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The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

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The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

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Theater students present original plays for New Visions, New Voices

Members of Meadows present New Vision, New Voices, a festival that features shows completely put together by theater students. The three shows this year are The Smoking Section, Darwins Cousin and Panacea.
Stuart Palley
Members of Meadows present New Vision, New Voices, a festival that features shows completely put together by theater students. The three shows this year are “The Smoking Section,” “Darwin’s Cousin” and “Panacea.”

Members of Meadows present New Vision, New Voices, a festival that features shows completely put together by theater students. The three shows this year are “The Smoking Section,” “Darwin’s Cousin” and “Panacea.” (Stuart Palley)

What do “The Smoking Section,” “Darwin’s Cousin” and “Panacea” all have in common? They are the names of the three plays that will be performed as a part of the 14th annual spring playwriting festival, New Vision, New Voices (NVNV), at the Meadows School of the Arts. The plays are presented this week, April 9 -13, in the Margo Jones Theater at the Owen Arts Center.

Not only are the three original plays written and directed by senior undergraduate theater students, but also the entire production, lights, sets, costumes, actors and actresses, and stage and management crews are carefully pieced together by a range of students from freshmen to seniors.

“Every year, it’s exciting to discover what my students want to write about and how they feel about the big issues of their lives,” Gretchen Elizabeth Smith, associate professor and producer of the NVNV series, said. “I would encourage all SMU students to come and hear what their peers are saying, because New Vision, New Voices is entirely student driven.”

On Wednesday, April 7, NVNV premiered with the play, “The Smoking Section,” written by Grant Lokey. “The Smoking Section” portrays a family, the Powells, struggling with one of life’s greatest losses, yet still finding time to gather together for a relaxing smoke and some laughs.

Tonight at 8 p.m. is the showing of “Darwin’s Cousin,” which is a play about eugenics and the struggle between a man and wife facing pregnancy. The play is written by Christin Siems.

Finally, “Panacea,” performed Friday at 8 p.m., examines a bizarre family situation as playwriter Sam Hicks asks the questions of faith, sexuality and loyalty in this tragic comedy.

“Surprisingly, the plays this year focus on the family,” Smith said. “As in life, some of these three families are more dysfunctional than others, but all three deal with death and love [through] humor, anger and honesty.”

Alumni of the previous years’ festivals went on to form new theater companies, become writers, actors or directors in New York, Los Angeles and other major cities, as well as to study theater at graduate schools around the nation.

Tickets are $13 for adults, $10 for seniors and $7 for students, faculty and staff. If students miss any of the shows this week, “The Smoking Section” plays again on Saturday at 2 p.m., “Darwin’s Cousin” Saturday at 8 p.m., and “Panacea” plays Sunday at 2 p.m.

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