Summer Theatre Festival’s “Forgiving John Lennon” Opens Tuesday
The Snowy Range Summer Theatre and Dance Festival presents “Forgiving John Lennon,” written and directed by UW professor and playwright William Missouri Downs from June 28-July 2. Tickets are $10, $8 for seniors, $5 for students and all showings start at 7:30pm. The play features a small cast, but promises to elicit a big response.
Perhaps best classified as a dark comedy, the play relies on the conflict between an Islamic poet from Somalia and the two professors (husband and wife) who invited her to speak on campus to highlight the humor and horror that underpin progressive ideals, political correctness and the process of gaining tenure.
To anyone associated with academia, to those who have jumped through hoops for their tenure and to every person who would like to experience entertainment that is truly unpredictable, get a ticket and prepare for an evening of theatre that will be on your mind for days to come.
The title alone begs curiosity and has an interesting story of its own. “Forgiving John Lennon” was initially inspired by two specific events in the playwright’s life. During an apprenticeship at the Circle Rep Theatre in New York, Downs was on his way home, but took the wrong subway by mistake and then decided to walk back.
“When I reached 72nd street, where the famous Dakota apartment building stands, I found a crowd of police, people crying, and an ambulance pulling away,” Downs said.
It was December 1980 and he had walked into aftermath of the murder of John Lennon.
The other moment came twenty-five years later, when he wandered into a non-tourist area in Cairo.
“I sat for a while and watched the throngs of women passing dressed in baggy, indistinguishable hijabs. At that moment my brain triggered that bitter night at the Dakota and I began to imagine,” said Downs.
When asked about the general response this play has had in the past, Downs emphasized that the conclusion is not at all what people might expect. He hopes the end is shocking enough to shatter the iron defense most of us maintain against honest examination of our dearest held beliefs and ideals.
Wyoming artists will get a chance to share their talent and hard work outside the state when “Forgiving John Lennon” is featured at the Telluride Playwright's Festival in Colorado mid July.