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Through Feb. 5: 'The Bells'

Photo by N. Howatt

Resident Ensemble Players presents Theresa Rebeck’s ‘The Bells’

Playwright Theresa Rebeck returns to the University of Delaware Resident Ensemble Players in a double capacity as both writer and director of The Bells, a compelling tale of past deeds and present demons during the great Alaskan Gold Rush.

The Bells will run through Feb. 5 in the Roselle Center for the Arts on the UD campus in Newark.

In a busted boomtown in the frozen Yukon wilderness, a group of misfits still attempt to eke out of living. When a stranger rides into town searching for clues about the disappearance of a Chinese prospector, a decades-old mystery begins to thaw, and one man finds himself unnerved and haunted in more ways than one.

“The story is loosely based on a play from the 1800s,” says Rebeck. “I took the basic premise of the plot — a good man that commits a horrible crime — and moved it to the chaos and savagery of the waning days of the Yukon Gold Rush. This allowed me to create a world that is epic, mysterious and unpredictable.”

Fresh off the film set of Trouble starring Anjelica Huston and Bill Pullman, which Rebeck both wrote and directed, she’s thrilled to be directing one of her own plays. “I’m grateful to Sandy Robbins and the REP for giving me the opportunity to be able to look at The Bells again in a completely different way,” she said.

“This gave me the opportunity to work on the story and clear out some of the things that didn’t fully materialize in the earlier draft,” Rebeck added. “You can get pretty lonely as a playwright, but as a director, you are part of a creative community of artists that allows you to see the words on the page from a totally new perspective.”

The Bells is the third Rebeck play that the REP has produced, having commissioned and presented the world premieres of her plays O Beautiful and Fever (later The Nest) in 2011 and 2013, respectively.

Schedule and tickets

The Bells opens on Saturday, Jan. 21, and runs through Sunday, Feb. 5.

Single tickets are $24-$30, with discounts available for senior adults, full-time students, military, and groups of 15 or more. For tickets, call the REP box office at 302-831-2204, go online or visit the box office in the Roselle Center for the Arts, 110 Orchard Rd, Newark.

A convenient parking garage is adjacent to the Roselle Center.

A complete schedule, directions and information on purchasing tickets can be found at the REP website or by calling the REP box office at 302-831-2204.

The REP’s performances are sponsored in part by the Delaware Division of the Arts.

Special events

Question and answer sessions with the cast of The Bells take place following the performances on Thursday, Jan. 26, and Friday, Feb. 3.

Free pre-performance “Prologues” will take place beginning at 1:15 p.m. on Jan. 28 and Feb. 5. Playwright Chisa Hutchinson, UD’s 2016-17 creative writer in residence, will speak about the process of creating a play on Jan. 28. Rebeck is scheduled to speak about The Bells on Feb. 5.

About Theresa Rebeck

Theresa Rebeck is a widely produced playwright throughout the United States and abroad. Broadway productions of her work include Dead AccountsSeminar, and Mauritius.  Other New York productions include Spike Heels, Loose Knit, The Family of Mann, The Water's Edge, The Scene, The Butterfly Collection, The Bells, Bad Dates, The Nest, Omnium Gatherum, View of the Dome, Poor Behavior and The Understudy.  Novels include Three Girls and Their Brother (Crown) and I'm Glad About You(Putnam), which will come out in paperback this spring.

Upcoming projects include the West End premiere of Zealot, starring Alfre Woodard, and the world premiere of The Basement, starring Tyne and Tim Daly. With composer Josh Schmidt, Theresa is adapting the RKO film Dance, Girl, Dance as a stage musical and she has created a stage adaptation of the fable Stone Soup with John Weidman. She is currently writing commissions for La Jolla Playhouse, The Roundabout and South Coast Rep.

She recently finished writing and directing the independent feature Trouble, starring Anjelica Huston, Bill Pullman and David Morse.  In television, she is known for her work on NYPD Blue (Writer’s Guild, Peabody and Edgar awards) and for creating the NBC series Smash

Rebeck is originally from Cincinnati, Ohio.  She has a doctorate and master of fines arts degree from Brandeis University.  She serves on the board of PEN America, and is a member of the Dramatists Guild.  She teaches at the University of Houston as the Distinguished Visiting Theater Artist.  She lives in Brooklyn with her husband and two children.

About the REP

The Resident Ensemble Players (REP) is a professional theatre company located at the University of Delaware.  The REP’s mission is to engage audiences throughout the tri-state region with frequent productions of outstanding classic, modern, and contemporary plays performed in a wide variety of styles that celebrate and demonstrate the range and breadth of each resident actor in this ensemble of nationally respected stage actors who have been trained in the same way.

The REP is committed to create future audiences for live theatre by offering its productions at low prices that enable and encourage the attendance of everyone in the region, regardless of income.

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