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UMFK performing arts plans fall production


University of Maine at Fort Kent performing arts will present Jules Feiffer's Little Murders for its fall production set to open in early December. Specific production dates and times will be announced in the coming weeks.

Feiffer, a Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist, has written several plays that satirize American society. Little Murders, set in the late 1960's, is the story of a dysfunctional family living in an urban atmosphere rife with random violence.

One critic noted Little Murders is not so much black comedy as black satire. "It is about the madness of modern living and the attempts of individuals to adapt to the madness."

The UMFK production will be directed by Joe Zubrick, associate professor of theatre and oral communications.

"The choice, Little Murders isn't a common selection for university or regional theater. Its message can be too depressing, but the content strikes close to home."

To describe the play Zubrick cites a quote from Carol Newquist, the patriarch of the family that captures the essence of the world populated by Feiffer's characters. "I get up in the morning and I think, okay, a sniper didn't get me for breakfast, let's see if I can go for my morning walk without being mugged. Okay, I finished my walk; let's see if I can make it home without having a brick dropped on my head from the top of a building. Okay, I'm safe in the lobby; let's see if I can go up the elevator without getting a knife in my ribs. Okay, I made it to the front door; let's see if I can open it without finding burglars in the hall. Okay, I made it to the hall, let's see if I can walk into the living room and not find the rest of my family dead."

According to Zubrick, "Our modern world is steeped in violence, and in our casual acceptance of that violence as the norm. We have embraced violence as a solution to dispute and ignored its corrosive effect. In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, opposing politicians said that they would 'smack', 'punch' or 'strangle' other politicians that disagreed with them. Pundits talk about 'the nuclear option' to solve debate. A Christian minister advocates state sponsored murder of a foreign official. And no one complains about it."

"Feiffer was quick to realize this phenomenon and capture it in his play. We hope that our production can raise the often ignored questions violence and its self-perpetuating cycle."