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New Mexico State University

New Mexico State University

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NMSU theater arts to present play about religion and science in high school

New Mexico State University's Department of Theatre Arts and the American Southwest Theatre Company will perform "The Nature of Mutation," written by John Walch, March 9-18 at the Hershel Zohn Theatre on the NMSU campus.

The piece is contemporary and set in a private high school, where the complex interplay between faith and science in the 21st century is explored. Audiences will encounter a world that is both recognizable and strange, where modern conveniences cross paths with long dead scientists.

"The Nature of Mutation" was developed as part of NMSU Theatre Arts' High Desert New Play Program. The program began in 2006 to offer playwrights and performers the opportunity to work in a collaborative ensemble in order to develop a new play. Nationally recognized playwrights are invited to submit works-in-progress, and two are selected for public readings. One will receive a full production by the NMSU theater department and ASTC.

"The play development process is always exciting," said Laura Grace Godwin, NMSU theater professor. "But with the High Desert Program it is particularly gratifying to see plays progress from workshops to premiere."

Guest artist Shoshona Gold will direct "The Nature of Mutation." Gold will lead a veteran production staff of NMSU faculty including Jim Billings, scenic and lighting designer; Deb Brunson, costume designer; and David Hereford, props designer. Charley Davis will serve as stage manager with NMSU student Leroy Martinez as his assistant. NMSU student Rebecca McCullough will assist the director.

NMSU students also will take lead roles in the cast, including Sean Darragh as Clancy Gibbons, Dan Mulkerin as Lance, Michael Anderson as Drew, Adrienne Cox as Sally, Jennifer Perry as Wizmo and Florinda, Josh Tafoya as Eddie, Ben Adams as Adam, and Mandy Guitar as Josie. Community artists include Eric Young as Claude Davis, Steve Conn as Owen and Huxley, Carol Ayon as Barbara Gibbons, and Megan McQueen as Melanie and Mrs. Le.

"'The Nature of Mutation' is an exciting event, both in terms of the High Desert Program and on its own, as a fascinating and timely exploration of the conflict between proof and belief," Godwin said.

Ticket prices vary from $10 to $15 depending on performance dates. Call the ASTC box office at (505) 646-4515 or 1-800-646-ASTC for details.