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Theater season tackles issues of diversity

The Palomar Theater department has recently announced the names and dates of performances that will appear during the 2016-2017 season. Four plays are on tap for this year, with two being scheduled for each semester. The theme this season is on race, privilege, and evolving American identity. Productions will focus on our identity as Americans and the changes going on around us in society today.

“We all should be focused on diversity… accept diversity… and here is a good example of a couple of theater productions that are meant to entertain but are also meant to highlight a couple of far different aspects of our culture,” said Randy Hoffman, publicity and program coordinator for the Performing Arts department.

Plays for the fall season will include “Our Town” and “Facing our Truth: Six Ten-Minute Plays on Trayvon, Race and Privilege”.

“The theater season is interesting… because we have a very classic play and then something that is very contemporary,” Hoffman said. “’Our town’ is a very classic play and it’s always nice to see those kinds of things.”

“Our Town”, running October 7th to the 16th, was written by Thornton Wilder and is going to be directed by Dane Case. Based on a 1938 Pulitzer Prize winning novel, “Our Town” explores the different stages of your life and how the same general desires bind us together as a human race.

Justin Smiley, Manager of Production for the Performing Arts Department, is excited for the theater department to help with the campus confronting issues of diversity head on.

“We are always looking at different ways to present diversity and different ways of thinking and engaging the audience,” Smiley said. “Whether it’s community members or students or faculty or staff …getting them involved… I think we have a history of doing that and this continues that.”

The second play of the fall, running December 2nd to the 11th, will be “Facing our Truth: Six Ten-Minute Plays on Trayvon, Race and Privilege”. Commissioned by The New Black Fest and directed by Michael Mufson and Ingrid Trová, this is a series of six ten-minute plays, each focusing on seeing events through differing point of views. Those who attend should leave with a better understanding of the reason for divisions between different groups in America.

“There’s no subject that is more relevant in our country right now than race relations,” said Mufson. “What’s happening with black lives and law enforcement is a symptom of a bigger problem.”

Mufson, a Professor of Theater Arts at Palomar, plans on including an interactive portion of the performance to be put on during its second half.

“Every night is going to be a little bit different,” Mufson says. “One night might be a conventional formal kind of panel discussion…one night might be a workshop that people participate in… for sure there is going to be one night of spoken word poetry put on by the Poetic Justice student club.”

Anyone interested in being part of a panel or who has an offering to bring is urged to contact Mufson, who can be reached through his Palomar email address or by contacting the Performing Arts department.

Spring semester will include the final two plays of the year, titled “Ten Acrobats In An Amazing Leap of Faith”, and “Clybourne Park”.

“Ten Acrobats In An Amazing Leap of Faith”, written by Yussef El Guindi, will run from March 17th to the 26th and be directed by Michael Mufson. A story of an Egyptian immigrant family that is attempting to find their place within America, the characters will attempt to navigate the conflict and struggles that arise from moving to a place with a culture that they are not used to.

Finishing up the year will be “Clybourne Park”, written by Bruce Norris and to be directed by Annie Hinton. Running from May 5th to the 14th, Clybourne Park is a Pulitzer prize award winning satire based loosely on historical events that took place in Chicago, Illinois after an African American family moves into a middle class white neighborhood. Racism, opposing views, and the idea of political correctness spearheading more prejudice will all be at the forefront of this award winning drama.

All theater productions will be shown at the Howard Brubeck Theatre located on Palomar campus. For more information including exact show times and ticket prices you can visit the Palomar Performing Arts website at, or contact the box office by phone at 760-744-1150 x2453



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