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Perseverance Theatre opens 'Animals Out of Paper'

Posted: January 26, 2012 - 12:02am
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James Sullivan and Elizabeth Pisel-Davis rehearse for "Animals Out Of Paper."  Flordelino Lagundino
Flordelino Lagundino
James Sullivan and Elizabeth Pisel-Davis rehearse for "Animals Out Of Paper."

Perseverance Theatre’s 33rd season continues with “Animals Out of Paper,” opening Friday.

Written by up-and-coming playwright Rajiv Joseph and directed by Flordelino Lagundino, this character-driven story centers on origami artist Ilana, who hits rock bottom after experiencing a series of losses — her marriage, her dog, her apartment. Then she meets Andy, a math teacher and a fan of her origami, who introduces her to Suresh, a teenager with his own troubles, and whose origami talent rivals her own.

New York Times’ reviewer Anita Gates called the play “alternately wrenching and funny.”

“Mr. Joseph’s observant, pitch-perfect script seems modest at first but is really quite ambitious, dealing ruthlessly (except in the semi-upbeat ending) with the fragility of happiness, the tragedy of impulsiveness and the tenuousness of hope,” Gates wrote in 2008, the year the play debuted.

When asked about the play at the beginning of the season, Perseverance Theatre’s Shona Strauser said she was really looking forward to the production.

“This play takes my breath away,” Strauser said. “It is one of the most beautiful plays I’ve read in a long time.”

Ohio-born Joseph is the winner of numerous awards, including the Vineyard Theatre’s Paula Vogel award for emerging playwrights in 2008, and a Whiting Writers’ Award in 2009. His play “Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo” was a finalist for the 2010 Pulitzer Prize for Drama.

This will be the first production in Alaska of his work.

This production features Juneau actors Elizabeth Pisel-Davis as Ilana, James Sullivan as Andy and Junior Davidson as Suresh.

KXLL program director Andy Kline designed the sound, and longtime Juneau theater artist Marta Lustufka designed the costumes. Guest artist Laura Eckelman designed the lights, and Perseverance Theatre Artistic Director Art Rotch designed the set.

“Animals Out of Paper” runs from Jan. 27 to Feb. 12 with performances Thursday through Sunday at 7:30 p.m., and a closing 2 p.m. matinee Sunday, Feb. 12. The show will have the second of two preview performances tonight, Jan. 26, at 7:30 p.m.

There will also be two pay-as-you-can performances Jan. 29 and Feb. 2.

For tickets, pricing or more information, call Perseverance Theatre at 463-TIXS or visit www.perseverancetheatre.org.

Tickets are also available at the Juneau Arts & Culture Center and Hearthside Books.

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