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November 2005

Release date: November 16, 2005

ASU Theater Presents Heavenly Holiday Fare

Angelo State University drama professor James Worley will give "My Three Angels" a third go-round when the holiday play hits the stage Thursday, Dec. 1, in the first of seven dinner theater performances.

Showings will be at 6:45 p.m. Dec. 1, 2, 3, 8, 9 and 10, and at 12:45 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 4 in the Modular Theater in the Carr Education-Fine Arts Building. Tickets for the dinner theater presentation will be $12.50 for ASU Students and Activity Card Holders, $15.00 for Arts at ASU Subscribers and Platinum/Silver Activity Card Holders, and $20.00 for the General Public.

The play takes place in a decidedly un-Christmaslike atmosphere in colonial-era French Guiana, a land where the jungle and penal colonies reign and where the temperature has mercifully dropped to 104 degrees.

The Ducotels, who left France after patriarch Felix's business failed, are struggling to eke by in the new land. On the way from France are Felix's evil-minded cousin, who plans to oust Felix from his business, and his nephew, who is jilting Felix's daughter Emilie for an heiress.

Fortunately, three convicts - two murderers and a swindler - whom Felix hired to work on his home's roof take the visitors on. Possessing every criminal art and penal grace, the trio sets matters straight and, in doing so, redeem themselves as real-life angels to the struggling family.

This is Worley's third time to be involved in the production of this play. The first time was 25 years ago, and the second time was about 17 years ago. Having acted in the play twice, Worley decided it was time to dust off the script and produce it again.

"It's an awfully fun show to do around Christmas time," Worley said. "It's a charming little piece of theater. The actors memorized their lines quickly. When they go that extra mile to those types of things before I asked them to, it shows they really like the show."

His familiarity with the play is a bonus for the actors with whom he works.

"I find myself, without looking at the script, being able to help actors out with the lines," Worley said.

The challenge in the play for actors and directors is to establish a comic rhythm. The script contains a barrage of punchlines that are woven into the dialogue, and timing and delivery are crucial for a successful performance.

"It has a unique rhythm," said McArthur Moore, a junior drama major who plays the lead convict Joseph. "You've got to have a feel for the timing."

The play is an homage to 18th- and 19th-century French farces and is based on Albert Husson's "La Cuisine des Anges." The rapid-fire pace and peculiar wording at times threw Moore for a loop.

"The vernacular is different, so I have to learn to play the word out," Moore said. "The cast members help out a lot, Mr. Worley helps out a lot, and I go to dictionary.com and listen to the pronunciation and just replay it until I can say it fluently. It feels awkward saying some of the words in the context of the play."

Outside of the humor, Worley said the most subtle aspect of the play is the audience's perception of the law-breaking trio - are they simply convicts, or are they angels in mortal form?

"There are hints throughout the play," Worley said. "But it's never completely clear that they may be angels from heaven."

The menu for the dinner theater production consists of roast beef or chicken picatta, twice-baked potatoes, green beans almondine, salad bar, iced tea, coffee and cheesecake for dessert.

For more information, call 942-2000. Arts at ASU Subscribers can call for reservations beginning Thursday, Nov. 17. Everyone else can reserve seats beginning Monday, November 21st. The box office is open 2-6 p.m. Monday-Friday.