DELAWARE, Ohio – Eight wacky characters get snowed in during a gallery reception in upstate New York, and hilarity erupts over mistaken identity, secret schemes, jealous lovers, and financial ruin in former Delaware resident Anne Flanagan’s award-winning play “Artifice.”
Ohio Wesleyan University’s Department of Theatre & Dance will present four performances of “Artifice” between Feb. 18 and Feb. 21, with Flanagan, a 1987 Ohio Wesleyan graduate, on hand for an audience talk-back following the Feb. 19 show. Performances begin at 8 p.m. Feb. 18, 19, and 20, and at 2 p.m. Feb. 21 in the Studio Theatre of OWU’s Chappelear Drama Center, 45 Rowland Ave., Delaware.
Critics have described “Artifice” as “light, breezy, clever, and fun.” According to the (Bloomfield, Indiana) Herald-Times: “Anne Flanagan’s quirky script, wastes no time immersing its audience in the world of egotistical artists, conniving dealers, and vengeful wealthy patrons. It’s the perfect setting for intrigue and a bit of misdirection comedy.” And the Midland (Texas) Reporter-Telegram proclaims: “The audience for ‘Artifice’ includes anybody that wants to laugh.”
As an Ohio Wesleyan student, Flanagan majored in theatre and journalism and minored in psychology. In addition to “Artifice,” her full-length plays include “First Chill,” “Skirts,” and “Death, Sex & Elves.”
During her career, she has earned the Bloomington Playwrights Project/Reva Shiner Comedy Award, the Julie Harris/Janet and Maxwell Salter Playwrights Award, the McLaren Memorial Comedy Award, the Mountain Playhouse Comedy Award, and the Playwright’s Theater “Plays for the 21st Century” Award, among others. Flanagan also was a semi-finalist for the 2015 A Room of Her Own Shakespeare’s Sister Fellowship and a top 10 finalist for the Chesterfield Writer’s Film Project two years in a row. She is the daughter of Robert Flanagan, OWU emeritus professor of English. Learn more at www.anneflanagan.net.
Ohio Wesleyan’s production of “Artifice” will be directed by theatre professor Bonnie Milne Gardner, Ph.D. – her final play before retiring in May after 31 years with the university. Gardner, a 1977 OWU graduate, joined the faculty in 1985. Her first production as a new professor, “The Art of Dining,” starred then-Ohio Wesleyan junior Anne Flanagan and featured set design by theatre professor D. Glen Vanderbilt Jr., who is providing set decoration for “Artifice.”
“Anne has a wonderfully wicked sense of humor,” Gardner said. “As a student-actor, she excelled in roles of smart, funny women. I remember laughing often in rehearsals when Anne was around!”
“Artifice” also will feature lighting design by 2015 Ohio Wesleyan graduate Zoe Crankshaw, set design by OWU technical director Chadwyn Knutson, costume design by Donna Williamson, and stage management by OWU student Gabriel Caldwell, a junior from Columbus, Ohio.
The cast includes senior Sarah Shulman of Brooklyn, New York, as “Maggie”; sophomore Daniel Haygood of Quincy, California, as “Payne”; freshman Ares Harper of Columbus, Ohio, as “Richard”; sophomore Audrey Castaneda-Walker of Woodside, New York, as “Graciela”; freshman Daniel Brothers of Roanoke, Indiana, as “Trent”; freshman Hannah Wargo of Medina, Ohio, as “Judith”; and senior Hannah Simpson of Lancaster, Pennsylvania, as “Emma.” Brad Sadler, a 2004 OWU alumnus and current part-time instructor, will portray “Mick.”
General admission for “Artifice” and all Ohio Wesleyan Theatre & Dance productions is $10; admission for senior citizens, OWU faculty/staff, and non-OWU students is $5. Admission is free for Ohio Wesleyan students with a valid university ID. Call (740) 368-3855 for reservations, or visit www.owu.edu/theatre for more details.
Founded in 1842, Ohio Wesleyan University is one of the nation’s premier liberal arts universities. Located in Delaware, Ohio, the private university offers 87 undergraduate majors and competes in 23 NCAA Division III varsity sports. Ohio Wesleyan combines a challenging, internationally focused curriculum with off-campus learning and leadership opportunities to connect classroom theory with real-world experience. OWU’s 1,675 students represent 43 U.S. states and territories and 33 countries. Ohio Wesleyan is featured in the book “Colleges That Change Lives,” listed on the latest President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll with Distinction, and included in the U.S. News & World Report and Princeton Review “best colleges” lists. Learn more at www.owu.edu.