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News Release

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

September 25, 2009

NIU School of Theatre and Dance presents
black comedy ‘Flaming Guns of the Purple Sage’

DeKalb, Ill. — A healer, rodeo star, one-eyed Hell’s Angel, butcher, LA teen, deputy sheriff and She-Devil make up the cast of characters in the first of the School of Theatre and Dance’s 2009-2010 Studio Series productions, “Flaming Guns of the Purple Sage.”

Seven BA theatre majors will perform these roles Thursday, Oct. 8, through Sunday, Oct. 11, in the Stevens Building Corner Theatre.

As a black comedy, the interactions between these characters can be viewed either as a “ ‘B’ Western Horror Flick for the Stage,” as the subtitle of the play indicates, or as a comedy.

“I didn’t tell the cast the play is a comedy; they figured it out for themselves,” said the play’s director, Robert Schneider.

Jane Martin wrote “Flaming Guns of the Purple Sage” in 1999 as a parody of Zane Gray’s western novels. This Western, set in present-day Wyoming, premiered in 2001 at the 25th Annual Humana Festival of New American Plays at the Actors Theatre of Louisville, Ky. “Jane Martin’s bodacious crossover comedy mixes horror and hilarity,” according to a description on the Actors Theatre Web site.

Martin “invented characters that play well with each other and against each other,” Schneider said. The performance has a “theme of healing and recovery. All the characters are either healers or in need of healing in some way. It’s about people who meet each other in moments of crisis and gain strength from each other literally and figuratively.”

This performance is meant for adults. However, “it depends on the adolescent,” he said. “It’s all in good fun, (but) some of the situations are sexually charged or violent.”

“Corner Theatre is a very intimate theatre space and I believe this will work to our advantage,” assistant director Andrew Jordan said.

Show times are 7:30 p.m. Thursday through Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday.

General admission tickets are $5 and only available at the door on performance nights. Studio Series Packages are $15 for all six studio series productions and can be purchased through the box office. For more information, contact the box office at (815) 753-1600 or online at:

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