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UW-Eau Claire Theatre Department to Perform Martin Sherman's 'Bent'

Editors Note: This play is for mature audiences only and contains brief nudity, violence and adult situations.

RELEASED: Oct. 2, 2008

poster for "Bent"EAU CLAIRE — The University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire music and theatre arts department's production of "Bent" by Martin Sherman will open at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 9 in Kjer Theatre.

Additional evening performances will be presented Oct. 10-11 and Oct. 15-18, with a matinee performance at 1:30 p.m. Oct. 12.

Sherman's "Bent," directed by Richard Nimke, associate professor of theatre, is a gay love story set in Nazi Germany at a time when homosexuals could be arrested and sent to concentration camps. The play centers on Max, a gay man who lives a fast-paced life of drugs, alcohol and promiscuity in pre-war Berlin. One night he and his lover Rudy pick up the wrong man — someone who's on the Nazi's wanted list. Max and Rudy are forced to flee Berlin and live underground in hiding. Eventually, the two are detained and sent to Dachau. Max encounters great loss and hardship as he struggles with his will to survive, but he finds a secret love and companionship with a fellow prisoner, Horst.

The subject matter of the production is emotional and a challenge for his student actors, but it is a story that needs to be told, Nimke said.

"'Bent' is an important play in the history it tells," Nimke said. "When it was first performed in 1979, it was significant in opening up an area of gay studies that had not been examined up until then. Many people were and still are unaware of the homosexual victims of the Nazi concentration camps."

Nimke said he's impressed with his student actors' commitment to the play.

"I'm very gratified to see the commitment that the actors and the entire production team have made to this project," Nimke said. "Everyone is sensitive to the difficulty of the material and is committed to honoring the memory of the men who suffered these indignities."

People will gain much from the play, Nimke said.

"It is a play about the beauty of the human spirit and its capacity to love in the most inhumane environment," Nimke said.

The cast for "Bent" includes sophomore Shane Capaul, Mayer, Minn., as Rudy; junior Sean Christensen, Wisconsin Rapids, as Captain 1 and Prisoner 1; junior Danny Fallon, Sussex, as Officer; and senior Chris Goltz, Marinette, as Horst. Junior Dustin Haugle, Colfax, is Wolf and Guard; junior CJ Krueger, Rochester, Minn., is Uncle Freddie and Captain; senior Ryan McDaniel, Oregon, is Max; and junior Tyler Morris, Stillwater, Minn., is Greta, Kapo and Voice. Sophomore Matt Tatone, Golden Valley, Minn., is Guard 1 and Another Voice; freshman Corbin Vidaillet, Marshfield, is Prisoner 2; and freshman Daniel Zamarripa, Tomah, is Guard 2.

"Bent" is directed by Nimke, with seniors Sheena Thompson, River Falls, as stage manager and Brittany Gusho, Milwaukee, as assistant stage manager. Art Gulig is technical director. Kevin Gawley, assistant professor of theatre, is the set and lighting designer; junior Stephanie Doms, Chanhassen, Minn., is assistant lighting designer; Mallory Prucha Rishoi, an artist in music and theatre arts, is costume designer; senior Stephanie Unertl, Manitowoc, is assistant costume designer; and junior Charlene Lucht, Greenville, is props designer. Junior Jared Walther, Eau Claire, is sound designer; Emily Van Winkle is scene shop supervisor; and senior Peter Wojtowicz, Milwaukee, is master electrician.

Tickets, available at the University Service Center, 715-836-3727 or 800-949-8932, are $10 for the general public, $8 for those 62 and older and UW-Eau Claire faculty and staff, $6 for children 17 and younger, and $5 for students with a university ID. Tickets for all campus events are on sale at the Service Center's ticket office in the main lobby of Haas Fine Arts Center. The ticket outlet is open Monday through Friday from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., and is closed during holidays and academic breaks.

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KJ/NW

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