For thirty years Professor Laurie Jameson (Genise) has challenged patriarchal thinking, transforming humanities studies in her Ivy League college. But with the outbreak of the Iraq War, Laurie’s latest student, Woodson Bull III (called “Third”) pushes all the wrong buttons. She calls him “a walking red state,” and denounces his brilliant term paper as plagiarism. But is she right? Or have stereotypes and prejudice gotten the better of her intellectual honesty? The professor’s private struggles with her relationships, her age, and the nation’s adversarial politics inflate Third from jockish student to personal nemesis—with results that force Laurie to reconsider her perspective and integrity.
In our current climate of identity politics, alternative facts, and the normalization of ‘say anything’ distractions, Wasserstein’s “Third” reminds us that honesty is both a commitment and a process—and that without it, disputes devolve into sensationalism and stagnation. Fortunately, the playwright’s professor models the self-reflection we need to come together, now, as a country.
“Wasserstein’s new play—her best in years—is thematically richer and more emotionally satisfying than any mere political screed…[a] story of a woman’s self-reassessment as she heads into the third part of her life.” —Variety.
“Funny and occasionally biting, the playwright poignantly marks the passage of time, not only for her conflicted heroine but for several of the other lovingly drawn characters on stage…There are no outright villains in THIRD…But there certainly are shades of gray, some darker than others.” —Associated Press.
Adam Kilgore plays Third, Beth Boulay and Sig Dekany are Laurie’s daughter, Emily, and father, Jack, and Renee Hewitt is fellow professor Nancy Gordon.
Performances are at Carpenter Hall, 15 S. Pioneer Street, on the OSF campus. Tickets are $18, available at Paddington Station, Grocery Outlet, at the door, and online by clicking here. Show times are 8pm on Fridays and Saturdays and 2pm on Sundays. Nov. 1 – 24.