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UMFK Theatre to present Simon Gray's comedy Butley

November 19, 2004


On December 2, 3 and 4, the University of Maine at Fort Kent Theater will present the production of Simon Gray's comedy, Butley, at 7:00 p.m. in the Fox Auditorium on the UMFK campus.

Butley is a dark comedy about a brilliant, self-destructive literary professor whose wife and lover both desert him, all in the same day.

Butley, a self-made train wreck of an English literature professor at a London university, can usually shrug off everyone and everything with equal ease, but today is different.

When Ben Butley's estranged wife Ann announces her intention to marry a mutual friend, who is a particularly boorish man, and his live-in lover and office mate Joey moves out to join another man, and a colleague has been published ahead of him, Butley is even more out of sorts than usual.

Gray's play is tightly written with brilliant language and fast paced action.

Joe Zubrick, professor of theater and communication plays Butley with Kip Plaisted as Joey, Chad Marquis as Reg, Rozanna Gahagan as Miss Heasman, Wendy Sirois as Edna, James Barrett as Gardner and Jessica Arsenault as a student.

The play will also introduce Erin Benson as Ann, Butley's wife. Benson, director of university relations at the University of Maine at Presque Isle, is an accomplished performer.

Butley is directed by Zubrick, who had the opportunity to play the title character in a production in 1995.

"The play has always intrigued me, ever since I saw it as part of the American Film Festival in the 1970's," said Zubrick. "The role is a plum for any actor. Alan Bates played the original and has definitely left his stamp on it."

Since the re-issue of the AFT plays in DVD format, a number of theater companies have produced the play.

"It has a real appeal." Zubrick said. "The characters are complex and witty, the situations familiar to anyone on a college campus and Butley's dilemma, a day's worth of shattering revelations, rivets your attention."

Irascible, manic, infuriating, and above all witty, Butley is one of contemporary theatre's greatest tragicomic roles.

Zubrick cautions that this is not a play for younger audiences. The language and situations are inappropriate for children.

The theater is planning a family musical for the spring when it will present You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown.

Admission to Butley is $5.00 per person and tickets will be available at the door.

For more information, contact Joe Zubrick at 834-7591.