaker at the age of 15, she attended school in New York City but left early working in a variety of unskilled jobs. She was attracted to Greenwich Village where she studied painting with Hans Hoffman and later attended his Provincetown school. By the mid-1950s, however, Fornes was loosing her passion for painting and was becoming more and more interested in playwriting. By the early 1960s, she had begun her prolific playwriting career and went on to publish over 40 plays, earning numerous awards including nine Obies.

Fornes’ roots with Cuba remained deep. While the majority of her immediate family immigrated to New York, two of her brothers remained in Cuba. Her correspondence with her brother Raphael, “Cuco,” became the basis for her 2000 play entitled Letters From Cuba for which she received an Obie Special Citation. Virginia Tech’s production of Abingdon Square will also be part of the March 2008 Latin American Theatre Today Conference and Festival at Virginia Tech.

Director Bob Leonard teaches directing and performance skills--with a particular focus on ensemble processes, collaborative creation of new work, and community partnerships--in the Department of Theater Arts at Virginia Tech. He also serves as the Director of the master of fine arts program in directing and public dialogue. He has directed shows at Virginia Tech since 1989, including Quilters, Conduct Of Life, Dream Of A Common Language, Much Ado About Nothing, Never In My Lifetime, Jacques Brel Is Alive And Well And Living In Paris, Far Away, and Romeo and Juliet. He is the founding artistic director of The Road Company, a theater ensemble based in Johnson City, Tenn. Leonard is a founding member of Alternate ROOTS and the Network of Ensemble Theaters (NET). He is co-director of the Community Arts Network (CAN) and is currently on the board of directors of Theatre Communications Group, the national service organization for professional, not-for-profit theater.

Tickets for Abingdon Square are $9 general and $7 senior/student. They are available in advance through the University Unions & Student Services (UUSA) Box Office in the Squires Student Center at (540) 231-5615 and at the door one hour prior to performance time.

A University Exemplary Department, Theatre Arts is located in the School of the Arts within Virginia Tech’s College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences and is fully accredited by the National Association of Schools of Theatre. It is a highly successful and innovative theatre program rooted in the liberal arts tradition with a mission to educate and train students in and about theatre.

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