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'Hunting Cockroaches'

Southern Oregon University's Department of Theatre Arts continues its 2008 season with the comedy "Hunting Cockroaches" by Janusz Glowacki, translated by Jadwiga Kosicka.

The play runs at 8 p.m. Thursday-Saturday, May 15-24; 2 p.m. Saturday, May 17 and 24 and Sunday, May 25 at the Theatre Arts' Center Square Theatre, 1250 Siskiyou Blvd., Ashland.

In the play, two Polish émigrés arrive in New York City's Lower East Side looking for their American dream. The cultural gulf they face as Eastern Europeans in the United States is revealed during a sleepless night three years into their new life.

Anka and her husband Jan experience nightmares. She is a renowned actress in her home country who can't find work on the New York stage because of her accent. He suffers from writers' block.

"This play is that rare combination of the socially relevant and the socially human," says guest director Terri McMahon in a press release. "It's a nightmare and a fantasy and a bittersweet comedy. I think like Kafka's 'The Metamorphosis,' which is cited in the play, the playwright Glowacki finds an eccentric world that defies logic."

"Hunting Cockroaches" was cited by the American Theatre Critics Association as an "Outstanding New Play" in 1986.

Terri McMahon is the assistant director of "The Clay Cart" at the 2008 Oregon Shakespeare Festival. She was the assistant director for James Bundy, who now heads the Yale Repertory Theatre, as well as for the Yale Drama Program production of "Romeo and Juliet" at The Acting Company.

She directed "Guys on Ice" and "Lady with All the Answers" at the Oregon Cabaret Theatre. McMahon also directed "Henry V" at the Kern Shakespeare Festival and "Top Girls" at SOU. She has directed many School Visit Programs for the Oregon Shakespeare Festival over the years.

Tickets cost $17, $14 for seniors and $5 for students. Tickets are available at the door or by calling the SOU theatre arts box office at 552-6348. See sou.edu/theatre/calendar online.

Jonathan Dyrud and Jordan Leigh Wakefield play Janek and Anka in the SOU production of “Hunting Cockroaches” by Janusz Glowacki. - Photo by Dennis Dunleavy