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Northwest Missouri State University

News Release

Feb. 17, 2014

Family ties explored in production of ‘Independence’

There have been countless definitions and interpretations of “family,” but perhaps none quite as disparaging as the one uttered by Lee Blessing’s character Evelyn Briggs – “each generation destroying itself willingly, for what comes after” – in his 1985 play “Independence.” The play comes to a Northwest Missouri State University stage this week.

“'Independence' paints broad strokes on so many issues — responsibility and freedom, manipulation and guilt, gender and sexual orientation just to name a few,” said Dr. Joe Kreizinger, the show’s director and associate professor of theatre. “Yet it is not a play solely about any of those. At its base, it is a play about family.”

The setting is the small town of Independence, Iowa, the lifelong home of Evelyn Briggs (Helen Strotman). Her oldest daughter, Kess (Megan Oliver), is a university professor in Minneapolis, but she has come home at the request of her sister, Jo (Dana Masters), who is concerned for Evelyn's mental health.

Kess, a professed lesbian, wants to cut her family ties once and for all. Jo, an incurable romantic and longtime virgin, has now become pregnant. And Sherry (Nataleigh Brull), salty-tongued and amoral, wants only to finish high school so she can leave home for good. In the end, there is no accommodation possible but, instead, only a kind of arbitrary independence for each of the protagonists, as they come to realize that each must find her own heaven — or hell — in her own way.

The curtain rises on “Independence” at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 20, through Saturday, Feb. 22 in the Studio Theater located in the Ron Houston Center for the Performing Arts. The production also includes an afternoon performance at 2 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 23.

Tickets are $8 per person and may be purchased between 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, at the Student Services Center located on the first floor of the Administration Building; by phone at 660.562.1212; or at the door beginning one hour before the show. Patrons wishing to order tickets over the phone may call 660.562.1212 and must have a valid credit card. Tickets purchased at the Student Services Center can be purchased via cash or check.

For more information, please contact:

Mark Hornickel, Communication Manager | 660.562.1704 | Fax: 660.562.1900

Northwest Missouri State University
215 Administration Building | 800 University Drive | Maryville, MO 64468