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God’s Country opens at Princeton University; Q&A with playwright  Steven Dietz on opening night

(Princeton, NJ) The Program in Theater of the Lewis Center for the Arts presents a senior thesis production of Steven Dietz’s God’s Country, based on the true story of the white supremacist group known as The Order, whose members were held responsible for the 1984 murder of Denver-based Jewish radio talk show host Alan Berg.  Performances will be held on December 11 – 13 and December 15 – 17 at the Marie and Edward Matthews ’53 Acting Studio at the Lewis Center for the Arts at 185 Nassau Street.

Steven Dietz, one of America’s most widely produced playwrights whose 30-plus plays have been regularly produced regionally, off-Broadway and internationally, will participate in a Q&A session immediately following the opening performance on Friday, December 11th.  For a complete bio and a head shot of Steven Dietz click here.

Directed by Dominique Salerno and featuring Paul Miller ‘10, God’s Country is a harrowing look at the religious, political and cultural convictions that fueled The Order’s violent crimes. Salerno, a religion major pursuing a certificate in theater and one of this year’s winners of the Lewis Center’s prestigious Alex Adam Award, first saw the play in high school. Ever since then, she has been haunted by both its theatricality and its intense subject matter. The production inspired her to concentrate in religion and to do her junior independent work on the belief structures that inform the radical racist right. Although Dietz’s documentary drama is rooted in Order ceremonies and trial transcripts, Salerno suggest that its emotional impact emerges from his depiction of ordinary lives and relationships lived out in the context of extremist ideologies. As she explains, “Dietz forces his audience to participate in the moral tension he creates, leaving to them the question of whether these people are monsters or men.”

Performances of God’s Country will be held on December 11 – 13 and December 15 – 17 at the Marie and Edward Matthews ’53 Acting Studio at the Lewis Center for the Arts at 185 Nassau Street. All performances are at 8:00 p.m. Tickets are $8 for students and seniors and $10 for general admission. For advance tickets please call University Ticketing at 609.258.9220.

The Lewis Center for the Arts is part of a major initiative announced by President Shirley M. Tilghman in 2006 to fully embrace the arts as an essential part of the educational experience for all who study and teach at Princeton University. The Lewis Center for the Arts will have a significant impact on the University and the larger community it serves. The public is welcomed to a full range of lectures, exhibitions, concerts and performances at the Center. Many of the Center’s events are free or charge a nominal admission fee.

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