ACT 1 Opens 49th Season with PICNIC

by Patricia Bradford

A Pulitzer Prize and Critics Circle winning comedy by William Inge

Act 1 DeSales University Theatre opens its Main Stage season with William Inge’s PICNIC. This classic comedy will be presented September 26 to October 7 on the Main Stage of the Labuda Center for the Performing Arts, Center Valley, PA.

By the author of COME BACK LITTLE SHEBA and BUS STOP comes this classic Pulitzer Prize and Critics Circle award winning comedy. On a sweltering Labor Day weekend in a small Kansas town, the women of a quiet neighborhood are preparing for the annual picnic. The group consists of two middle-aged widows: Flo Owens, the protective mother of two teenage daughters, and good-natured Helen Potts, happy to get a break from taking care of her elderly, invalid mother. They are joined by Flo’s border, Rosemary Sydney, a spinster schoolteacher. Suddenly, a handsome young drifter named Hal Carter appears, immediately capturing the women’s attention. In the next 24 hours, hearts are broken and lives are changed as Hal’s charming yet dangerous animal vitality pits the longings of youth against the complacency of middle age. “We are excited to open our season with Inge’s PICNIC,” says Producing Artistic Director, John Bell. “It’s an exquisite play operating on many levels simultaneously. Among the play’s themes of awakened sensuality and derailed dreams lies a theatrical experience that shifts among the whiff of romance and the shadow of regret.”

“William Inge often commented that he believed his upbringing led to his understanding of human behavior,” says Bell. “He once said, ‘I’ve often wondered how people raised in our great cities ever develop any knowledge of humankind. People who grow up in small towns get to know each other so much more closely than they do in cities.’ The intimacy of this small-town environment has resulted in Inge having created some of the most unique and fully-shaped characters of the 20th century and these characters are great studies for our young actors.”

The production is directed by Associate Professor of theatre, Steven Dennis. “The themes this play explores: choices and consequences, freedom, love and passion, loneliness—are every bit as vital to our world as when this play won the Pulitzer Prize,” says Dennis. The actors, designers and entire production team are pulling together to implement a vision that will help us lens this story for our 2018 audience. You may have more in common than you thought with these situations and characters, and enjoy some fine entertainment along the way.”
The quiet Kansas neighborhood is brought to life by Act 1’s creative technical team, including faculty scenic designer Will Neuert, costume designer Amy Best, lighting designer Eric T. Haugen, and sound designer William Neal.

PICNIC runs September 26 to October 7, 2017 on the Main Stage of the Labuda Center for the Performing Arts. Performances are Wednesdays through Saturdays at 8:00 PM and Sundays at 2:00 PM. A talk back with the director and cast is scheduled for Sunday, September 30, after the 2:00 PM performance. There is a morning matinee on Tuesday, October 2 at 9:45 AM, followed by a talk back.

Ticket prices are $21 for adults and $19 for students and seniors on Tuesdays through Thursdays, and $25 for adults and $23 for students and seniors on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays. Group discounts are available for all performances.

On Saturday, October 6, 6:00 PM in the DeSales University Center, join director Steven Dennis and Producing Artistic Director John Bell for a “Page to Stage” Dinner as they share insights about the process of directing and producing PICNIC. The cost for the theme dinner, including a full bar, is $32. Call the box office at 610.282.3192 for more information or to make a reservation.

In an effort to improve accessibility for all patrons, the Saturday, Oct. 6, 8:00 PM performance will feature Open Captioning for patrons who are deaf or hard of hearing and Audio Descriptions for patrons who are blind or visually impaired. During Open Captioned performances, all dialogue and sound effects are presented in real-time on an LED screen that is adjacent to the stage. During Audio Described performances, all action and physical appearances are described live through a headset. Tickets are half price for patrons using these special services on this date. Please call box office manager Nicole Moyer at 610-282-3654, ext. 1 for more information.
The Labuda Center is fully accessible and equipped with a listening enhancement system. Special seating is available for our patrons using wheelchairs or requiring other assistance. Please inform the box office of your needs when ordering tickets.

Theater/Organization Act 1 DeSales University Performing Arts
Theater/Organization Website:

Theater/Organization Address: DeSales University 2755 Station Ave Center Valley, Pennsylvania 18034 (Map It)
Theater/Organization Phone: (610) 282-1100

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