Northern Illinois University

NIU Office of Public Affairs

News Release

Contact: David W. Booth/Carita Giles, NIU School of Theatre and Dance
(815) 753-1337

October 29, 2007

NIU’s School of Theatre presents comedy

DeKalb, Ill. — “Bizarre” is how Northern Illinois University student stage manager Devhan Bridgett describes Christopher Durang’s play, “Betty’s Summer Vacation.”

The NIU School of Theatre and Dance will present Durang’s dark comedy as the next offering in its 2007-2008 Studio Series production season. Under the direction of faculty member Richard Poole, the play runs November 8 through 11 in Stevens Building Corner Theatre. 

Bridgett describes Durang’s characters in the play as caricatures of scandal-ridden celebrities of the 1990s. The play includes references to Lorena Bobbitt, the Menendez brothers, O.J. Simpson, and even the Clintons. 

The main character, Betty, seeks relaxation at the beach but encounters the opposite at a chaotic timeshare condominium. Trudy, Betty’s neighbor, can’t stop talking; Mr. Vanislaw can’t stop flashing; Buck can’t stop thinking of sex; and Keith collects body parts in hatboxes.

“Betty’s Summer Vacation” further makes light of dismemberment, incest, and murder by encouraging audience chuckles with a laugh-track that emanates from the walls of the timeshare itself. 

Author Durang explains on his Web site, “The theme of the play is, basically, the ‘tabloid-ization’ of American culture … the habit of looking at human tragedy and disgusting behavior as a fascinating kind of ‘mini-series’ for our delectation.”

The OBIE Award-winning show debuted in 1999 at Playwrights Horizons in New York City. OBIE, phonetic for O.B. (off Broadway), is awarded each theater season by the Village Voice newspaper of New York to theater productions worthy of distinction.

“Betty’s Summer Vacation” performances are at 7:30 p.m. Thursday through Saturday and at 2 p.m. Sunday in the second floor Stevens Building Corner Theatre. General admission ticket prices are $5 and available only at the door before performances. For more information, visit the School of Theatre and Dance Web site at

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