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Production centers on encounter between Hughes and Lorca

Friday through Sunday, Jan. 9-11, 2009, 7 p.m. and 10 p.m. (3 p.m. Sunday) Matthews Acting Studio, 185 Nassau St.

An imagined encounter between famed Harlem Renaissance poet Langston Hughes and Spanish poet and playwright Federico Garcia Lorca is the basis for "The Beat Is Sweet: Memory of a Broken Dream," a senior thesis production by Princeton's Lauren Whitehead being performed Friday through Sunday, Jan. 9-11, in the Matthews Acting Studio at 185 Nassau St.

The performances, which feature theater, music and dance, are at 7 p.m. and 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday and at 3 p.m. Sunday.

Although it is not known if Hughes and Lorca ever met, the fact that Hughes translated Lorca's "Blood Wedding" inspired Whitehead to create a theatrical fantasia made up of a series of dreams and nightmares, contrasted with flashes of reality based on the known events of their lives.

"I want the audience to leave with a deeper understanding of the inner mind of the writer's eye, mysterious and chaotic, and a greater appreciation of the personal story that is the work they leave behind," Whitehead said. "I want people to listen to the message behind the music, not just the beautiful melody of the poetry, essays and plays that enchant us. The beat is sweet, but the story is timeless."

Whitehead is presenting her creative thesis for a certificate in the Lewis Center for the Arts' Program in Theater and Dance. A Spanish and Portuguese major, she also is pursuing certificates in Near Eastern studies and Latin American studies. She has been a central figure in Princeton's arts scene over the last few years, working as an actor, director, dancer, stage manager and more for shows with the Lewis Center, the Princeton Shakespeare Company, Naacho and the Black Arts Company: Drama. She has written and is directing "The Beat Is Sweet: Memory of a Broken Dream."

Tickets are $10 for the general public and $8 for students. They are available online through University Ticketing or by calling (609) 258-9220.

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