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SOU presents 'Arms and the Man'

Playwright George Bernard Shaw's timeless "Arms and the Man" is a droll exploration of the futility of war and the hypocrisies of human nature. Late author George Orwell called it "... probably the wittiest play Shaw ever wrote. The most flawless technically, and, in spite of being a very light comedy, the most telling."

Shaw was an Irish playwright. Although he was first successful at writing music, literary criticism and many articulate journalistic articles, he had a larger talent for drama and wrote more than 60 plays. He also wrote essays, novels and short stories, addressing prevailing social problems with a vein of comedy that made their stark themes palatable. Shaw's attention was engaged by education, marriage, religion, government, health care and class privilege.

The late playwright manages wit and wisdom in "Arms and the Man," a romantic comedy, a satirical look at a class structure and an indictment of war.

Southern Oregon University's Department of Performing Arts will present "Arms and the Man" in the Center Stage Theatre on the Southern Oregon University campus, 1250 Siskiyou Blvd., Ashland.

Curtain is at 8 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays, Feb. 27 through March 1 and March 6-8; 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, March 8-9.

Director Jackie Apodaca considers the play "effortlessly funny, poignant and satisfying," she says in a news release.

"The play is about romance versus realism," Apodaca says. "Shaw punches holes in the romantic ideals of love and war, and asks us to look underneath at quiet, simple truths.

"As the play begins, his characters strut about grandly, seeking glory and pursuing 'the higher love,' until a sensible realist enters their midst. Mayhem ensues after the character declares 'Now that you've found that life isn't a farce, but something quite sensible and serious, what further obstacle is there to your happiness?' "

Apodaca directed "Marisol" and "La Terrasse" in 2012 at SOU. She's directed productions in New York City, Los Angeles and Santa Barbara, where she was producing director for Shakespeare Santa Barbara.

She's taught acting and directing at the University of California at Santa Barbara.

"For SOU student actors, this is a challenging play because they will need to think quickly to keep up with Shaw's ideas," Apodaca says.

The cast includes Austin Comfort, Nash Hascall, Briawna Jackson, Cesar Perez-Rosas, Zlato Rizziolli, Emily Serdahl, Moira Todd and Devin White. The scenic designer is C. Murdock Lucas, costume designer is Alethia Moore-Del Monaco, lighting designer is Kody Johnson and sound designer is Kevin Burnette.

Tickets cost $21, $18 for seniors and $6 for students. Subscribers to three or more plays receive a discounted price of $17 for regular admission and $15 for seniors.

Tickets can be purchased at the box office inside the Theatre Arts Building from noon to 6 p.m. Mondays through Fridays and two hours before each performance. Tickets also can be purchased online at www.sou.edu/performingarts or by calling 541-552-6348.

Briawna Jackson, foreground, and Zlato Rizziolli play Louka and Sergius Saranoff in Southern Oregon University's production of George Bernard Shaw's “Arms and the Man.” Photo courtesy of Greg Eliason - Photo courtesy of Greg Eliason