Theater at Bates stages six performances of "The Ugly Ducklings"

Theater at Bates will stage the world premiere of Carolyn Gage’s The Ugly Ducklings at 6 p.m. on September 26 in Gannett Theater. Lauren Todd, a Bates junior from Cherry Valley, Mass., is directing the drama about the destructive effects of homophobia on girls and young women. The play also will be performed at 6 p.m. on Sept. 27, 2 p.m. on Sept. 28, 8 p.m. on Oct. 3 and 4, and 2 p.m. on Oct. 5. Tickets are $2 for general admission and may be purchased at the box office. For reservations and additional ticket information, call the box office at 207-786-6161.

The play, which runs about two hours and features a cast of 13, takes place at a girls’ summer camp, where one of the counselors is “out” while the other is still “in the closet.” Against a background of intense homophobia, the young women struggle with their feelings for each other and the problems of defining themselves in a society that insists they be invisible. The camp legend about a monster in the lake parallels the adult phobias about lesbianism, and campers and counselors find themselves compelled to confront their worst fears in the microscopic world of the summer camp.

A longtime activist for women’s theater and lesbian theater, Gage was named National Winner of the Nancy Dean Distinguished Playwright Award, given annually at the Sisters on State Lesbian Theatre Conference in New York. Her collection of plays, The Second Coming of Joan of Arc and Other Plays, was named national finalist for the 1995 Lambda Literary Award in drama. Her one- act play, Harriet Tubman Visits a Therapist, was a national winner of the 1996 Perishable Theatre Women’s Playwright Festival in Providence, R.I. In 1988 she won the Oregon Playwrights Award from the Oregon Institute of Literary Arts, and she was named contributing editor to the national feminist quarterly, On the Issues, which featured her on a cover in 1995.

Upcoming in the Theater at Bates series is A.R. Gurney’s comic drama Later Life, which will be staged in the Black Box Theater on Oct. 3-5 and 10-11.

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