Article: WSU PhD Directors’ Series Presents Shanley’s ‘Savage in Limbo’

Patty Nolan, Detroit Theater Examiner

The original article may be found here.

As an essential part of its doctoral theatre program for Scholar-Directors, students are required to direct a fully-supported play with an undergraduate production team.

Their recent production of John Patrick Shanley’s Doubt:  A Parable enjoyed excellent reviews and many sold-out performances. Now Shanley’s Savage in Limbo: A Concert Play continues the PhD Directors’ Series tradition of bringing engaging, provocative, high-caliber theatrical works to life in an intimate space. This production, which closes this year’s PhD Directors’ Series, runs April 21- 30.

Savage in Limbo is the story of four lost souls, all in their early 30s, and the bartender who keeps them going. On this seemingly regular Monday night, the former classmates congregate in a seedy bar in the Bronx to seek relief from the growing disappointment and monotony of the outside world. Each character is searching desperately for meaning and direction in their life, but in true Shanley style, the play moves past the merely bleak and is actually rich with humor.

Director Jennifer Goff describes the play as ‘funny, thought provoking, and relatable…. Everyone has had a time in their lives when they should think ‘God, what’s next?’ and these people have been stuck in ‘God, what’s next?’ for years and it comes to a head in one night.’

The concert aspect of the play comes from what she describes as the characters’ self-discovery.  ‘Shanley’s writing produces a collaborative cacophony of sound, as they express what’s going on inside of them.  The play is an opera, almost, with the monologues acting as arias.’ 

Due to ongoing Studio Theatre renovations, Savage in Limbo will be performed at the Hilberry Rehearsal Studio, located at 480 W. Hancock Street on the fourth floor of Old Main.

The cast includes Jonathan Hoopingarner (Roseville, MI) as Murk, Kelsey Lusch (Clinton Twp., MI) as April White, Yesmeen Mikhail (Wyandotte, MI) as Linda Rotunda, Justin Wagner (New Baltimore, MI) as Tony Aronica,andLisa Youngs (Wyandotte, MI) as Denise Savage.

Ticket prices range from $10-$12. Discounts are available to all students, senior citizens aged 62 and up, groups, and WSU faculty, staff and Alumni Association members. For tickets and more information call (313) 577-2972, visit the website, or visit the Wayne State University box office at 4743 Cass Avenue on the corner of Hancock.  The box office is open Tuesday through Friday from 2:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.


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