OUE Stages ‘Prodigal Son’

Photo Provided Cast members of the Ohio University Eastern’s Theatre Department production of “Prodigal Son” include Derek DeMattio, seated, and standing, from left, Devin Blair, Howard Blecher, Audrey Dillon and Charles Smith.

ST. CLAIRSVILLE — “He was born with the gift of laughter and a sense that the world is mad.” That quote may sum up the essence of OUE Theatre’s upcoming production of John Patrick Shanley’s autobiographical play, “Prodigal Son.” The Theatre Department of Ohio University Eastern will present “Prodigal Son” this weekend and Nov. 15, 16, 17 in the Shannon Hall Theater. Thursday evening performances begin at 7 p.m. and Friday and Saturday performances begin at 8 p.m.

The plot of “Prodigal Son” is simple. “A 17-year old boy from the Bronx finds himself in a private school in New Hampshire. He’s violent, gifted, alienated and on fire with a ferocious loneliness. Two faculty members wrestle with the dilemma: Is the kid a star or a disaster?”

“Prodigal Son” was originally produced in 2016 by the Manhattan Theatre Club and starred Timothee Chalamet and Robert Sean Leonard. The Wall Street Journal called the play, “… a heart-sore portrait of adolescent turmoil that bears the stamp of hard-earned truth on every scene … [it’s] the best thing that Mr. Shanley has given us since “Doubt.” You can’t get much better than that.”

Ohio University Eastern Theatre Director Dennis Fox remarks, “It’s the most exciting play I’ve read in a long while. I knew immediately that I wanted to direct it, but I wasn’t sure that I could cast it. I am very fortunate to have OHIO Eastern alum Derek DeMattio in the lead role with an equally fine supporting cast of theatre veterans. They are a great ensemble. This is a really fine production-audiences are in for a treat.”

Derek DeMattio, an OUE Theatre veteran who plays Jim Quinn, is a resident of Richmond. He was last seen as Algernon in “The Importance of Being Earnest.” In the role of Headmaster Carl Schmitt is Eastern Campus faculty member Charles Smith. Smith teaches Medieval History and was last seen as the Ghost of Christmas Present in “A Christmas Carol.” Howard Blecher, of Flushing is playing Alan Hoffman. Blecher was last seen as Bob Cratchit in “A Christmas Carol.” Eastern Campus Freshman Devin Blair has the role of Austin. Blair lives in Beallsville and this is his first OUE Theatre appearance. Louise Schmitt is played by Audrey Dillon of Barnesville. Dillon’s last role was Miss Prism in “The Importance of Being Earnest.” Assistant Director is Megan Simcox of Martins Ferry.

The Theatre Department of Ohio University Eastern will present “Prodigal Son” today and Saturday and Nov. 15, 16, 17 in the Shannon Hall Theater. Thursday evening performances begin at 7 p.m., and Friday and Saturday evening performances begin at 8 p.m. “Prodigal Son” contains adult themes.

For more information or to make reservations contact ouetheater@ohio.edu or (740) 699-2340.

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