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'Other People's Houses' thesis production takes stage

Friday and Saturday, Feb. 5-6, and Thursday through Saturday, Feb. 11-13, 2010, 8 p.m. Matthews Acting Studio, 185 Nassau St.

"Other People's Houses (and the Stuff Inside)," a senior creative thesis production written and directed by Shawn Fennell, will be staged at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Feb. 5-6, and Thursday through Saturday, Feb. 11-13, at the Matthews Acting Studio, 185 Nassau St.

The production is sponsored by the Program in Theater in the Lewis Center for the Arts.

"Other People's Houses" examines a day in the life of retired widower Stuart Hobbes and his teenage son shortly after they have moved into a generic housing development just outside of Des Moines, Iowa. As they confront the challenges of their new life, the audience discovers that their ordinary neighborhood contains extraordinary surprises, as kitchen appliances turn musical and a swing set begins to sing.

Fennell, a comparative literature major pursuing a certificate in theater, said the play is an attempt to explore a modern landscape as one burgeoning with limitless possibilities for re-enchantment. "The world we're used to seeing as strange and bleak may just as well be strange and fantastic, if you look at it the right way," said Fennell.

According to Program in Theater director Michael Cadden, "Shawn seems to have taken his cue from the world of magical realism. He's interested in the way inanimate objects are as much our life partners as other human beings. Consequently, in his dramatic universe, objects don't remain inanimate."

During his time at Princeton, Fennell has written four 10-minute plays as well as a full-length musical, "Hey Boy Wonder! The Other Adventures of Ultraman!," which premiered at Theatre Intime in April 2009.

Tickets for "Other People's Houses" are $8 for students and $10 for others. For tickets, visit the University Ticketing website or call (609) 258-9220.

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