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University to host world premiere of “The Tall Boy”

Tandy Cronyn, actress

Actress Tandy Cronyn will perform at UNT in the solo role in the world premiere of British playwright Simon Bent’s The Tall Boy. The play is about European children and their relationship with American soldiers during and after World War II.

In conjunction with performances, Department of Dance and Theatre undergraduate students will have the opportunity to work with Cronyn, Bent and director David Hammond – all internationally renowned artists – during a two-week residency.

Cronyn’s career has included roles in film, television and theatre, ranging from Shakespeare to Moliere to  Law & Order. She has been developing the script for The Tall Boy with Bent and Hammond since 2010 and first presented the play in a fully staged reading at Guilford College in 2011.

The two-week experience at UNT will allow Cronyn to further polish the production in preparation for future performances, said Marjorie Hayes, below right, managing director of theatre production, who invited Cronyn to premiere the play at UNT.

“Most often, we see dynamic productions which are the final results of a research process,” Hayes said. “But for young artists, the question always is, how did they arrive at that brilliant decision? Our students will be able to see exactly how they build this production.”

Cronyn commissioned Bent to write The Tall Boy based on American writer Kay Boyle’s short story, The Lost. The play features Annie, the American matron of a Bavarian displaced persons camp for children after World War II. Annie relives the stories of three boys who had been taken in by American soldiers during the war. When the soldiers leave, the boys dream of joining them, but are sent to the camp.

“I am a character actress essentially – that’s what I enjoy most,” Cronyn said. “I love stepping into somebody else’s skin, and I did have a strong feeling from the beginning that I could play those three boys. The thing that attracted me most was the resilience of the children – what they can absorb and survive is a major theme in the story.” The two-week residency also allows her to perfect the challenging one-person role.

  • Interactive workshops with Cronyn and Hammond – which are free and open to the public - will be from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. July 27 and Aug. 3 in the Radio, TV, Film and Performing Arts Building, Room 126.
  • Public performances of The Tall Boy will be at 8 p.m. Aug. 2, 3 and 4; 5 p.m. Aug. 4 and 2 p.m. Aug. 5. Talkbacks with the audience will be held after each performance except 5 p.m. Aug. 4. Performances will be in the Studio Theatre in the Radio, Television, Film and Performing Arts Building.
  • Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for students.
  • Buy tickets beginning July 26: 940-565-2428 or Metro 817-267-3731, ext. 2428.
  • Enter to win a pair of tickets to the 8 p.m. Aug. 3 or the 8 p.m. Aug. 4 performance by sending an email to InHouse with “Tall Boy Aug. 3” or “Tall Boy Aug. 4” in the subject line by 5 p.m. July 27. Winners will be selected at random from all responses.

Marjorie Hayes, Dance and Theatre“The precision, rigor and creativity that these professionals bring to the script development, acting and staging is something that I think can really inspire young theatre artists,” Hayes, right, said. “This will make them more aware of the standards they need to meet if indeed they want to become professional actors, playwrights and directors.” 

Adam Chamberlin, assistant professor of lighting and sound, will be lighting and sound designer. Theatre undergraduate students working on the production include: Joe Truitt, technical director and props; Jamie Adling, stage manager; and Anthony Miles, David McKee, Maddie Haas and Candice Miears, student technicians.  

- Ellen Rossetti, News Promotions


Posted on: Fri 20 July 2012

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