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What’s Going On? Theater and Dialogue

(Princeton, NJ) Political theater will be the topic for a panel discussion and theatrical performance scheduled for Saturday, December 8th at Princeton University. The event, which is co-sponsored by the University’s Lewis Center for the Arts Program in Theater and Dance, and McCarter Theatre Center, will begin at 3:30 p.m. with a reading of Joshua Casteel's Returns, based on his own experiences as an Abu Ghraib interrogator. A native of Cedar Rapids with a Christian background, Casteel had always dreamed of becoming a soldier. At the age of 17 he signed a contract to go into the Army Reserves and after 9/11 was called up to active duty. Within a few months after his training as an Arabic linguist and interrogator, he was deployed to Baghdad and the Abu Ghraib prison. This reading will be directed by David Gothard, associate director of the Abbey Theatre, Ireland's national theater.

A Panel Discussion will immediately follow the reading with panelists Nadine Strossen (President of the ACLU), Joshua Casteel (Returns Playwright), David Gothard (Returns Director), and Emily Mann (McCarter Theatre Artistic Director and Resident Playwright). Michael Cadden, Director, Program in Theater and Dance will moderate the discussion.

Those interested in seeing a full production of one of the sterling examples of political drama can attend an 8:00 p.m. performance of Death and the Maiden, directed by Alex Ripp ‘09 and featuring Dan Kublick ‘08, Glenn Brown ‘09 and Dominque Salerno ‘10. In an unnamed Latin American country transitioning from dictatorship to democracy, a woman tortured under the military regime unexpectedly encounters her alleged torturer in her own home. Much to the dismay of her husband, a newly appointed member of the country's truth commission, she resolves to put the man on trial, with only the sound of his voice as proof. Dorfman questions how a country is to move beyond a past of atrocity and trauma. Must victims truly forgive and forget for the greater good?

All events will be held at the Lewis Center for the Arts, 185 Nassau Street, Princeton. The Reading and Panel Discussion are free and open to the public with reserved seats. Tickets are required for the performance of Death and the Maiden. For all tickets and reservations call 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. For more information about the Lewis Center for the Arts visit

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Media Contact

Marguerite d’Aprile-Smith
Director of Communications, Lewis Center for the Arts

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